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Obamacare: Govt agents will pose as patients to monitor doctors

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    More and more Americans are finding out - sometimes the hard way - that every time you try to get government "help", you are also setting them up to monitor and regulate you. And, as we have seen in Obamacare, force you to do things you never wanted.

    EVERY time.

    And if you think that, once started, they will ever stop, then you are even more naive than normal. See the last paragraph.

    Orwell wasn't wrong. Just 27 years early.

    -----------------------------------------

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/health/policy/27docs.html?pagewanted=1&hpw

    U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors

    by ROBERT PEAR
    Published: June 26, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

    “This is not a way to build trust in government,” says Dr. George J. Petruncio of Turnersville, N.J. Dr. Raymond Scalettar of Washington is dismayed at the idea of “snooping.”

    The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

    Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House.

    Plans for the survey have riled many doctors because the secret shoppers will not identify themselves as working for the government.

    “I don’t like the idea of the government snooping,” said Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington. “It’s a pernicious practice — Big Brother tactics, which should be opposed.”

    According to government documents obtained from Obama administration officials, the mystery shoppers will call medical practices and ask if doctors are accepting new patients and, if so, how long the wait would be. The government is eager to know whether doctors give different answers to callers depending on whether they have public insurance, like Medicaid, or private insurance, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

    Dr. George J. Petruncio, a family doctor in Turnersville, N.J., said: “This is not a way to build trust in government. Why should I trust someone who does not correctly identify himself?”

    Dr. Stephen C. Albrecht, a family doctor in Olympia, Wash., said: “If federal officials are worried about access to care, they could help us. They don’t have to spy on us.”

    In response to the drumbeat of criticism, a federal health official said doctors need not worry because the data would be kept confidential.

    Christian J. Stenrud, a Health and Human Services spokesman, said: “Access to primary care is a priority for the administration.”



    Most doctors accept Medicare patients, who are 65 and older or disabled. But many say they do not regard the government as a reliable business partner because it has repeatedly threatened to cut their Medicare fees. In many states, Medicaid, the program for low-income people, pays so little that many doctors refuse to accept Medicaid patients. This could become a more serious problem in 2014, when the new health law will greatly expand eligibility for Medicaid.

    Access to care has been a concern in Massachusetts, which provides coverage under a state program cited by many in Congress as a model for President Obama’s health care overhaul. In a recent study, the Massachusetts Medical Society found that 53 percent of family physicians and 51 percent of internal medicine physicians were not accepting new patients. When new patients could get appointments, they faced long waits, averaging 36 days to see family doctors and 48 days for internists.

    Federal officials provided this example of a script for a caller in a managed care plan known as a preferred provider organization, or P.P.O.:

    Mystery shopper: “Hi, my name is Alexis Jackson, and I’m calling to schedule the next available appointment with Dr. Michael Krane. I am a new patient with a P.P.O. from Aetna. I just moved to the area and don’t yet have a primary doctor, but I need to be seen as soon as possible.”

    Doctor’s office: “What type of problem are you experiencing?”

    Mystery shopper: “I’ve had a cough for the last two weeks, and now I’m running a fever. I’ve been coughing up thick greenish mucus that has some blood in it, and I’m a little short of breath.”

    Other mystery shoppers will try to schedule appointments for routine care, like an annual checkup for an adult or a sports physical for a high school athlete. To make sure they are not detected, secret shoppers will hide their telephone numbers by blocking caller ID information.

    The administration has signed a contract with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago to help conduct the survey.

    Jennifer Benz, a research scientist at the center, said one purpose of the study was to determine whether the use of mystery shoppers would be a feasible way to track access to primary care in the future.


    (Full text of the article can be read at the above URL)
     
  2. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker Well-Known Member

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    I really don't have a problem with this. "Quality control" and identifying physicians who "cherry pick" their patient portfolio is an excellent idea.

    Of course, tort reform and a complete overhaul of the healthcare "system" in this country, both private and government-subsidized, is what the "big picture" looks like.
     
  3. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    And you are to be commended for doing so much to help government take over that formerly-private responsibility. After all, they are from the government... they're here to help us!

    Next time you go to a doctor, and notice him looking at you with an air of suspicion, wondering if you are a government agent instead of concentrating on your medical condition, I hope you remember what you said here.

    Remember back when the Obamanaites assured us they would never do anything to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship?

    Sucker.
     
  4. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member

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    People just don't grasp what will happen if obozocare stands. EVERYTHING about health care will be brought under government control. Everything will be politicized, from what meds are available, to who does or doesn't get treatment, to where hospitals are located, to who gets into med school, to pulling the plug on a comotose patient becoming the decision of a bureaucrat whose main focus is rationing care - everything.
     
  5. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker Well-Known Member

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    Acorn, you obviously didn't read my second sentence. You read my first sentence, went off like a bottle rocket, and responded like a brain-damaged leftist (sorry for the redundancy).

    To recap, here was my second sentence: "Of course, tort reform and a complete overhaul of the healthcare "system" in this country, both private and government-subsidized, is what the "big picture" looks like."

    I am truly disappointed, Acorn. Up until now, I thought you were level-headed, well-read, and thorough, and I had the utmost respect for your opinions.

    I guess there are "nuts" on the left AND the right (pun intended).
     
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