A recent article in the Dallas Morning News said that a survey of doctors found that health insurers and government bureaucracy are hurting their ability to care for patients. Here are excerpts:
The survey of 850 Texas doctors underscores core problems with the health care system: Doctors are struggling to get paid and insurers are wrestling to keep costs under control.
The area’s largest insurers responded that while they’ve been working to reduce the clerical burden, some of the doctors’ administrative responsibilities cannot be avoided.
Declining payments, claim denials, incorrect or late payments and the high cost associated with the extra administrative burden from health insurers are forcing many doctors to scale back their practices, the medical association says.
Two-thirds of surveyed doctors said they tried to negotiate for better health plan contracts over the past two years, but more than half said they were either never or rarely successful in getting improved payment terms.
More than 95 percent said payment problems have increased the cost of running their practice. Physicians said the higher cost of staff needed to manage administrative hassles is getting harder to absorb.
“Doctors today are sick about the choices they are forced to make,” said Dr. Josie Williams, Texas Medical Association president. “They don’t want to turn away a frail, elderly patient or an uninsured mother with a sick child.”