Is the One Stop Healthcare Shop OK In The Time of Covid?
For the last few decades the healthcare industry has been consolidating into large corporations. The landscape, once filled with: solo practitioners; primary practice partnerships; small groups of specialized physicians banning together out of friendship or a common goal; physical therapy practices where everybody really did know your name, has now been replaced by Health Care’s version of Exxon Mobile or Google.
Where once you could call your primary physician or physical therapist with a problem and talk directly to your care taker, you now must sit through a phone menu as long as the Harry Potter book series. From pleasant little homes turned into office spaces or first floor access into your practitioner’s waiting room, you now walk into an airport waiting room, with at least three very well meaning volunteers getting their 10,000 steps per day escorting you to the correct “Pod”. There you are greeted by a revolving door of customer representatives who are much more familiar with exactly how many minutes your insurance will allow you to speak to the doctor then the name of your children or the ability to express their good wishes for your wonderful dog “murphy” who underwent ACL reconstruction last month.
The reasons for the beginnings of these “mega-plexes” of healthcare were legitimate in the beginning. A way to fight back against overbearing insurance companies who had continued to decrease reimbursement against a group of care takers that independently had no leverage to fight them. You won’t have to travel downtown, to the hospital to see the doctor, they told you, or have to drive to multiple places because all the specialists are in the same building.
Sky rocketing malpractice insurance also played a part of the exodus of solo practitioners into the cover of these large corporations. The physicians and caretakers close to retirement couldn’t pass up the safety of being an employee to round out a great career. No more Human Resource headaches, no more worrying about who called out sick and no more worry about paying rent and utilities.
Healthcare in a world of fewer options
Now we find ourselves where the hospital systems no longer worry about the convenience of your care. It’s all about market share. For the solo practitioners remaining, it’s join or be trampled. It’s been getting more and more difficult to survive for the small groups or solo physicians, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors to survive in this environment.
However, has COVID-19’s awful emergence leveled the playing field?
- Do you as the patient want to go to a big hospital or huge healthcare setting where many patients are present? Many sick patients? Possibly ones with Covid 19?
- Do you as the patient want to go to a huge group or conglomerate practice that knows nothing about you? Knows nothing about your particular needs? Your possible co-morbidities?
- Do you as the patient want to have to walk through many halls, surrounded by many other patients, staff, and family members?
- Do you want to take only what the crowded office can give you for an appointment?
It seems to me the small/family friendly health care practices might be a much more comfortable and safer way to go? Where the front desk coordinator who knows you very well is aware that you don’t like traffic and would like to come in mid-day and accommodates you. Where you can walk right in to the office from the parking lot into a caring place where all staff is doing their best to keep you safe? And make you better!
The Virus makes us better?
Maybe it’s time to go back a bit to the way things were? Maybe this virus was a wakeup call? To slow down and spread things out a little? Maybe this virus can in the end put you into a better health care environment?
This awful pandemic will end and we all will go back to some sort of “normalcy” eventually. Maybe then you will want to make an investment in your health. Go somewhere where “everybody does know your name”.
Chesapeake Bay Aquatic & Physical Therapy has 5 clinics throughout Maryland where we focus on one on one care. We are following all Covid-19 guidelines at all times to make sure our patients are in the safest environment possible. We as a family strive to take care of each and every patient as “one of our family” which is what our patients are. Please visit our Web-site at www.cbayaquapt.com to find out more about us.
About the Author:
Ron Herbst, MPT, MTC has been a practicing physical therapist for almost 25 years. As the former head of John Hopkins outpatient department he was intimately involved with public care policy on many issues in the city and community of Baltimore, Md. Ron has been the owner and manager of many practices throughout his career.