A Doctors’ Trade Show


I went to the doctors’ trade show

And met some folks that I know

And made some new friends

Who have the means to the ends

And, all in, all, seem like a pro

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, travelled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I am back having adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system I can get along with. I spent the winter in Nome, Alaska, followed by assignments in rural Iowa. This summer included a funeral, a bicycle tour in Michigan, cherry picking in Iowa, and two weeks a month working Urgent Care in suburban Pennsylvania. I’m attending a medical conference in Denver.  Any patient information has been included with permission.

After a three hour lecture in the morning, I went to the Exhibition Hall, a trade show for an audience of 4,000 doctors.

All the big drug companies have booths here, where “booth” can mean a display with 4 figure square footage, 6 figure inventory, double digit staff, high-tech lighting, and luxurious carpet.  The device manufacturers send representatives, too, along with recruiters, hospital systems, healthy and unhealthy food manufacturers, shoe makers, massagers, electronic EMR companies, publishers, lab companies, financial managers, 14 government agencies, imaging corporations, instrument manufacturers, market research concerns, office equipment vendors, practice management consultants, and almost everyone who wants to hire a Family Practitioner.

I could not find the company that made the recalcitrant EMR which led to my departure from Community Health back home, probably for the best.  That company’s exit from the field would not surprise nor disappoint me.

I visited the booth of the Urgent Care company I’ve worked at this summer, and bubbled over at how much I’ve enjoyed the experience.  They plan to open a center 4 hour’s drive from my home, and they offered me a more permanent spot.  All they want is a commitment to 10 shifts a month.

I also visited the representatives of the company that place me there.

But first I had a most productive talk with the Canadians, and I learned a good deal.  They explained some salient points about the credentialing process which the website does not make clear, especially regarding notarization of credential copies.  I established a relationship with a recruiter for a government agency, and expressed my willingness to work rural establishments.  The first step, a provisional license, will require a 3 month commitment, and, after that, I can do locum tenens work as I choose.  The country’s socialized medical system regards the doctors as independent contractors, and most work fee-for-service.  Medical malpractice exists, but a doctor has to really screw up to get hauled into court, and professional liability insurance, provided by a government agency, has remained affordable.  I walked away stunned.

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