Quotas and Time Limits

By Rick Redalen, M.D.

I started practice as a young family practitioner in Princeton, Minnesota in 1969. At this time there were no residencies in Family Practice or Emergency Medicine. It was prior to the days of HMOs and practice management companies. The practice management companies probably started out with the altruistic belief they could help physicians by freeing up time to the physician in order to have more time available for seeing patients. A noble thought to be sure.

Let us move back in time a couple of years. In 1972 my partner, Norm Metcalf and I stewed for at least one or two weeks trying to decide if it would be OK for us to increase our office call charges from $5 to $6. We eventually did this.

This was definitely a different time in medicine. When patients did not have money to pay for medical care, we often cared for them for nothing. It was more of a time when physicians could actually meet their patients in public and know their names and what was going on with their families. It was a wonderful time to be a physician. We didn’t have quotas and time limits. We could spend the time needed with our patients. The new way of making physicians see patients within certain time limits or meeting a quota just does not work or provide for good patient care.

It is no wonder. It takes much longer if you are dealing with a family who has just lost a child than the five minutes to diagnose and treat a case of poison ivy.

Please send these blogs onto your friends. It will take a ground swell from our youth to change our American compass heading.

The Evolution of Healthcare

By Rick Redalen, M.D.

I am a physician who after graduating from Medical School in 1968 has watched the evolution of health care over the past four decades. I am going to try to educate you, the public, on how medicine got into the dire straits it is in. It requires an effort by all of us to address this problem with a ground swell of all people if we are going to get this straightened out and right.

Upon graduating from medical school at the University of Nebraska in 1968 the United States ranked number one in medical care. Currently we rank 38th.

How did the United States get into our current position in medical care behind the rest of the industrialized world?

In my next communications I will try to help you understand how we got here and what we need to do to address these problems. This may not have a huge impact on us the elderly, but if the generations behind us do not change how things are done, the United States is heading into third world country status for medical care. Please send these blogs onto your friends. It will take a ground swell from our youth to change our compass heading.