Comment: Problems with Student Health Services

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2020/07/13/college-health-centers-problems/?arc404=true

I have practiced medicine – in the OR & ICU for almost 40 years. Any of us – including me – can misdiagnose a problem with which one of our fellow humans presents. Yet, the article’s clarity as to the the root of the issue is precise: It is a financial problem.

If sacrificing our future – our youth – on the altar of a health system that is profoundly dysfunctional does not open the eyes of our political leaders, we are lost.

Once again, any of us can make a diagnostic mistake, but the profoundly dysfunctionality of the US Health System means that we pay Primary Care Physicians poorly; we seek the lowest price “provider” we can get away with. I work with very gifted Advanced Practitioners and Nurses, but health care is a team sport and there MUST be serious physician supervision when caring for our people.

The Duke University Spokesperson asserts: “Duke Student Health and Wellness will provide the highest level of care and is connected to one of the most advanced health-care systems in the world…” This is a well-intentioned, but meaningless, statement, as are many responses from the Universities/Colleges the reporters queried. Duke, IU, UF, all of the institutions would be well-served to admit the difficulty we are in and openly support the obvious – after over 100 years of dilly-dallying – solution.

I have been, since a young man, arguing for a national health system for our people, for our country. We have made essentially no progress during my lifetime; the Affordable Care Act – as much as I respect former President Obama – protects the profits of insurance companies, costs too much, and is a bureaucratic nightmare. This article should make all of us recognize that while ANY health system will have problems with which we will need to struggle, a rational, national health system Is. The. Answer.

This is why – as a senior physician, teacher and researcher – I support, have supported, and will continue to support some version of Medicare for All.

About AJ Layon

AJ Layon was, for 28 years, at the University of Florida College of Medicine, in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, in Gainesville, FL. For the approximately 10 years until September 2011, he was Professor and Chief of Critical Care Medicine at UF; In September of 2011 he became System Director and Co-Chairman of Critical Care Medicine in PA; this ended in 2017. He serves as a Physician in the Surgical Group with Médecins sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders). While his interests are primarily related to health care, health care reform, and ethical issues, as a citizen of our United States and our world, he will occasionally opine on issues of our "time and destiny". Follow on Twitter @ajlayon
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