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Healthcare Reform Pace is Dizzying, but Unavoidable

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 1, 2012

I watched a feel-good piece on television a few weeks back about an 87-year-old family doctor from Rushville, IL (pop. 4,300) who knows his patients by their first names because he was the attending physician when most of them were born.

He charges $5 for office visits and works seven days a week.

Inside the storefront office where Russell R. Dohner, MD, has practiced family medicine since 1955, a television journalist assures us that the good doctor "still does things the old fashioned way." No appointments are necessary. After-hours emergency patients use the back door. Medical records are kept on paper and stuffed in filing cabinets. Calls are taken on a rotary telephone.  And prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy down the street.

As for a computer, Dohner says, "I never had one."   

Dr. Dohner comes across as a remarkably selfless and saintly man who has dedicated his life to the health and well being of his community. He is a Norman Rockwell painting incarnate. But the story also makes clear that Dr. Dohner is a noble anachronism. There are thousands of older country docs across the nation like Dr. Dohner, but we all know that they don't make them like that anymore.

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1 comments on "Healthcare Reform Pace is Dizzying, but Unavoidable"


Satish Nayak (8/6/2012 at 10:05 AM)
Doctors are not leaving their professions due to reimbursement problems only . It is also did to frustration caused by healthcare administrators who in their eagerness to save dollars so they can get huge bonuses,interfering in their management of patients . These people look at numbers only sitting in their palaces without getting real input from the doctors who are at the patients bedside. It will be a great day when doctors take charge of managing their professions and get rid of these parasites who are doing so now !