Letter from Elmer Luke
‘Big Picture’ Questioned
Dr. Ibrahim’s essay of March 16, 2023 demonstrates well its headline, “No Easy Answers for Complex Challenges.”
He offers none.
He refers to inefficiencies and redundancies he has sought to eliminate. But as his actions have hollowed out medical care and services, what are Bassett patients left with? It has become increasingly difficult to get medical attention. Schedulers are like guards at the door, telling us to go elsewhere or to see an array of assistants (whose fee is no different from that of actual MDs). Simple phone calls require long waits and rerouting. And overworked, demoralized physicians are resigning and going elsewhere.
Keeping in mind the “bigger picture” is fine management talk by Dr. Ibrahim, but if the details of the smaller, everyday picture of Bassett are deteriorating, then any bigger picture is hot air. Because of the departure of several PCPs, many patients are now scrambling. But the list of resident physicians “currently welcoming new patients” consists entirely of resident physicians who themselves have been supervised by the attending physicians leaving Bassett. And—the cynicism is not lost on us—every one of these resident physicians will themselves be leaving Bassett in two or three years.
So, are patients, like physicians, dispensable in Dr. Ibrahim’s bigger picture?