Straight from the Source

Quotes from the doctors we surveyed.

For our Top Doctors list, we mailed a survey to more than 3,000 area physicians. In addition to recommendations in various specialties, we asked physicians to list the two most significant challenges to practicing medicine in the Charlotte area. A few common themes emerged, some predictable (insurance companies, anyone?), some surprising (traffic came up, as did our inability to take care of ourselves). What follows is a representative sample of the answers, edited for clarity. We promised to keep physicians’ names confidential, so the quotes are anonymous.

“It is frustrating to have to get authorization from insurance companies before ordering certain tests/studies. I try to practice cost-conscious medicine and don’t like being dictated to by insurance companies.”

“Caring for the indigent population and the working poor. The Charlotte area is growing, thus increasing this population of patients, but there is not enough primary-care access and definitely limited access
to specialists in the area.”

“Keeping up with the increasingly complex and changing abnormalities of the increasing overweight and sedentary adult population with lowering thresholds to treat blood pressure, lipids, pre-diabetes, vitamin D deficiency, etc., etc.”

“The fact that so many patients still face significant financial barriers to receiving care. A minority of docs are willing to provide care for those who can’t pay—it should be everyone’s responsibility to share this burden.”

“Giving the right medical care in an environment where patients are bombarded by media and pharmaceutical commercials; juggling family and work schedule, especially as a female MD with a husband who is also a physician.”

“Continuing to offer intimate, old-fashioned care in the fast-paced medical community. Encouraging and enabling patients to improve lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and stress in our current culture.”

“Bottom line—we do this job because we love people and want to hear, and care, and be there for you. We just
can’t be there all the time for everyone. We try.”

“The drive to get into uptown to work at the hospital.”

“Not enough internists to refer to for primary care (the good practices are all full/busy).”

“Patients who don’t show up for their appointments. We have to double-book our schedule to assure we see enough patients to stay in business, but then you feel bad about patient wait times—it’s a vicious cycle.”

“Staying independent and autonomous in midst of two large healthcare systems.”

“Patients who smoke.”

“The demands of the business of medicine are forcing great doctors to leave practice or reduce their services (semiretire, work less, quit).”

“1. Insurance companies. 2. Insurance companies.”

“The lack of independent practices. The two hospital systems in Charlotte dominate the practices. In turn, practices are stagnant and slow to be innovative.”

“Keeping up with the constantly changing world of medical coding and schemes plus getting weighed down by the growing mountain of paperwork required by insurance companies. Arguing with insurance company personnel over what is best for my patient.”

“Polarization of the large hospital networks is difficult when as physicians we are colleagues and friends. We should strive for unity rather than divisiveness.”

“Working with duel hospital systems: competition is good, but continuity of care is difficult when patients go to both systems.”

“Getting timely appointments for my patients suffering mental illness with psychiatrists, without having to resort to Billingsley ER.”

“Rising costs of practicing in the Charlotte area with greatly decreased reimbursement.”

“Threat of litigation and rising malpractice premiums. Decreasing reimbursement [from government and insurance companies] with increasing overhead.”

“Rapidly growing uninsured population. Increasing number of non-English-speaking patients with few Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals.”

“As a specialist, keeping in contact with primary-care MDs as they no longer round in hospitals. Increasing number of uninsured (illegal aliens and residents) requiring care through emergency services.”

“The medical community is in danger of becoming polarized as the two major healthcare systems in the area battle for market share and become more exclusive in their health-insurance contracts.”

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