BELLUNO – Ulss Dolomiti, the local health authority, has recently reached an agreement with the general practitioner unions, Fimmg, Snami, and Smi, which aims to provide incentives and bonuses to doctors who effectively manage healthcare spending and adhere to appropriate prescription practices. This agreement, valid for the years 2023-2024, has been referred to as a “health pact” by Borca’s GP, Enzo Bozza, who further explained the motivations behind it.
One prevalent misconception in the medical field, according to Bozza, is that patients view the general medical clinic as a supermarket where they can shop for various tests and procedures. This erroneous belief stems from the idea that as a publicly-funded service, the healthcare system has unlimited resources available. However, Bozza emphasizes that the correct approach to medicine is recognizing that patients are individuals with health problems, not customers in the market.
Bozza stresses that when a patient seeks medical assistance, their first point of contact should be the general practitioner. Following a diagnosis and potential therapy recommendations, the doctor may request further tests to support their findings. These additional tests should be based on scientific and conscientious considerations. “In science,” Bozza explains, “the doctor’s technical knowledge and international guidelines dictate which tests are most appropriate.” Furthermore, “in conscience,” the general practitioner, aware of spending public funds, should opt for tests that are both effective and cost-efficient, as resources are finite and should not be wasted unnecessarily.
The doctor-patient dynamic is crucial in curbing excessive healthcare spending. Bozza highlights that more spending does not equate to better healthcare; it is essential to spend the right amount. The responsibility of determining what is appropriate rests with healthcare professionals who possess the necessary training and integrity. He warns against patients taking matters into their own hands by seeking information from the Internet or well-meaning individuals, as this can lead to improper and excessive testing. Such behavior burdens the public system, causing delays for those genuinely in need of medical examinations. To combat this issue and promote responsible spending, general practitioners have signed an agreement with Dolomiti to outline the correct diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that benefit all patients.
It is crucial to differentiate between this agreement and the remuneration provided to doctors who participate in the pact. General practitioners are not employed by the local health authority but are freelance professionals. The compensation they receive is a tangible sign of appreciation for their hard work and dedication. However, Bozza stresses that ethical commitment and intellectual honesty should always supersede financial interests. Doctors must always prioritize the best interest of their patients, ensuring that they make the most appropriate decisions without any ulterior motives.
Ultimately, the purpose of this agreement is to reward commitment and professionalism among general practitioners. While compensation is a part of the pact, it should be seen as secondary to the ethical responsibilities doctors have towards their patients. Bozza closes by reiterating that doctors strive to help individuals lead healthier lives and should not be perceived as individuals who order unnecessary tests solely to increase their income. The doctor-patient relationship is built on trust, with the goal of ensuring that patients receive the care they need in a fair and efficient manner.