December 13, 2017

Social justice beyond the blather: the Catholic doctor who puts her patients first

Jill Zackrisson wanted to be able to spend more time with her patients.
Photo: Sandy Hausman / Radio IQ

Richmond physician Jill Zackrisson — who happens to be the mother of Bad Catholic blogger, Marc Barnes — became a doctor because she wanted to help people.  A devout Catholic, she felt that was her duty, but after years of training, she found it hard to practice medicine.

As Republicans search for ways to replace the Affordable Care Act, she is one of many doctors in that country who are doing something new. Tired of the expense and time required to process insurance claims, they’re charging patients a modest monthly fee and bypassing insurance entirely.  This model is called direct primary care.

“On average, family physicians can spend 7 minutes of face-to-face time with their patients, and I was feeling that crunch, and becoming more disillusioned with the state of health care,” Zackrisson recalls.

It was especially painful when patients had waited a long time to consult her on several concerns.

“And they say, ‘I also came to talk to you about X, Y or Z, and I’d say, ‘I’m sorry.  I really do want to finish this conversation, but you’re going to have to take another day off work.  You’re going to have to drive another time across town. You’re going to have to sit in the waiting room for another 45 minutes so that we get our next seven minutes,'”  Zackrisson says. “It’s just not the way I wanted to be a doctor.”

By Sandy Hausman. Read the full article at WVTF public radio.

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