Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Medical Personnel Leaving the U S


The first wave of emigration has started. Those medical professionals who are spooked by Obama's Healthcare proposals have just received their passports in the mail. And they are leaving. I can't name names. But they are going somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere and they don't plan to come back.
But this is so premature, you say. Are they nuts? Perhaps. But I can tell you that there is chaos and fear rampant in American hospitals today. Everybody is angry and scared. Many doctors are at their wits end. They have seen their reimbursements drop 40% in the past decade, with no let-up in astronomical malpractice insurance premiums. Some can take the uncertainty and persevere, hoping for the best. Some people just can't take it. And medical personnel are not generally the "stand and fight" kind of people. They don't even blog.
The official term for this is brain drain. According to Wikipedia, "Brain drain or human capital flight is a large emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge, normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks....Brain drains are common amongst developing nations, such as the former colonies of Africa, the island nations of the Caribbean, and particularly in centralized economies such as former East Germany and the Soviet Union, where marketable skills were not financially rewarded."
A British legislator referred to this recently on a television interview. He noted that the U.K. health system was suffering from a lack of doctors. Now they can throw all the money they want into health care, and they do, but it is not much help in improving the system. The doctors are gone.

8 comments:

Bungalow Bill said...

Trust me, I don't think it's premature at all. I think they better get ahead of the game before our borders are reversely closed. Remember how hard it was to leave Warsaw Pact countries?

LL said...

As I commented before, I've got a plan to relocate. I don't intend to execute the plan unless it's necessary, but better to have and not need than need and not have. I recently purchased a significant interest in a factory doing good business in another country - enough of an interest to provide me with an income and a living.

Doctors might be the canary in the mine, but with the present mood of the present administration, many of us with the means to make other plans are reviewing our options. Almost all of my clients are outside of the US so it would be a small thing for me to relocate.

Purple Crayon said...

You make an excellent point here, and I have read confirming information about the situation in Britain. I like to dip into a certain British blog now and then to learn more about where we could be headed. It is good to read some thoughts from someone who is already working in a socialized system of rationed care. I would like to find a Canadian blog which is written from a similar perspective, but for now, I content myself with Dr. Crippen's Diary over at http://nhsblogdoc.blogspot.com/

By the way, I love your tsunami analogy, and it gives me hope, because I think you are right. There will indeed be a rising tide of people waking up and speaking out.

Opus #6 said...

Bill and LL, you guys and I are on the same wavelength.

Purple Crayon, I checked out that blog and I am now following it. Very educational and shocking.

Wendie said...

I've been afraid to say this out loud since I think it makes me sound like a total kook, which I'm not, but my husband and I recently renewed our passports "just in case." We've been discussing heading south of the border should it become necessary, although in my heart I don't believe it will ever come to that.

LBPruitt said...

Oh my, I actually haven't thought about the medical profession's reaction. I knew that they would be impacted greatly, but I didn't consider their leaving the country. Very interesting. And great post on the British Blog, Purple Crayon! My husband has been begging me to renew my passport but I have resisted. I think I will do it now... you never know what is going to happen. I have never seen anything in all my life like what is going on right now in this country. And people are just sitting around saying, "don't worry, it's gonna get better" (including my family). It's the frog in the boiling water scenario being played out all over the USA!

AudreyO said...

Most of my doctor's don't do insurance anymore. They just can't practice medicine with someone else treating me. I've chosen to stay with them. My insurance pays a small token of the total amount. I just can't find a doctor in the system that I like.

Shanksow said...

I wonder where they are heading off too now? But, Its really not that surprising is it?