Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Change for our Healthcare system, but what kind?

I read an interesting article today written by a senator from Oklahoma who also happens to be a physician. From his position he can see the two disparaging ends of our present healthcare debate, government versus private control. You can read his article at http://www.nysun.com/article/72610.

I am a strong proponent of an individuals rights, especially when it comes to choices in healthcare. This is one of the driving forces behind my practice transition.

Many of my patients have asked why I took this "risk" of change.

Let me state a few of the reasons:

Health insurers intrusion into patient care- The past few years has seen more and more power given to the health insurers to delay or deny needed medical care. Health insurers are for profit companies. They make profits by NOT spending on your healthcare. That puts the doctor at a disadvantage when trying to help you access the care you need.

Increased Overhead- Insurance rules and regulations add enormously to business overhead driving up the cost of providing you healthcare. All of these regulations would take my office staff hours each day, and take them away from helping you. Let me list a few of these onerous burdens which I consider nonsensical to your care:
  • Insurance Referrals

  • pre-certifications

  • pre-authorizations

  • Medication formularies

  • Pay for performance

All of these regulations are added by insurers to make it difficult to obtain necessary care and more importantly to increase the profits for insurers. By removing these regulations, my office has more time to spend with you and for you! I want and need to spend more time with you and less with paperwork. This enables a more open discussion of your problems and helps with better treatment plans. Would you rather spend 8 minutes with your physician or 20 minutes?

That brings me to costs. Healthcare does not have to cost a lot. My fees are listed for all to see, so there will be no sticker shock. Ask a doctor who participates with an insurance company to tell you their true fees. They probably do not even know! And almost all my present patients still have health insurance to cover their big ticket costs such as hospitalization and emergency care.

So far this year, there has been no health insurer intrusion into my patients care, my practice overhead has dropped considerably, we spend more time with patients, we have many available and affordable payment options, and fees are known upfront. We are also able to stress wellness and preventive care and advise of lifestyle modifications to prevent further illness. All the positives in a medical practice that gives choice and price transparency to patients.

I agree that change is needed in our healthcare system. The change I forsee is to a system that provides affordable access, high quality and innovative care, and rewards prevention. This can be best accomplished with freedom and choice, transparency of costs, and where patients are once again put back in charge of their healthcare dollar.

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Founder Institute for Medical Wellness

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