By Dr. Dustin L. Arnold
In response to Mr. Craig Campbell’s Sept. 14 guest column (“Improve our access to asset of health care”), he appears uninformed and misdirected in his observations of the health care system.
Physicians understand where our system fails our patients. Physicians have little control over the fees and access concerns that he outlined in his guest column. Insurance companies and regulatory agencies set the rates of reimbursement and control access to health care.
Through the Linn County Medical Society, we meet with legislators regularly to optimize and improve the health care system. For him to suggest that physicians neglect to acknowledge their debt to community upon entry into private practice is simply not true.
Mr. Campbell describes himself as an “art type,” and then he should note that many of the donor rosters for community arts and education contain the names of physicians and their supporting spouses. Physicians also donate their spirit and skill to free medical clinics.
An example is Dr. Carla Schulz, who recently was named recipient of the Iowa Hospital Hero Award. This is an award that recognized her contribution to founding the Community Health Free Clinic and a variety of other community volunteer organizations where she donates her time and skill. I invite Mr. Campbell and other members of the community to attend a legislative forum or volunteer at one of the community free clinics. Not only is it inspiring to observe the dedication of these physicians but it also will yield a better understanding of a system in need of repair.
Of recent, I requested the assistance of a Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa surgical specialist to help me care for a patient in the middle of the night. That surgeon arrived without trepidation or concern of that patient’s ability to pay for his services. I wonder if Mr. Campbell would awaken from a deep slumber to open his gallery in the middle of the night without trepidation or concern of that customers’ ability to pay for his labor.
Dr. Dustin L. Arnold is president of the Linn County Medical Society. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org