Americans have been honoring doctors on March 30th since the first celebration took place in 1933. It’s a day for all of us to voice our appreciation for their arduous education, tireless work, and life-saving care.

Doctors have played a central role in advancing society from ancient times. In our own era, we owe our high quality of life to the work of doctors. From cures and treatments for countless endemic diseases to the latest biopharmaceutical breakthroughs promising a better future—doctors make this happen.

But this March 30th brings more than appreciation. There is growing confusion about who a “doctor” is. When you seek care, chances are your practitioner isn’t a physician.

Medicine is gradually, insidiously becoming corporatized and commoditized. Corporate hospital systems and insurers have been replacing physicians with less-trained clinical staff for years. The nurse practitioner or physician assistant who examines you, diagnoses you, and prescribes your treatment might resemble a doctor and even use the title—but isn’t a physician.

At Physicians for Patient Protection, we focus on one mission: making sure that Americans who need medical care can be assured safe, quality care, overseen by a highly-trained, licensed physician. We want to dispel the confusion about who your doctor is.

This Doctors’ Day, we thank physicians. And we call for clarity and transparency. Take time today to recognize:

  • America needs more doctors. We need more physicians. This will reverse the corporate trend that compromises care in favor of higher profits.
  • Our country needs more residency opportunities! It is essential to creating career paths for physicians and giving Americans expanded access to skilled medical care.

Send an email or a social media “thank you” to your favorite physician today. Their dedication, sacrifice, and charity make our communities thrive. Red carnations are the flower many people wear to celebrate Doctor’s Day. The next time you’re seeking healthcare, ask your practitioner: “are you a physician?” And remember: there are significant differences in the education and training of a physician versus other healthcare practitioners.