“Are you also hit by the financial crisis doc?” One patient asked me. I jokingly answered “Yes, I will be, unless you pay my professional fees” The patient answered “my HMO will pay you doc”. Darn, I will be in crisis indeed.
I stumbled upon an article that predicted some potential negative impact of the financial crisis to health care in the US. But that’s in the US where the financial crisis is largely felt. What about the Philippines’ health care system?Are we going to feel the crunch also?
Looking at our present health indicators, the government has been brandishing the term “better health”. Dig further and you will know better. If we use the “unholy trinity”- 1) the quality of health care provided, 2) access to the health care system, and 3) the cost of health care, as indicators for the status of health care system, our scorecard will be shameful. We’ve improved from our past health care system but we’re 10-20 years behind our former contemporaries in Asia.
Many MDs believe (including me) that since our patients are so poor to begin with (and therefore doesn’t have the ability to pay ANY form of service) the global financial crisis will not affect the grassroots doctor patient interactions. Most patients couldn’t even buy medicines much less pay their doctors for services rendered. “Our health care system is in deep shit already, it couldn’t go any deeper anyway”. Most felt this is a hopeless case anyway, so why bother? Who cares about the financial crunch anyway?
Its not a question of whether the financial crisis will (or will not) affect our health care system. The question will be “when”? When will the financial crisis trickle in and affect our health care system?”
The one thing that will be affected of course, is the sustainability of giving charitable services by physicians themselves. Yes, we do perform charity services most of our practice a. But can we sustain it for long with the financial crunch? Depleted medical supplies gets even more scare. Essential instruments getting more difficult to acquire. More physicians going abroad or shifting to more financially viable job. Just some of the bleak scenarios.
While we are at the helm of pushing for a preventive rather type of medicine vis a vis an overhaul of our medical education and health care programs, the economy to fuel such move is contracting. The vicious cycle goes on and on.
Frankly, I dont have an iota where a “stimulus” package could break this cycle. I’ve seen glorious programs flunk in the past where we still enjoy better financial security. I have no better outlook now, but hope that it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought it would be.
Maybe you who is reading this post may have better ideas.