Solidarity Blog

WakeUp! Tucson: Hospitals Are Facing Physician Shortage

Hospitals are facing physician shortage

As more and more hospitals face physician shortage, providing clear information and healthcare transparency is more important than ever. Chris Faddis joins Chris DeSimone on WakeUp! Tucson on KVOI Radio to discuss this topic.

Interview Audio

Chris DeSimone (00:00):

Let’s go to our friend Chris Faddis, El Presidente, as we call him over at Solidarity HealthShare. What’s up, man? How are you, sir?

Chris Faddis (00:09):

Hey, how are you? Doing pretty well. Doing pretty well. It’s been a busy week.

Chris DeSimone (00:15):

Well, I mean-

Chris Faddis (00:16):

Beautiful weather though.

Chris DeSimone (00:17):

Beautiful weather. This is why we put up with that 117 crap in July. Exactly. This is why we’re here. Let’s talk about something you and I have talked about and also follow along on and how to find out how to pay for your healthcare costs in a better moral way that does something called increase your discretionary income, which is always a nice thing. So Christopher, healthcare transparency in a congressional subcommittee, are they actually possibly going to try to do something or is this something that will never get through the Senate?

Chris Faddis (01:00):

Yeah, good question. I mean, that’s the reality, right? It’s something I think, I don’t know if we talked about this last month, Chris, but there was a study that came out that this study, they asked everyone and unanimously across the borders, like 91% of Americans, no matter their political affiliation, agree that price transparency is important, right? So you would think this would be a win across the board. But yeah, they’re looking at some more. The lower cost, more transparency act is it’s a bipartisan house vote, which that’s good signs bipartisan, but I think you’re right. I mean, I think the party politics right now are so bad that why would we want to get something done? I mean, it’s better to just pretend no one wants to get anything done. I don’t understand it.

Chris DeSimone (01:43):


Chris Faddis (01:43):

I think there’s a hope that they want to focus on fixing some of these price, price transparency issues.

Chris DeSimone (01:51):

So think about this is just what, over the last so many decades, even in the classic HMO days of the eighties, nineties, it’s been so people’s perception of what healthcare costs is. So they say they want it, 91% you said are into this whole thing. Well, what percent of them actually even understand it, right? They think when they pay a $50 copay that that’s what it costs.

Chris Faddis (02:17):

Exactly. And how many of them actually do anything to fight against it when they don’t see it? Most people don’t actually do anything. They say they want price transparency, they complain about it, but nobody’s actually making that change or they’re still participating in it. And I think the hard part with any sort of congressional solution is obviously regulation is not always the best thing, but when you have this runaway system, we, I mean, there may be some benefit here to requiring publishing pricing, just very simple rules that says, Hey, let consumers decide. You have to show them what’s under the curtain. But we’ve already seen with the no surprises act, these hospitals, they have to publish certain pricing and they’ve made it difficult and they’ve kind of fought it, and many of ’em are still not complying. And the government has fined some of them, but not very many. And so, are we going to enforce it? Are we actually going to require it? And the other side is this new bill is actually focused on the clinical labs, imaging services and ambulatory surgical centers that they publish their pricing. The reality is that ambulatory surgical centers have been doing that for years. They’re not the problem. It’s these hospital systems. And so I think it is good to see efforts, but whether or not it’s going to actually cause change, I not all that hopeful.

Chris DeSimone (03:41):

I got a social experiment we could do where I think you and I can make some bucks here. So what we do is we set up a table at the, I’ll come up to you. We’ll, I’ll going to go to the Chandler Fashion Center up there, and we’re going to set up a tent and it’s called Chris and Chris rip us off for 50 bucks. And they walk up and we’re going to say, look, we’re going to hand you a piece of paper, if you can explain it, 50 bucks, we’re going to hand you 50 bucks cash. If you can explain it, you give us five and we’re going to give them, we’re going to give ’em an EOB, explanation of benefits, an

Chris Faddis (04:17):

EOB. That’s perfect. That’s perfect.

Chris DeSimone (04:22):

I think we could make ourselves a hell of a chunk of dough that day,

Chris Faddis (04:27):

Or we could also give them the bill that the hospital sends to a self-pay patient $35,000 for your ER visit. That’s it. What happened there? Well, I don’t know. We gave you some tissue and we’re not really sure what ridiculous.

Chris DeSimone (04:47):

I was with a loved one in an ER, the Oral Valley one near my house in the last couple of years. And I noticed that because there’s no one who’s an actual doctor anymore that works at ERs, everyone, we now just call them providers. That’s the magic new word. And I’m not saying I don’t like nurse practitioners. I’m actually finding that nurse practitioners are better doctors than people who say the word doctor before their name. But I just find that interesting, the gray area of provider,

Chris Faddis (05:18):

Right? Right. Yeah. It’s difficult. We get flax sometimes from physicians because we say provider, but sometimes it makes sense when you think about, well, we’re talking about labs and imaging centers and all these other things, but I think you’re right. We’ve really changed that scope of saying, yeah, there might be one ER doc and 10 PAs or nurse practitioners, and the ER doc comes in for 32 seconds and doesn’t talk to you. He just checks. I think that’s what happened when my daughter had her appendix last year. He just came in and tapped on the stomach and said, yeah, it’s an appendix. And that was the end of it. But it is just gotten more and more, I mean, we’ve talked about the physician shortage rather than trying to solve the physician shortage, they’re trying to solve it by just doing subspecialties and lowering the quality, the level of care that we can get, which I don’t think is good.

Chris DeSimone (06:11):

And just my personal life, I’ve had two nurse practitioners in the last few years of my life that actually try to solve your problem instead of chasing and billing codes like doctors.

Chris Faddis (06:23):

Right, right. I mean, I think that’s true. And we’ve talked about this before. You’re finding more and more of these doctors and nurse practitioners starting their own practices just doing cash pay so they can actually serve patients.

Chris DeSimone (06:36):


Chris Faddis (06:38):

One of the reasons I got to say, Chris, for us in Arizona, one of the great benefits we have is the fact that naturopathic and integrative care is so well licensed and they can do a lot of care for us. And you can find a lot of great doctors out there who have both medical and holistic training who can blend those specialties, and they spend time with you, and they actually look at what’s wrong with you, and they do the right lab testing, and they do all these things, and next thing you know, you’re actually solving problems as opposed to just medicating through it.

Chris DeSimone (07:09):

I also found during Covid that the nurse practitioners were more independently minded about treating their people where the doctors were more people with a DR in front of their name were more zombie-like in relation to what the government was telling them. So that was another change in my brain.

Chris Faddis (07:28):

Interesting. Yeah, I think all this red tape and all the regulations, I think we’ve sucked the joy out of medicine for many of these doctors for sure.

Chris DeSimone (07:37):

 No, we sucked the joy out of medicine. We’ve sucked the joy out of being a teacher. We’ll just keep going down the line.

Chris Faddis (07:43):

Course it’s going to keep going. Keep Sucking.

Chris DeSimone (07:46):

 Chris and I are going to provide joy while everyone else is sucking joy out of there. So Chris, can you hold on? I got to do a break. Visit some great sponsors like Solidarity Healthshare, check out Let’s talk about maybe rural hospitals when we come back that are at risk of closure. I thought Obamacare was going to solve all this for everybody, but I guess not. 8 48 in the morning, our listener, Galvin is doing a countdown. Every song is a countdown from 18 to one, and this is called Two Days Into College. Wake Up. Well, it’s 120 second annual. Wake Up Tucson St. Patrick’s Day party tomorrow. There was two in a couple of years. There were more than one in. So to celebrate that, we’re going to have one of Arizona’s best Mexican restaurants on to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love it. So Juan Almanza, El Taco Rusko, and Al Taco Rusko. Doss do, excuse me, let’s go right back to the phones. Have our good friend Chris Faddis from Solidarity Healthshare. Christopher, thanks for waiting.

Chris Faddis (08:45):

Hey, no problem.

Chris DeSimone (08:46):

What’s going on for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend for you guys?

Chris Faddis (08:51):

We’ll do a little corn beef.

Chris DeSimone (08:53):

All right. So you’re a corn beef guy?

Chris Faddis (08:55):

Yeah. Yeah. We’ll do the deal. I do it a little differently though. I typically, I don’t do it in the broth. I bake it or roast it, as they say

Chris DeSimone (09:05):

In my approach. No, roasting is good. I’ve been using my slow cooker more or more on it, and you don’t need to put that much broth in it, you know what I mean? It’s just enough. Too much broth is not good

Chris Faddis (09:18):

Enough, but you do still have to rinse it. You got to kind soak some of that salt out. Otherwise it gets a little too, when you roast it, it can be too concentrated. So

Chris DeSimone (09:26):

I did try the already. Yeah, we’ll do something. I already, I tried the already just I wanted to give it a shot. Costco, they have the already cooked one where you just heat it up kind of thing. And if you’re really lazy and you don’t want to do it, the texture’s a little mushy for me.

Chris Faddis (09:43):

Yeah, I wouldn’t love that.

Chris DeSimone (09:45):

It’s a little mushy. It’s like, it’s like corn beef pudding.

Chris Faddis (09:48):

Would it work well for corn beef sandwiches? I, it’d be nice to just have corn beef in the freezer that you could make sandwiches with.

Chris DeSimone (09:54):

I don’t think so. I think you got to have that texture a little bit. Maybe a hash, it’d be better if you could kick it. If you put it on a hot pan with some taters and crisp the sucker up, that might be good. So go to hash is what I would say.

Chris Faddis (10:13):

Well good. Is this going to be a new segment we’re going to do? We’re going to do favorite recipes.

Chris DeSimone (10:17):

Absolutely. We’re going to talk about health all the time. Come on, man. Anything that involve, anything that involves getting people to make their own food and not eat processed food, that’s healthy. That’s true.

Chris Faddis (10:28):

I mean, I’d like you next time you’re going to have the taco guy there. If you could invite me down, that’d be great. I’d love to come down for

Chris DeSimone (10:33):

That. Alright. Okay. No, no, this is good. You say when you’re coming down and we’ll make that happen. That’s all you got to do. Okay. So we’ll put you in the eight o’clock hour, so you can just leave your place at probably sometime in the sixes to get here and whatever you want. We will make it happen.

Chris Faddis (10:53):

Good. Let’s do it. We’ll make it happen.

Chris DeSimone (10:56):

So one more or less, are you a Guinness guy? You like a good dark Guinness beer?

Chris Faddis (11:00):

I do like Guinness. Not, it’s not my go-to, but I do. I will drink a Guinness. I do. You know what I like, I really like is Smith. That’s what I

Chris DeSimone (11:10):

A good one. So I just bought the party pack at Costco, so you get part of, it’s Guinness and then Smithy, and then harp in the same pack. So I do, I did the same. I like the Guinness Blonde. That’s not bad either.

Chris Faddis (11:27):

That is really good. That is really good.

Chris DeSimone (11:28):

I think you got to go to, that sounds like a total wine fries is, I don’t think fries has such deep pockets when it comes to their Guinness. So let’s get back to healthcare. Hundreds of rural hospitals in danger of shutting down. Well, what you got here said since 10, there’s 141 rural hospitals have closed another 453 at risk of closing in the future. What’s shaken in the rural hospital world?

Chris Faddis (11:59):

Yeah, I have to be honest, I think some of this I think has to do with some of the consolidation of healthcare. I think a lot of what’s happening is the reimbursement rates are getting squeezed. These larger health systems like to own the whole market. So if you’re in a place, you think about Flagstaff. I mean, Flagstaff has one regional medical center and there’s really not a rural hospital in northern Arizona. There’s a couple few facilities like emergency room type things and some satellite things, but they really corner the market on the rural hospitals. So I think in some ways, this is probably by design, I could be wrong, but that’s me reading the bureaucracy as best I can. And I think for a long time, and even for us when we do our repricing and things, I mean, we actually consider rural hospitals and in a lot of ways we consider higher payment. But more and more the Medicare reimbursements have gone down for them and thus the insurance reimbursement thing have gone down. It’s just causing that squeeze. And I think as long as you can get those people care, great. But if somebody’s an hour away from a hospital and they’re having a heart attack, I mean, that could be life or death. So I do think it’s important that that’s resolved. I don’t know exactly what the solution is.

Chris DeSimone (13:19):

So I think there’s that also, there’s that reduction of people that want to be doctors, that you have that trend of early retirements and some of these doctors are getting sick of it, right? Then you have to attract people to rural areas to work. I think that’s also part of the challenge, right?

Chris Faddis (13:36):

That’s a big part of it.

Chris DeSimone (13:37):

Yeah, you want to be a doctor and globe no.

Chris Faddis (13:42):

Where do you house, where are you going to put, I mean, so those are all factors. And I think the big thing is just, it’s very important I think from a state standpoint that a state like Arizona that we actually pay attention to that and figure out how to incentivize or get people, get the care they need. I think these small emergency rooms are actually good services for the public if they’re done right, if they’re actually an emergency room and not just a glorified urgent care because you can really triage somebody, get them stabilized and then move them to a larger hospital. So I think more of those kind of facilities are going to be important and we’ll see what comes of it. But it’s been a long time issue.

Chris DeSimone (14:27):

Chris, I always love talking to you. I would love for you to come down and do healthcare talk and Mexican food moot with me one day.

Chris Faddis (14:36):

Okay sounds amazing. We’ll talk soon.

Chris DeSimone (14:37):

All right. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my friend.

Chris Faddis (14:39):

You too.

Chris DeSimone (14:40):

There he is. Chris Faddis,

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