You grew up thinking all doctors were devoted altruists, right? That they go into the medical profession to devote their energy to helping people -- not to make money. Okay, maybe if you grew up in the 80's or later, not so much, but a whole lot of us had those crazy thoughts, which explains the fussing and fretting when docs became legally allowed to market their services.
You didn't know there was a time when that was illegal, huh? (You know, it kinda sucks when I can no longer refer to myself as prematurely gray...)
But yes: Prior to a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court case (Bates v State Bar of Arizona), it was illegal for certain professionals (like doctors) to advertise or market their services or fees. Ah, those were the days.
Granted, most docs were slow on the uptake of selling themselves. That might be a little proof that, indeed, most physicians consider the practice of medicine to be a privilege bound by an ethical oath. But I don't know.
Today I learned that the Association of Reproductive Managers who attend the annual ASRM gathering will be taught the secrets that Disney knows for making happy customers.
Reproductive Managers go by a few other similar names, too -- for example, Practice Manager or even Executive Director -- but they all share in common the tasks of running the business end of medical practices. RMs are all about keeping the lights on so your fertility specialist can see during exams, and about keeping those nurses paid.
They're also about managing the creation of more business. After all, even though some of us unlucky infertile souls spend years and years cycling in and out of the clinic doors, most of us are only there for a year or so before moving on, one way or another. And let's face it: reproductive medicine is elective medicine. (You may want to die if you can't have a baby, but you won't really meet your Maker just because you're infertile.) So no matter how many people are struggling to get pregnant, there's always going to be a need to replenish the supply of patients. Kind of hard to believe, isn't it?
Speaking of make-believe: Who better than Disney, American marketing royalty, to impart inspired techniques for bringing both a dreamily hopeful smile and a poignant tear to the faces of millions?
Personally, I'm glad RMs exist. I like the thought that physicians can go about their healing activities without having to worry about (at least on a day-to-day basis) whether the janitorial staff was paid. And now they'll come back from ASRM whistling, "When you wish upon a star..."