The Feb 15,2009 American Family Physician noted the following:
"a growing numberof physicians cannot afford to offer recommended childhood vaccines, according to a study in the December 2008 issue of Pediatrics. 5% of pediatricians and 21% of family physicians surveyed reported that they had considered not offering vaccines to privately insured patients because of rising costs and declining reimbursement rates." The AFP then noted "65% would not give a vaccine if the reimbursement amount was less than the purchase price"
So let's consider the implications:
1 . Is anyone noticing that the burden of immunizing children has become a personal finance issue for physicans instead of their parents or society?
2 .What does it mean for the future if 45% -almost half- of physicans are actually willing to give a vaccine for free or when it costs them money?
Can this healthcare system -can this MADNESS possibly be sustainable?
In Maine the State began a new policy in Jan 2009. Formerly the state purchased vaccines in bulk and in return for paper work, supplied them to doctors for free. We were allowed to charge oh $10.00 or so for giving the vaccine to cover our paper work, time, the syringes, needles etc. Maine has no more money, though. As of Jan 1 the state supply is small and may only be given to kids who have medicaid or no insurance.
That's right-if you have insurance - and isn't heath insurance supposed to be the good thing that everyone is after?- if you have insurance your doctor has to buy the vaccine out of their own pocket and weeks or months later, after filing complicated paperwork, accept reimbursement at a lesser amount than it costs so that their patients can be protected. The doctor pays for health care. What a concept!
Oh but it is worse than that. Few manufacturers of vaccines will sell a doc a dose or two as we needed them. We are only allowed to spend hundreds of dollars purchasing 10 doses at a time. Ten doses which may not be needed before they expire, and the hundreds of dollars are completely wasted. The public is angry at docs and sure we are rich. Primary care docs are angry and worn to the bone at a non-system that hurts patients and is killing us.
Is anyone listenng??