Soviet Emigre Physician Warns of "Sovietization" of American Medicine, in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

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| Source: Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

TUCSON, Ariz., June 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Former Soviet citizens are able to recognize circumstances that remind them of conditions in the former USSR, writes Leonid Poretsky, M.D., who is chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

In an article in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, he defines "Sovietization" as "the ever-increasing levels of bureaucratization and propaganda that…threaten the integrity of American medicine."

Poretsky states that physicians re "fighting against an avalanche of useless and harmful bureaucracy and regulation that devours large portions of our time and is disconnected from the real concerns of physicians and their patients." He focuses on the "quality" and "safety" movements, which generate measures that are, in his view, largely useless.

Commendable goals are not enough, he states. He notes that Communism was based on the best of intentions, yet multiple attempts to establish the ideal society it envisioned led to tyranny, millions of lost lives, and economic collapse.

The government plans to spend $80 billion in an attempt to force the introduction of electronic medical records (EMRs) in hospitals and physicians' offices, he writes. "It is disingenuous for the government to force physicians and patients to provide data under the pretext that the EMR will benefit them," Poretsky states. EMRs cause a "dramatic slow-down," and interfere in the patient-physician relationship, without evidence of cost savings or error reduction.

"We create our own obstacles and then take pride in overcoming them," Poretsky writes, citing a Soviet proverb.

"Progress in medicine will come from advances in science, not from bureaucratic interventions." He advocates a moratorium on new regulations, and a review of existing regulations. Physicians should insist that agencies show evidence of net benefit.

Only if physicians speak out can we "break the seemingly unstoppable attack of Soviet-like forces on the great fabric of American medicine," he concludes.

The Journal is an official publication of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, which was founded in 1943.

Jane M. Orient, M.D.
(520) 323-3110,