How to Pick a Physician

Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.  In this article, Dr. Bennett talks about how to pick a physician.  This article is from a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on 1560TheGame from Houston, TX.

This is a the second segment of a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on 1560TheGame.  The topic of the Show was “How to Chose a Doctor” and this section discusses how to pick a physician, and especially the large medical centers influence the selection of team physicians for professional, amateur and scholastic sports teams.  With Dr. Bennett is Bob Lewis of 1560The Game.  If you have a question for Dr. Bennett, please call his office at 281-633-8600 for an appointment.

Here’s the transcript of the second portion of the Show with Dr. Bennett taking a question from a caller.

DOCTOR BENNETT:  Welcome back.  This is Dr. Jay at Saturdays with Dr. Jay, 1560 The Game.  I appreciate you tuning in.  We’re talking today about a little bit behind the scenes, basically M.D.’s and medicine in general.  We’re going to go to our first caller today.  Mike, what can we do for you?

CALLER:  Thanks for having me on, Dr. Jay.  You talked about team physicians earlier and a lot of times you hear people say, “Oh go talk to this guy, he’s a professional team’s physician or whatever,” and in making your decision of who to go see, are they clinically better than the others and is that why they hold these positions?

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  That’s a great question, Mike, and it’s actually a very interesting topic.  There are a lot of docs that have been around forever and they take care of teams and do a great job of it, you know 15 or 20 years with the same team, and they definitely have a great reputation and deserve it.  Then again, you’re getting into some of the marketing behind medicine, and there’s a segment toward the end of the show where we’re going to talk a little bit more about that.  A lot of people don’t understand that when it comes to professional sports, it’s really a big bidding war out there.  A lot of times it goes to the highest bidder.  And that’s one of the sad things as far as changes in medicine in general, it’s definitely become more of a business and unfortunately, I guess like anything else, money makes the world turn.  

You see more and more of that.  About 15 or 20 years ago, the teams would usually just go to the best doc with the best reputation and the best results and those docs didn’t really pay a cent.  Nowadays, the hospitals that support those docs will pay those teams, and say, “We’re paying you … whatever it is, let’s say $1 million dollars … and we want you to use specifically our physicians and specifically our facilities and that be it.”  So take it with a grain of salt.  Do your due diligence; don’t go by just what one person says.  That guy may be a great doc but just make sure you aren’t going to see the guy that’s fresh out of training, not that they would be a bad doc but if you want someone with a little bit more experience make sure you do your background check and all of that.  You need to know that.  Don’t go and assume because this guy is the team doc of so and so he’s got all the experience.  That guy could have just finished up his training about a year ago.  

You’re seeing more and more of this.  It started at the professional level, and there was a lot of money thrown around.  Now you’re seeing it at the high school level.  As a matter of fact when it comes to high school’s it’s become incredibly competitive; which is funny because when I was in training, you couldn’t give away coverage of a high school game.  Nobody wanted to cover it because those docs didn’t want to go out to the sidelines on a Friday night, they wanted to go home and hang out with their families.  Nowadays everybody is competing, the hospitals are competing and donating money to the teams and so those are the doctors they use, not necessarily because they have a great patient outcome and a good referral base and have been around for 20 plus years but because they’re that hospital’s physician and that’s it.  

So it’s up to parents when it comes to high school sports and injuries to do their due diligence.  You can ask the trainers and the therapists at that school but just take into consideration that that school may have a deal with a hospital.  That’s fine if you’re okay with that.  I’m not saying that’s bad, I’m just saying you’ve got to be aware of it.  You have a right to pick your physician and say that “I want to go to this or there.”  And they may say, “Oh, no, no, we communicate well with this doctor or that doctor.”  Well, that’s true half of the time but a lot of time they’re communicating with that P.A. or that secretary in the office or whatever because of the deal they may have with a particular hospital.  You just have to understand that it’s not like it used to be.  Everything is not out in the open; there’s a lot of deals that have gone on.  It’s even gotten into the little leagues now; the hospitals are paying big bucks to cover the little leagues now.  

The issue is the hospitals really want to control the patient population and they compete constantly over that.  Matter of fact nowadays they’re buying up physicians’ practices left and right because they want to really control the marketplace.  Unfortunately that’s taking away a lot of the competition that makes medicine better.  When you get rid of the incentives to do well and compete, with a private sector amongst the hospitals, then it becomes almost like a monopoly and the choices tend to dwindle in the long term.  And that all goes back to the future of medicine which we’ll talk about in a little bit here.  

LEWIS:  That’s a whole other story.  But Dr. Jay you’re right.  It is a marketing plan, they have a marketing budget, and they use that budget to associate themselves with teams – whether they be professional or whether they be little league – and it is a marketing deal.  Not that the teams don’t do their due diligence in making sure there’s nothing behind this endorsement, this sponsorship of their team, that’s going to not have any adverse publicity that’s going to come up on them, but it is an endorsement and a sponsorship so it’s part of the marketing plan.

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT:  It’s a part of the business of medicine.  The big problem I think about some of those large hospital corporations is that when it comes down to it, the guys that are making the decisions are really the guys that are not the M.D.s, they’re not the physicians, they’re the guys that are counting basically the bottom dollar and unfortunately some people fall through the cracks of that whole big deal and that’s the unfortunate side of big business and medicine.

Doctor J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in Sports Medicine.  He was trained in sports medicine during a one-year fellowship at the University of Miami and during that time, he served as an assistant team physician for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the University of Miami Hurricanes.  Dr. Bennett serves patients from all over the Houston area from offices in Sugar Land and Houston, TX.  Please call our Sugar Land office at 281-633-8600 or our Houston office at 713-234-3152 for an appointment.

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Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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