United We Stand – Divided We Fall?
By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA
And, some colleagues are shocked when an authority like Uwe Reinhardt PhD, of Princeton University, points out that collectively many MDs act just like any other worker in the domestic economy.
In fact, the classic 1986 letters between the Princeton professor, and former New England Journal of Medicine editor Arnold Relman MD, highlight the tension between how we think of ourselves and how we act.
Medical Labor Unions
Now, also recall that healthcare journalist William F. Shea, opined more than a decade ago, that there were numerous psychological barriers against the formation of physician unions [personal communication].
These included (1) the public perception of doctor’s as a “cut above” ordinary workers; (2) doctor’s attempts to wrap collective bargaining in a mantle of patient’s rights that lacked credibility; and (3) the highly educated physician’s ability to re-engineer and seek alternate employment opportunities rather than accept the salary scale or lack of autonomy present in restrictive managed care entities.
Tincture of Time
Time has proven Shea both correct and incorrect, as MD resignation through individual re-deployment and/or innovation has been more effective than any “union strike” if called by one practitioner at a time.
On the other hand, more than 40% of all physicians are now collective employees … So, what gives?
And so, are doctors really different than the man-in-the-street; or more like union workers and the OWStreeters? Did we stand united, or have we fallen individually since the comments of Shea, Reinhardt and Relman?
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Filed under: Career Development, Ethics, Health Economics Tagged: | Are Doctors Unique or New Members of the Working Class hoi-polloi?, employeed doctors, Kent Bottles MD, Marcinko, Medical Labor Unions?, PHOs