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    Physicians must advocate for themselves, individually and collectively

     

    We, physicians, must advocate for ourselves as both individuals and groups with common interests. The conundrum is that we must be separate and yet together. Pericles said, “You don’t have to be interested in politics but politics will be interested in you.” There are many organizations, both emerging and established, to work with. There are unified philosophy groups, free market groups, single-payer groups, socialized medicine groups, grassroots groups, political groups, religious groups, and hundreds of groups of every imaginable type and sort, or start your own for similar minded physicians.

    These include:

    Practicing Physicians of America
    Physicians Working Together
    Physicians for Informed Consent
    Independent Physicians for Patient Independence
    Association of Independent Doctors
    Doctors for Patient Care Foundation
    The Physicians Foundation 
    Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
    Physicians Against Drug Shortages

     This is in addition to specialty organizations, state medical organizations and national medical organizations. Washington, D.C., has its share of groups including the National Physicians Council for Healthcare Policy.

    When all else fails, legal action may be required. Individual physicians and groups have sued insurance companies (Aetna, UHC/Ingenix, BCBS among them). Physicians have even sued their own organized medicine “governing” organizations (AAPS vs ABMS for restriction of trade, Talone, et al vs AOA for restriction of trade, etc.).

    Fight for issues that are important to you as a physician, family member, and taxpayer in your town, state, and country. Become a participant. Join a grassroots group. Make a small donation. Reach out with your ideas about how you can help. Help to strengthen the voice of practicing physicians by helping to create “strength in numbers.”

    Use your voice and your feet to “vote” for what you think prudent.

    Write articles, give interviews, go on social media, and organize patients and community meetings.

    Communicate. No one knows your particular situation, career, job and life like you do.

    Physician, advocate for yourself.

    Craig M. Wax, DO
    The author is a family physician in Mullica Hill, NJ.

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