It’s made up of two basic words, health and care. The word is a prescription in itself for its function in the care of health. Yet, when sitting in on a healthcare meeting today, the only theme that I could draw was the pursuit of money. They discussed reimbursement, incentives, and the bonus structure and barely touched on patient care. By the way, this was a monthly staff meeting, not a finance review.

What happened to doing the right thing for the right reason? Naysayers might respond with something like, the insane cost of med school and malpractice insurance happened, along with the need to live in a house nice enough to keep the wife/husband/life partner and kids/cats/dogs/exotic pets happy, along with the desire to drive a reliable luxury car to keep up the image of being a doc.

Healthcare workers (I’m referring to the specific workers who have an M.D.) are placed in a position of power over the sick and injured, as is any healthy person over the unhealthy. There should be a certain social responsibility to provide the care and treatment needed to restore balance to the patient, regardless of insurance carrier or plan. At what price to the country, community, and to the physician would this cost?

Stratification, statistics, disease, demographics, containment, outcomes and cost are all variables in the healthcare mess with only one element that really matters. If you guessed anything that doesn’t rhyme with honey, than you are likely not reading this post very closely.

In truth, it all comes down to money. Can you pay or can’t you, and yes, there will be a different result based on your answer. Perhaps a return to the barter system could be part of the solution, service for goods, like farm fresh eggs or an old cell phone for an exam. Surgery would cost a bit more, like an agreement to mow the surgeon’s lawn for a year or the gift of the patient’s first born son.

It certainly would be easier if we still needed each other to live instead of just for the accumulation of dollars and cents.

Often, I find myself wondering about the true cost of this value proposition on our souls and on the future.

And all for what?

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