June 1998 Bulletin

Radio stations air access to specialty care messages

More than 1,880 radio broadcasts on stations across the nation informed the public in March that access to specialty care is important and cost effective.

Interviews with Academy members at the Annual Meeting were broadcast on more than 1,100 stations. The radio stations had a potential listening audience of 12.8 million people.

William J. Robb III, MD, said, "There is actually good scientific evidence now where studies in specialty areas such as orthopaedics, and various renal diseases, pulmonary conditions, skin conditions..." demonstrate ..."that as soon as you access the person who really has the answer for your problem, the problem gets solved."

"It is the right of the patient to see the physician of their choice," said Bernard F. Morrey, MD. "The patient has the right to be cared for by the physician who has the greatest competence or in whom the patient has the greatest confidence."

Letha Y. Griffin, MD, asked, "If you have a fractured arm, should you see the ER, then the primary care physician and then the orthopaedist? That's a lot of health care dollars. Your primary care doctors can only refer you on for further treatment by your specialist."

On the cost effectiveness of seeing a specialist, John F. Sarwark, MD, said, "There are efficiencies that come in timely diagnosis, timely and appropriate care being given and care that does not need to be repeated." Philip A. Fontanetta, MD, said "early specialty intervention, at least evaluation, may in the long run save money." Being forced to see a primary care physician for a fracture is "for the most part an unnecessary expense and utilization of your time and is burdensome to the system," said Charles Weiss, MD.

Warning against selecting a health plan based mainly on the cost of the plan, Kenneth E. DeHaven, MD, said, "don't be led by a false sense of security because you're healthy and your family is healthy" because in the future you may need specialty care.

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