I wonder on neighborhood medicine. I wonder if this is the way to go, if we are really to improve our health system.
If you want, call it co-op medicine, or communal medicine, or community medicine. What I speak of is a doctor who does all the doctoring to be done without charging the customers a dime at the time of service.
You remember Doc Adams on Gunsmoke? That's in part what I'm talking about. You have a doctor, and he cares for the people in the community in a way you don't get when you have 50 doctors scattered all across a city. He's the only doctor, because one is all you need. The advantages are that he bonds with the community, feels a commitment to it, and derives his joy and fulfillment from helping the community, by being the one his neighbors turn to in their hour of need.
There's a pride and an honor there that is lost when you go to a doctor who isn't your neighbor, who you don't run into in your daily life. In today's society, with the work place often being our place of community, maybe these co-op doctors should be at the places of employment, instead of in the actual neighborhoods. The point is, these doctors should be people you run into daily, or weekly, or relatively often.
With the way we have it now, the doctor's job is but a job. He sees his customers as customers. He puts in his time each day and goes home to a different world, one that they are not a part of. I have often thought where you put your carrots, your incentives, determines much. With this system, the doctor has more incentive to really serve the patient. His driving force is more likely to be love.
Another benefit of this system, is that it might reduce lawsuits. You are less inclined to sue if the person is your neighbor and friend.
We need to put care back in health care, and having community doctors like what Doc Adams was for Dodge City might just be the answer.