01/16/2013 10:33 am ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Doctors or Dinosaurs?

In light of health care reform, have general practitioners gone the way of the dinosaurs? When you visit your physician -- or general practitioner -- what usually happens? They usually give you a referral. Even if you don't have the type of insurance that requires referrals, if you have anything that requires a skill set beyond giving a flu shot, you will be referred elsewhere.

It seems long overdue that we cut out this extra step and "trim the fat," so to speak, on this already drawn-out process. It is so frustrating when you are sick to have to go to a doctor just to go to the doctor. I find, lately, that my physician makes me come in for every little thing. Perhaps they know they are a dying breed and are trying to pad their wallets while they still can -- much like a squirrel hoards nuts before the winter. Isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place? This type of greed and exploitation of patients by doctors and insurance companies alike are the reason health care is in this state.

If you can get a flu shot at your local pharmacy or health drive and specialists begin assessing for the common cold and/or need for antibiotics (if the patient is there for other reasons anyway), you have just cut out the need for entire specialty in medicine and thus saved patients, Medicare and the insurance companies money.

Pharmacists are required to have a Pharm.D. I think that qualifies them to swab a patient's throat for a throat culture. If every pharmacy hired even one nurse practitioner to be on call or on staff to review results of cultures and prescribe antibiotics as needed, this would be a far more efficient and less expensive system. I also think it would be one-stop shopping and would make it much less frustrating for the patients. Of course it is more involved than just this short article but this is a brief overview and a good place to start the conversation.

I recognize that this is a lot of change. We are, however, in the midst of health care reform. Egos will be bruised. People will be nervous. That is the nature of change. I am just a regular patient frustrated by a system that no longer works. I am tired of fat cats abusing their power and trying to get fatter at my expense. At the end of the day, it should be about what is best for the patients.

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