Attended the SMA convention on MHC yesterday.
Take home message: MHCs are here to stay. And GPs will need to put their brains together & come up with a way of managing their practices in order to manage the managed care companies in a way that won't compromise on quality of care or cause them to lose their livelihood.
How did the local situation in the private GP sector arrive at this stage? $5 consults? Losing money because reimbursement for medicine is less than cost?
I have never set up my own clinic. Never wanted to because I knew the sacrifices it would entail as far as my personal life & quality time with family is concerned. But I never foresaw that competition would heat up to the point where docs would be willing to sign up with money-losing MHC contracts just so that they would gain (or hope to gain) market share.
One of the speakers mentioned that we need to include an accounting module in the GDFM course. I wholeheartedy agree. Perhaps it's even time to include a Business module in NUS's Medicine curriculum called "The Business of Medicine". Let's face facts. Medicine is not all about altruism; in order to survive in this dog-eat-dog world, we need to be wise to the ways of the world.
After all, doctors set up clinics to treat patients, and yes, there will be patients who may not be able afford to pay for medications, and I know that doctors DO give allowance for this; but they also need to earn enough to pay their rent, their staff, feed their family, pay their monthly mortgage installments etc.