- Del Meyer, MD - https://delmeyer.net -

Forty-five Years Ago (July/August 1952)

The lead article was the medical society’s new phone number from HUdson 1-0157 to HUdson 1-2771 to allow for more trunk lines in rotation… The AMA selects our exchange as example in nationwide survey.

The editor is concerned about the criticism of the CPS, the California Physician Service (Blue Shield). He argues that the reason doctors are unable to set fees on which insurance might be based is because doctors can’t set fees based on a diagnosis because every diagnosis requires different responsibilities. Some pneumonias are easy to treat and some develop complications. The price of automobiles, beef, and pants increase in cost constantly… a physician’s fee is a fee for service and the value of the service varies enormously… The editor also supports hospital costs stating, “I doubt there is a group in the entire country which has tried harder to keep costs down than hospital administrators.

The State Personnel Board announced raises in salaries of physicians employed by the state… to $644 per month for a beginning physician and surgeon 1 to an ultimate $1,100 for Director of Clinical Services.

The Laboratory Corner by C M Blumenfeld, MD discusses the importance of the biopsy examination from two points of view. One is that the surgeon must give enough data to facilitate the pathologist to make the most accurate diagnosis possible. Normally it is the pathologic diagnosis which defines the final diagnosis in the medical record.

The “Around the Hospitals” column announces that Mercy is building a new pediatric addition… John Babich is back in town after three year residency in St Louis… Jack Chambers, who was an accomplished carpenter was laying bricks. Just getting ready for the day that socialized medicine might come… Stories about doctors vacations experiences completed the column.

Thirty years ago (July 1967)

Headline: Dwight L Wilbur, San Francisco internist, was unanimously elected president-elect of the AMA. Dr Wilbur’s father served as AMA president in 1924 as well as former US Secretary of the Interior and President of Stanford University. The new president-elect’s son, Dr Dwight L Wilbur, III, is a Sacramento internist.

A three column article excerpted a paper delivered by Paul Harvey, ABC news analyst and commentator at the 1967 AMA meeting in Atlantic City on June 17. He chided the profession for confusing the public urging increased Government responsibility for our “welfare.” He noted that 30 million citizens are getting all or part of their medical care from the Government. Yet renowned physicians lend their names to further efforts to provide “government medicine” for all our citizens. Why? Not one of the 26 “Physicians for Health Care for the Aged through Social Security” is a full-time practicing physician: yet because doctors’ names are news, they have influence all our of proportion to their numbers and clinical experiences. I do not impugn the integrity of these distinguished doctors, but I am concerned that they allow their reputations in one field to lend undue importance to their advice in another; thus, a handful of articulated doctors are self-appointed spokesmen for the rest.

And a final brief note that San Diego County Medical Society is urging all hospitals in the county to discontinue the sales of cigarettes and announces that one-third have already taken such measures. (Editor’s Note: Even 5 years later, I was unable to implement this at American River Hospital in 1972.)