South Mississippi doctors focused on patients, not politics - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi doctors focused on patients, not politics

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For Dr. Jay Franklin, an internal medicine doctor, there are parts of healthcare reform that must happen to improve healthcare in this country.

"The most important thing would be to make sure that whoever has health insurance doesn't lose health insurance because of a pre-existing condition or loss of a job temporarily," Franklin said.

Dr. Belinda Alexander, also a doctor of internal medicine agrees.  Another aspect of healthcare reform Alexander appreciates is the focus on preventative care.

"That's part of this bill. Jump in and try to get to patients before they get ill and try to keep them out of sick mode...also try to keep them out of hospital," Alexander said.

However, both agree, one issue that must be addressed is the dire need for primary care physicians to handle the influx of newly insured patients.  They said lawmakers must come up with a viable solution for a persistent problem, Medicare and Medicaid re-imbursements.

"Re-imbursement for primary care is going to have to improve to attract the educated individuals to pursue that pathway of education," Franklin said.

Alexander points to that issue having an impact on how doctors operate.

"If you look back 10 or 15 years, there were more solo practitioners out there. We're kind of like a dying breed. You can't wait three or four months to get re-imbursed by Medicare or Medicaid.

To get more primary care physicians in the exam room, Dr. Franklin said one option is using more nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, supervised by doctors.

Though their focus is always on wellness, Dr. Franklin said it's something the patient also has to buy into.

"Forcing an individual to have to pay for an insurance policy, I don't know how you're going to do that," Franklin said.

Ultimately, whatever happens on the floor of Congress, both doctors said lawmakers need to make sure everyone understands exactly how this reform will impact their lives.

Mississippi's 4th District U.S. Representative, Gene Taylor, was among the 33 democrats who voted against healthcare reform.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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