Yeah, dumb pun: the article was sent to me by a dentist…
It’s a short post, so I grabbed it all (go read his, though, for the links to the source material, and to read a good blog by a Navy Dentist).
New Jersey Assembly Bill , A.B. 4175, introduced on 23 November 2009 will require physicians, dentists, and nurses to complete 30 hours of volunteer service in their respective fields as a condition for biennial registration.
Well…..Guess what New Jersey? This is the final straw. You just lost another provider. Happy? Whose going to treat all those folks with insurance now?
So, this is one of those weird times where those potentially affected say ?wha? Is there some pressing reason to command volunteerism in order to be licensed?
I’d be willing to bet you could find a few people in every medical profession who think they must never treat anyone for free, and barring some scheme like that proposed in NJ, they’d be legally right. Morally, I don’t know.
This is one of the reasons EMTALA is widely derided in the emergency department world: the difference between generosity, giving your time and talent without expectation of reimbursement when it’s needed and you’re able , and State coercion, the taking of your time and talents whether you consent or not.
(“You can stop taking Medicare or quit your job” you say, and while the second is correct the first is not, as I’m hospital based and required to accept Medicare, and the strings attached). Also, it’s quite a thing to be expected to quit ones’ job to avoid having my work literally taken from me by governmental fiat (thanks, Pete Stark).
I wonder what the NJ medical, nursing and dental societies thought of this? I’d bet if they made a public statement it was at least mildly supportive (imagine saying “no”, and being pursued by some idiot with a camera and a mic yelling “don’t you care about the children?”).
For some reason if your job is thought of as one of compassion many people, governments included, expect you to be willing to do it for free. I don’t get that.
(An aside for those of you with business outside medicine: you can write off bad / uncollectable debt; we can’t). (No, I don’t know why, either).
Someday medicine is going to figure out how to explain that it’s not the bad guy, that we’re giving way more than we take. And make it understandable to everyone.