Monday, May 12, 2008

Open Letter from the American Physicians

Sign the Open Letter from America's Physicians

The time has come for physicians to come together and lead a new wave of healthcare reform. The current healthcare system is strained and unsustainable. Our patients' well-being and the dignity of our profession are at stake. The physician community has found a powerful voice on Sermo and we can use this platform to speak with consensus and act in unity.

On Sermo, the physician community has been able to start formulating strategies to refocus our misdirected healthcare system for optimal patient care. The first product of this effort is the launch of an open letter to the American public, outlining the challenges we face in delivering appropriate care. This letter also gives us the opportunity to declare our full commitment to our patients. What began with the idea of drafting a single letter has now grown into a movement that is unifying and giving voice to thousands of physicians.

The "Open Letter from America's Physicians" is the culmination of months of polling, discussions, and draft revisions on Sermo, involving the active participation of over a thousand physicians. We must now drive our colleagues to sign the letter to show the strength and scope of our unity to policy makers and the public. Sermo has pledged support to distribute the signed letter broadly via the Internet, national newspapers, and downloadable materials that we can share with our patients. These strategies will give us national visibility and generate significant media attention for our efforts.

We have finally been given a real opportunity to speak and act as one. There is power in our unity. We can build on this experience and create a viable mechanism for establishing a new paradigm that acknowledges the value of physician autonomy and patient-centered health care delivery, free from the intrusion of special interests and political motives.


An Open Letter from America's Physicians

Dear Fellow Americans,

For decades the United States has led the world in healthcare. We have enjoyed the finest hospitals, medical schools, research, technology, and resources. Unfortunately, our healthcare system has lost focus to the point where patient well-being is placed after politics, profits, and special interests. Healthcare costs are on the rise and patients have lost their freedom of choice. These trends are hurting our economy and compromising the doctor-patient relationship. As a result, it has become difficult for physicians to deliver the best possible care.

Our heavily fragmented healthcare system has made it very difficult for you, the American public, to get the care you need. As your physicians, we want to partner with you to address the critical defects of the system as outlined below:

You are paying a lot for healthcare and not receiving enough in return. Your insurance premiums continue to increase while your healthcare options are dwindling. Gatekeepers, insurance networks, and restrictive regulations limit your choice of doctors and your access to care.
You have been made dependent on complicated and expensive health insurance plans. Employers are forced to take money out of your paycheck to purchase health coverage. If you lose your job, you are left with no safety net and the money you have paid for health coverage vanishes.
The time you spend with your physician has become remarkably brief due to regulatory hurdles requiring doctors to spend more time on documentation than with you.
We believe the following factors have made our current healthcare system unsustainable:

The insurance industry's undue authority and oppressive control over healthcare processes
Excessive and misguided government regulation
The practice of defensive medicine in response to a harmful and costly legal environment

We, the physicians of the United States, will no longer remain silent. We will not tolerate a healthcare system where those without medical expertise or genuine interest in our patients' health have absolute control. This letter is merely a summary of the most important problems in our current system. We believe that by partnering with the public we can start to demand real change and formulate practical solutions.

We invite you, our patients, friends, neighbors, and employers to unite with us at this important time in the history of healthcare in the United States. Together, we can guarantee our nation a healthier tomorrow.

Please talk to your doctor about this letter and visit for more information.


The Undersigned U.S. Physicians


What can you do?

SIGN the letter here through your vote and add your voice to this nationwide call to patients.

SEND emails to colleagues and encourage them to sign. Better yet, forward this posting through "Send to Colleague".

SHARE the attached flyer with colleagues. Place it in mailboxes or post it in locations that will be seen by other physicians.

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