Dr. Stephen Kiteck seems an odd fit for the world of cable television news.
It’s an arena of talking heads which often seem in a competition to see who can shout the loudest, yet Kiteck seems soft-spoken, even-tempered. Professorial, even.
Yet there he was on Tuesday, speaking to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on the TV — perhaps the most unlikely candidate to be thrust into the middle of a hot-button national debate over health care reform.
“We were kind of shocked, ourselves,” said Kiteck on Wednesday. “The last 24 hours, we’ve gotten an unbelievable number of calls.”
Kiteck is a longtime general practitioner in Somerset, part of the local medical community for the last 35 years. He’s developed a sizable and devoted client base — about 4,000 active patients — and is known for an honest, straight-forward approach to medicine that might have seemed just as appropriate 50 years ago as it does today.
Part of that is seen in the way he keeps track of his patients and their information — the old-fashioned, decidedly low-tech way.
“I have paper office records that I write on,” he said, adding that he does dictations and uses prescription pads.
Unfortunately for Kiteck, that approach isn’t compatible with the demands the government has placed on him in the form of policy changes. Specifically, Kiteck has pointed blame toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — more commonly known as “Obamacare,” after the sitting U.S. president who pushed for the legislation.
Kiteck says that the new rules require that he keep records electronically, on the computer.
Given that Kiteck runs a small business — only three people are on staff — the task of converting all of those paper files seems Herculean.
“Some of those patient records are two inches thick,” said Kiteck. “All the paperwork would have to be scanned. It would take thousands of man-hours — or woman-hours — to scan all those in. They would have to work weekends, overtime, things like that. It’s just unacceptable to have to do it.”