Protecting the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Washington, D.C. –Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Vice Chairman of the House Rules Committee, drafted the below op-ed on the importance of protecting the Doctor-Patient relationship and the challenge of administrative paperwork and burdensome prior authorization requirements for doctors. 

Protecting the Doctor-Patient Relationship
By Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
February 27, 2023
Read full op-ed here

Many health care practices we consider essential are slowly becoming things of the past or recent memory. Frighteningly, the most critical component of our health care system – the doctor and patient relationship – is on the verge of joining this list.

Prior to coming to Congress, I served the moms and babies of North Texas for nearly 30 years. Patients and their doctors should be dictating treatment and care plans that are right for them, not the insurance companies and certainly not the federal government. The doctor-patient relationship is the cornerstone of America’s health care system, and it distinguishes our high-quality care from the rest of the world. To me, this is personal. My dad, a doctor and surgeon, left Canada’s socialized system of medicine to escape the restrictive control over the practice of medicine.


A recent American Medical Association (AMA) survey found that physicians and staff spent more than 16 hours each week completing prior authorization requirements to get patients necessary medicines, medical services, or essential procedures. On an annual basis, the survey concluded that 853 hours are spent on prior authorization tasks. The likely result is delayed patient care, often for months at a time.


One of the core principles of value-based care is that providers should be rewarded for their quality of care. The concept of rewarding high performance is not new to health care. Adopting a “gold carding” policy would allow our health care system to transition towards a value-based care system while preserving the doctor-patient relationship.

This foundation sets America apart and makes our medical care the best in the world.