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Tags: Health | care | Trend | Obamacare

New Health-care Trend: Passing the Hat

By    |   Tuesday, 21 January 2014 08:11 PM EST

Medical professionals are finding “nauseating” ways to plug the financial holes they blame on Obamacare, The Los Angeles Times reports.

UCLA Medical Center's Division of Geriatrics has turned to a brother-can-you-spare-a-dime strategy, sending out donation forms with check boxes up to $10,000, says the Times.

Patients who give at least $1,000 get to be “Friends of Geriatrics” and they get invited to a special donor “recognition event hosted by doctors and key faculty members.”

Editor’s Note: These 38 Dates Are Key to Bagging $313,038

The Division of Geriatrics is launching a new online service “and an endowment will enable us to name it after you or any person you choose,” UCLA's donation letter also says.

“I get it if the L.A. Philharmonic sends you a letter to support the orchestra,” one UCLA patient told the Times. But “it's a little peculiar when you get such a letter from someone you rely on for your well-being.”

“With federal research dollars and state funding more and more scarce and an aging population, philanthropic support is crucial to fulfilling our mission,” Dr. David Reuben, head of UCLA's Geriatric Division explained to the Times.

And the donation letter is written in a way to “ensure there can be no perception that donors are given any different level of care or treatment than non-donors,” Roxanne Moster, spokesperson for UCLA Health Science added.

The Times say it didn't see any explicit reference to such a sentiment. But it notes that UCLA's charity drives comes amid an increasing number of doctors blatantly abandoning the conventional insurance system.

Some are switching to concierge practices. This system allows doctors to see fewer patients but avoid financial pressures since the patients pay hefty annual fees in addition to their medical costs, explained Dr. Dike Drummond, whose runs TheHappyMD.com, a website focused on reducing physician burnout.

One cardiologist who settled on a “small office fee” of $350 a year, informed clients the money would pay for things insurance doesn't cover, such as paperwork and talking to patients on the phone.

These tactics create a hierarchy where quality healthcare is reserved for those who can afford it. And it drains more money from Americans who already pay higher healthcare costs than anyone else in the world, the Times notes.

Doctors in states across the nation forewarned as much. They told medical associations that the discounted rates they will receive due to Obamacare could lead to a two-tiered system. They said fewer doctors are likely to participate in the lower-paying plans and patients could face difficulty getting the care they need, reported Kaiser Health News.

Sara Rosenbaum, professor of health law and policy at George Washington University, believes lower rates will have little impact on consumers and she dismisses doctors' concerns about their compensation.

“I don’t mean to suggest that physicians don’t deserve to do well,” she told Kaiser Health News. “But physicians are very well-compensated people, no matter what."

Editor’s Note: These 38 Dates Are Key to Bagging $313,038

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Medical professionals are finding "nauseating" ways to plug the financial holes they blame on Obamacare, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 08:11 PM
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