Recently, the Governor and HHS Director announced a pilot project to provide Medicaid services at Walmart retail clinics. Many physician groups, including our own Academy, have raised concerns about retail health clinics, warning that they undermine the medical home concept and may lead to greater fragmentation of care. Anticipating this criticism, the HHS Director was reported to have said, “South Carolina's significant physician shortage demands new solutions and leaves no room for detractors to complain.”
This seems to be the new strategy for countering physician advocacy on policy issues: Assert that we have “no room to complain” and therefore, should remain silent on these issues. Sometimes the argument takes the form of claiming that we have a conflict of interest. Other variations allege that we’re incapable of comprehending the nuances of the issue due to our narrow interests in health care quality and maintaining the integrity of our profession. Sometimes—as in this case—the implied message is that we ought to mind our own business and get back to work. It’s a powerful argument. It’s so powerful and effective, it needs a special name. I propose that we call it the “Shut Up and Practice Medicine” argument.