Thursday, April 05, 2007

Super Doctor Scam

I recently received a ballot from a Texas magazine, asking me to nominate members of my specialty that I considered “Super Doctors.” These nominees, who should be doctors that I would allow to treat my family, were to be honored in a future edition of the magazine. Imagine my surprise to find that Emergency Medicine was not one of the specialties listed.

What follows is an email exchange, copied unedited and in its entirety:

Dr. Gardner,
Super Doctors is a consumer tool for assisting in choosing doctors. As
you have noted, one does not choose one's emergency doctor. Radiologists
and pathologists are two other examples of that type of doctor.

Plummer__________________________Marilyn PlummerAdvertising Projects Managermplummer@texasmonthly.com512-320-6976
Texas Monthly :
PO Box 1569 :
Austin, TX 78767

Forwarded MessageFrom: Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 14:59:01 -0500To: Subject: Online Feedback Form
Dear sir:
I am a physician practicing in the state of Texas, and I recentlyreceived your ballot soliciting nominations for the Texas Super Doctors2007 edition of Texas Monthly. As I read the document, I was dismayedto find that the category of "Emergency Medicine" did not appear on thelist of specialties.As a Board certified, residency trained, practicing emergency physician,I feel that this is an injustice. I am the Secretary/Treasurer of theAmerican College of Emergency Physicians, which represents 24,000practicing emergency physicians across the nation, including some 1500emergency physicians in Texas. Emergency physicians had 114 millionpatient visits across the country in 2005. Emergency physicians inTexas averaged 8,671 patient visits (each) in that same year. Youroversight is a slight to my specialty.

I realize that patients often don't have a choice of emergencyphysician, since they frequently seek care from the closest facility.However, forty percent of all inpatient admissions to the hospital originate in the emergency department. We are taking care of all theother physicians'patients at night, on the weekends, on holidays, and any other time that a patient can't see their doctor in the office. As a former president of the Texas Chapter of the American College ofEmergency Physicians (TCEP), I can attest to that fact that there are certainly "Super Doctors" performing minor miracles every day in the emergency departments across Texas.

Some of them include:
Diana Fite, MD ( Houston)
Arlo Weltge, MD, FACEP (Houston)
Brian Nelson, MD, PhD, FACEP (El Paso)
Andrea Green, MD, FACEP (Arlington)
Brian Zachariah, MD, FACEP (UTMB - Galveston)
David Morgan, MD, FACEP(Temple)

Please consider adding a category to your Ballot to honor these finephysicians and their specialty.

Angela Fulgham Gardner, MD, FACEP

Further investigation proved very interesting. Once nominated, the doctor is given an opportunity to purchase a full page, half page, or smaller page for publicizing their selection. Doctors not choosing to participate in the full color, glossy pages are listed in a simple list at the end of the magazine.

Is the public really being served by this mechanism, or is this just a way to bring in dollars to the magazine? I would suggest that if the magazine really wanted a fair accounting of quality, they would use something other than the ability to purchase advertising in their selection of the best doctors in Texas.

And just for the record…………..emergency physicians have no resemblance to pathologists. We have a long way to go in educating the public……………


Brian Zachariah said...

I'm flattered to be considered a Super Doc by a true Super Doc and Super EM Leader such as you.

Anonymous said...

What a ruse. If I were having surgery I sure would want to try to get the best experienced surgipath, as well as have the more experienced radiologist read my films or put in my coils. Choosing, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, perhaps these survey makers are illiterate scum. It is far more concerning to me that the only "active consumers" (of healthcare) that frequent my ED are those that call in advance wanting to know which Dr. is on duty today. Their (the patients) only concern is which Dr. they can get narcotics from for their Migraine, back pain, lost RX, PCP out of town etc. They (the addicted) all know which Docs are are gullable or just don't care enough to attempt any verification of their fabricated history. The real patients (99% of them) just trust us, and are thankful.