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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Crisis du jour

I received an urgent fax from the local medical society: "Attention all doctors! You are doomed!" It seems that the local medicare administrator either ran out of money or had a computer malfunction or was just flat-out in a bad mood. No one is getting any payments from medicare these days. I really hadn't noticed because I hadn't been getting payments from anyone lately and was attributing it all to the sluggish Holiday season. The third-party payors need time off, too, I suppose.

So there is an emergency meeting at the Medical Society later this week. I'll probably go to it. They are mighty entertaining. The older doctors are trained so that if they demand something with fire in their eyes, they will get it. The beancounters just sit there and listen and totally ignore the old docs, much to their frustration.

And it's sad. The oldest negotiation strategy in the book is for one side to make totally outlandish demands, all the while being prepared to concede them if they get what they're really after. The docs, on the other hand, go postal over the outrageous demands and struggle to get them changed, not realizing that in the end we make massive concessions concerning power and reimbursements.

I'll go to the meeting but I don't expect anything to be accomplished other than getting my blood pressure and pulse up a bit. Armed with the knowledge acquired in the meeting, I'll feel very comfortable confronting an organization with several billion dollars of assets with my demands for a 2% increase in my reimbursements. And as a solo doc, I'm confident of the results.


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