I’m Mad as Hell…..

This morning I walked into the doctors’ mail room, and there, parked in front of my “cubby” was a large envelope. A large, HEAVY envelope. Similar things were parked along the ledge in front of the other’s cubbys. It weighed three pounds. It was sent by FedX ground.

In it was an advertising packet exclaiming how excited my female patients were going to be to hear about the new “Genius 3D Mammography” imaging procedure.

I am a hospitalist. I manage HOSPITALIZED patients. I no longer do primary/office based care. I have not for eight years. My colleagues, too, are hospitalists. One of them is an intensivist/pulmonologist. The likelihood that ANY of us would order an out-patient screening test is minimal-to-zero. In the course of my day today, I have spoken to hospitalists at two other facilities who also received the 3lb packet. If I extrapolate that, I presume that EVERY physician in the country received a similar packet. In 2009, there were 970,000 doctors in the US. Published FedX long haul (long distance–this package was shipped to Hawaii from New Jersey) is ~$83.00 per envelope. Granted, there is likely a huge corporate discount, but when you include the production costs of this slick package with posters, multicolor tear-off information sheets and the cover letter, the costs of this debacle are nearing (or over) a billion dollars.

Multiply this ONE INSTANCE of medical advertising by the dozens of tv/radio/billboard ads you see daily, and know that glossy multicolor pamphlets are ALSO being sent to nearly every physician.

Now, many of you know that my son has recently been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. He has GREAT insurance. Despite that, he has spent the better part of a month getting pre-approval for the only medicines that can possibly save his life. During that delay, the systemic cancer is going UNTREATED. At times he was told that his copay would be in the thousands of dollars per month range.

I’d say I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore. But, it has been made abundantly clear to me by many on many occasions that what I think is of little interest to anyone but me.

However, please feel free to share this post (and my frustration…..)