July 21, 2009
We are all hearing alot of hubbub about healthcare reform.
This is too important a topic, so let me speak on this subject for just a moment.
First a little background. I grew up in my father's medical office, back in the 70's when an office visit was $8 and when you paid your bill, you left with a smile and a lollypop. I watched these interactions with patient's. I saw trust and confidence that the doctor-patient interaction was always all about the patient. There were no third party intermediaries.
Fast-forward to 2009. The healthcare system has changed. Some have said the sytem has been stolen by special interests. Physicians and hospitals, in agreeing to work with government and private insurance plans, have all but given up control of the healthcare system. When in the 70's, medical decisions were made by the doctor and the patient, now these decisions need to go through bureaucratic entanglements that place your medical care outside the scope of your physcian. The doctor-patient interaction has now become the doctor-insurer-bureaucrat-actuary-patient interaction.
If you need an MRI, it is no longer as simple as getting a doctor's prescription, making the appointment and getting it done. Now, the MRI "request" has to be pre-authorized by your insurance plan. You can not make the appointment until this pre-authorization has occured. This pre-authorization is just one set of guidelines that slow down the acquisition of care, and in many cases deny it altogether. Your insurance plan is not examining you, yet is somehow is able to deny you care your doctor wants you to have!
If you need a prescription medication that is not generic, most likely it will not be "On Formulary". This means that you have no coverage for this medication and your insurer will offer to switch to a cheaper drug, all to save money for the insurance plan. What if using an alternative insurance approved medicine does not work, and you end up worse, or even needing hospitalization? Saving money is wonderful, if it is effective and in the best interests of each individual patient. But these rules are not for patient's benefit, but for the benefit of the power holding the dollar, in this case, the insurance plan.
Insurance companies AND government regulators are playing doctor with your health. They have power and control over how your healthcare dollar is spent. Your insurer's goal is to make a profit off of your insurance premiums and to spend as little as possible, even if it means delaying or denying care. The government's goal is to spend as little as possible and meddle in your healthcare decisions to attain that objective. Now, I have no problem with saving money. There is a lot of waste in healthcare. But this waste began when the third parties, the government and health insurers inserted themselves into the medical decision making process. If our system is ever to change for the better, we need these third parties out of our exam rooms. We need health insurance to once again be insurance, that covers large bills, or catastrophic costs, so medical illness will never cause one to lose their home. We do not need them in our exam rooms telling doctors and patient's what tests to run or what treatment to prescribe.
The supermajority of doctor's are for reform of the present system. We want to get back to where decisions are made solely between doctor's and patient's. While I can not speak for all doctor's, I can speak for myself. In fact I did it with my pen and my feet 2 years ago, when I terminated my contracts with insurers, and founded The Institute For Medical Wellness. This was the only way I knew to be able to work solely for you, without any third party intruder. Many more doctor's are now starting to follow my lead.
You may have heard that the AMA (American Medical Association) has given their support to the present healthcare bill going through committees in Congress. Let me make it known that I have never been a member of the AMA, and I do NOT support the present bills. These bills give more power to bureaucrats, and less to patients and doctors and will only make the system worse and more costly. The AMA, unfortunately, is a political organization, that does not necessarily represent doctor's, but actually represents it's own corporation. The AMA makes millions of dollars selling and licensing medical coding books to sell to doctor's and hospitals. These coding books contribute to the massive overhead of the present third party system. So any reformed system that continues this coding system, will benefit the AMA's corporation, thus their apparent support of the present reforms being debated. Physician's have finally wised up and are quitting the AMA in droves. A recent poll on Sermo, a doctor's only website, has over 94% of physicians against the present healthcare reform package. So when you hear in the media that doctors are for the present reform package, it is untrue. The AMA does not speak for nor represent physicians.
If healthcare reform is to work, patient's and physicians must unite. If healthcare reform is to work, the power of the healthcare dollar needs to be returned to individuals. Health insurance must once again be insurance, and not healthplans with thousands of strings attached. Patient's must have choices in insurance and physicians. Third party involvement in the exam room must end! Unfortunately, the present reform bills want the opposite, less patient choice, more third party bureaucracy, and decreased patient-physician autonomy. Too much power of the healthcare dollar in the hands of any third party, whether it be an insurer or government agency will harm our system beyond repair.
There is a better way, and it is why in 2008 I started The Institute For Medical Wellness. We act as your personal health advocate, not that of your insurance company. You receive personalized, individualized care without regards to any third party. We are an independent practice committed to offering the absolute best care- without compromise.
Now to get off my soapbox, I would like to announce a new offer at The Institute For Medical Wellness. As many of you already know, Julie Fischer has been providing therapeutic massage services for the past few months. She would like to extend a special birthday offer. A one hour massage is regularly $70. But during your birthday month, you can receive this 1 hour massage for only $45. We are confident that once you have tried Julie's massage, you will come back for more.
I would also like to remind you of our new Wellness Plans, which may include holistic, nutritional, and heart healthy options. They can be found here.
To Good Health!
Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057