The relationship between the private physician and occupational medicine was reviewed. The author noted that the need to moderate health care costs has led to a change in emphasis in patient treatment from illness intervention to prevention of disease and injury. One result was that occupational medicine has become more important as a specialty and in relation to private practice. Regulatory pressures due to the activities of federal agencies such as the EPA, OSHA, FTC, FDA, and USDA and close public scrutiny of the private sector were mentioned as compelling reasons for occupational and private physicians to work closely together. Historical precedent for public health measures particularly preventive measures were outlined. The author noted the AMA's primary founding goals of promoting the art and science of medicine and bettering public health noting that heavy initial emphasis was placed on the collection of statistics essential to an epidemiological approach to disease control. Problems stemming from urbanization and the ensuing public health improvements such as food and drug laws, disease immunization programs, and food supplementation and enrichment were included in the discussion. The author also pointed out a common bond between occupational medicine and the private physician in terms of a dedication to clinical advancement including research, the AMA's annual Congress on Occupational Health, public information from the Department of Environmental, Public, and Occupational Health, as well as legislation. New ties between the health care system and the private sector have come about from the health cost problem and include the Voluntary Effort (VE) and the National Commission on the Cost of Medical Care (NCCMC). The VE and the NCCMC were noted by the author as being widely representative of the major institutions in our society including insurer, consumers, organized labor, government, business, and industry. The author concludes that their efforts represent a concerted campaign to voluntarily contain health care costs, an effort which will bring the private and occupational practitioner closer. The support of the AMA or these efforts was indicated.
Occupational Safety and Health Symposia 1979, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 80-139