The Medical Paperwork Reduction Act

Painting in the Mauritshuis Museum

Today, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, Congress passed the Medical Paperwork Reduction Act. It states that administrative requirements will be decreased to the minimum required for good medical care and billing. The Department of Labor estimated that this will reduce the average physicians paperwork by 1.7 hours a day, and that for primary care physicians, it will be closer to 3 hours a day. That in turn is expected to significantly decrease the primary care physician shortage, as they will be able to see more patients a day, and lessen unnecessary emergency room visits. Doctors’ morale is expected to improve with improved job satisfaction, leading to less early retirement, decreased physician suicide, and a lower divorce rate. Despite an increase in administrators and clerical staff seeking unemployment benefits, the Congressional Budget Office estimates a net benefit to the economy of 17.2 billion in the first year. “This is a special day. I never dreamed of seeing this,” said AMA spokesman Jonathan Dreckle, “not in a million years.”

Author: Daniel Ginsberg, MD, FACP

I'm an internal medicine physician and have avidly applied computers to medicine since 1986, when I wrote my first medically oriented computer programs. So yes, that means I'm at least 35-years-old!

5 thoughts on “The Medical Paperwork Reduction Act”

  1. How about giving more time for each patient?! as opposed to seeing more patients. The current business model limits the quality of healthcare.

    1. Well it’s basically a matter of economics. If one sees less patients, one earns less money as we all get paid the same amount regardless of how long it takes. If you go to see a doctor for diabetes, for example, your insurance company will pay a certain amount of dollars for the visit. For the most part they won’t pay more just because the doctor spends more time (in limited circumstances they do, but in practice it doesn’t make much difference). Put yourself in the shoes of your insurance company. Would you personally pay more for a longer appointment? It’s kind of like buying organic food. Some people are willing to pay more, but many are not. I actually did increase my routine visits from 15 to 20 minutes, but it definitely affected my pay.

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