Greed in healthcare

Dear Editor: In regards to Greg Lopez’s recent encounter with a physician for severe stomach cramps, I found the response from Drew Kelley to be misplaced. To suggest that Greg brought the problem on himself is entirely missing the point.

Regardless of what Greg should have done, the doctor has a responsibility which would typically include a physical examination, perhaps a blood check, a standard follow-up. I can certainly understand why anyone would hesitate to go the emergency room, considering the typical long waits. (That is an entire mess of its own).

Suggesting the HMO would be in their right to refuse to pay because Greg wasted the doctor’s time is beyond me. The HMO is not giving anything for free; Greg, like many I assume, has paid for or earned, one way or another, his coverage. Perhaps if Greg had been delayed for only  just two weeks the HMO would have the right to make him pay at least half the cost?

On a personal note, perhaps Greg should have been more proactive when he called for an appointment, or if the gatekeeper at the front desk blew him off. In my opinion Greg should complain to his HMO and write a review of this doctor. Let’s face it, you are going to find some great physicians and some others simply mediocre at best. If one is not satisfied with a doctor, one can speak up or fire the doctor as Greg suggests. I have great doctors, but have experienced a few turkeys, who forgot they are working for patient health, not the health of the HMOs.

Margaret Hittinger’s response to Greg’s plight goes to the heart of the issues as she points out the problems are based more on  the monstrous greed of the HMOs and medical management companies. In fairness to the medical community and doctors, I think they are pressured to increase throughput in order to satisfy the insurance companies, and to maintain an income and practice. In the process, unfortunately, quality can suffer.

Corporate greed and political compliance (collusion?) is so embedded in the medical and healthcare system, I can’t see how we can break free of it. Can we?

David Coppell




Published: July 10, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 13