Friday, April 04, 2014
While at the hospital the other day, I was asked once again to sign some paperwork for the hospital before being able to see one of our patients in the OR. Each time there seems to be a new form.
For physicians, dentists, and about everyone else, it appears there is more and more paperwork to be filled out, signed and filed away every day. Regulations and documentation requirements are taking more and more of a doctor's time. In fact, in one recent study, physicians cited electronic medical records (EMRs) as their greatest source of frustration.
Insurance coverage is changing continually as people loose their coverage and obtain new policies. A good deal of documentation does tend to address patients needs, but seldom generates revenue. It takes time, and time is money. Thus, paperwork and the time it takes to properly complete, is one of the many causes of the rising cost of medical and dental care.
1. JACO -Hospital regulations. Every now and then I see the hospital staff with a worried, frenzied look on their faces. Is it a patient issue? No, it's an upcoming JACO review. Everything has to be in order; signed, filed out, ordered in the approved way.
2. Obamacare. Massive increase in disclosure, paperwork, and especially insurance changes, causing many people to loose their coverage, then get new, often confusing coverage. These changes are nightmares for the front office staff of medical and yes, many dental offices. Some people have pediatric dental coverage rolled into their new health plan. Some often get family dental plans to supplement the adults in the family, causing a double-coverage situation for the kids. There are very large deductibles. Many doctors are not signed up as "providers" for these new plans. Confusion is common. By the way, I dislike the term "providers". Insurance companies and government bureaucrats created the term for their own purposes.
3. Liability. There is always the need to document everything to limit liability. Some documentation is good for patient safety, but some is unrelated to actual care.
4. Recent requirements for electronic medical records create a situation where your doctor may be looking at a computer screen writing down your symptoms rather than actually looking at you during your conversation. Some doctors have to hire additional staff to handle the additional dictations, recordings, filings, and well, paperwork.
I have to go now, they want me to sign another form......