Physician Reimbursement System Questioned

Wilson Center Board Member Robin Cook Publishes Op-Ed in New York Times

Aug 30, 2006

An op-ed by Robin Cook, physician, best-selling author, and Wilson Center Board Member, was published by the New York Times on August 30, 2006. In the piece, Cook addresses the current primary physician reimbursement system that pays physicians based on the number of patients they see. He argues that this system fails to take into account that some patients require more time and consideration than others. The quantity-over-quality system, instead, encourages rushed patient visits and essentially leaves physicians working pro-bono while doing patient paperwork and conferring with other health professionals and laboratories.

Cook's solution? Pay physicians by the hour according to education and expertise.

Cook is best known as an author of medical fiction. His most recent book, Crisis was released on August 8, 2006. He moderated a Global Health Initiative (GHI) event on stem cells in January 2006 and is advising GHI on future events.

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  • Roger-Mark De Souza // Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience, Wilson Center
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  • Schuyler Null // Web Editor and Writer/Editor, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative