It was an exhausting and exasperating year marked by the constant tug-of-war in Washington, D.C., over healthcare policy. Don’t get me wrong. I feel strongly that the Affordable Care Act is not the answer. But the latest path to alternative solutions was filled with such rancor that I hope both sides of the aisle endeavor to work together in the coming year to find a better way forward.
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And while politicians debated the future, physicians dealt with the present. Patients are struggling to pay for needed medication and procedures as payers add new obstacles to simply getting reimbursed for work already done.
Practicing medicine should not, and cannot, be this hard. I applaud all the physicians, non-physician providers and medical staff who day in and day out recognize the daunting tasks that await them, but nevertheless show up and serve patients.
As we reflect on 2017, this is also the time of year for resolutions. So I want to go on record now with a few that I—and the entire team at Medical Economics—plan to keep in 2018:
1. We will remain the voice of the physician.
Absent politics and sponsor obligations, we will provide you an outlet to vent your feelings and share ideas with your peers.
2. We will educate and enlighten.
From navigating thousands of pages of healthcare rules and legislation to providing tips and strategies to assist you in providing the best patient care possible, we’ll deliver the information you need to succeed.
3. We will listen.
As journalists, we often think we know the most important things happening in your medical setting. But we need you to help us steer the ship. So call, email, use social media and visit us at conferences to tell us what information and answers you need to help patients and your practice. Chances are very good if it is an issue for you, it is an issue for a fellow physician elsewhere in the U.S.
4. We will innovate.
As we enter our 95th year of publishing a print magazine, we will also strengthen our digital efforts. If you don’t regularly do so, please visit our website (medicaleconomics.com) for additional articles and commentary (from fellow physicians) featuring vital information to make the medical maze a little easier to navigate. We plan to improve and expand our online content to better serve our readers.
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May 2018 be the year we reflect on as the start of when healthcare got back to the task of truly helping patients. That has been our focus since our first issue and it will continue to be for the years ahead.
Keith L. Martin is editorial director of Medical Economics. What challenges do you foresee in 2018? Tell us at [email protected].