Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Doctors We Trust

In Doctors We Trust

“While surgical patients spend an average of just one hour researching their surgical procedure or their surgeon, they spend significantly more time researching any of the following:

  • Changing jobs (10 hours)
  • Buying/leasing a new car (8 hours)
  • Buying a big ticket item for their home > $1,000 (5 hours)
  • Planning a vacation > $1,000 (4hours)”

Does this reflect:

1. an extraordinary degree blind trust that patients automatically place in doctors?

2. a high degree of difficulty and overwhelming obstacles to access and process the necessary information to accurately assess doctors?

3. unquestioning deference and resignation, on the part of the patient, to the dictates of insurance and the HMO?

4. discomfort, on the part of the patient, in judging a professional such as a doctor?

5. a form of denial and ignorance about their own health, on the part of the patient, creating an 'I don’t want to know, just fix me’ attitude?

6. poor doctor /patient communications creating patient fear and intimidation?

Whatever the cause, it is a sad commentary on our priorities.

We have abdicated our personal responsibility for our health, the most important possession we own, to doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and Big Pharma.

Is it really any wonder why we are so sick?

In a NY Times article: Do Patients Trust Doctors Too Much Dr. Thomas Russell, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, said: “Today, medicine and surgery are really team sports and the patient, as the ultimate decision maker, is the most important member of the team.”

The article’s author, Pauline Chen, MD, concludes: “a healthy doctor-patient relationship does not simply entail good bedside manners and responsible office management on the part of the doctor. It also requires that patients come to the relationship educated about their doctors, their illnesses and their treatment.”

(Note: the comment thread at the end of the NYTimes article, on-line, are fascinating and worth reading)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008



President-elect Obama has picked former Senator Tom Daschle as the new head of Health & Human Services. Daschle has put out a call for town-hall type meetings across the country to hear from anyone and everyone who may have ideas to help solve the health crisis in America.

From the Obama website:

Sign up to lead a health care discussion over the holidays

Health care is a top priority for President-elect Obama and for Senator Tom Daschle, Secretary-designate for Health and Human Services (HHS). They both are committed to health care reform that comes from the ground up -- that's why this holiday season, we're asking you to give us the gift of your ideas and input.

Sign up to lead a Health Care Community Discussion in your home, community center, or even a local coffee shop, anytime until December 31st.

We'll provide you with a special Moderator's Guide that will give you everything you need to get the discussion going. Secretary-designate Tom Daschle will even choose some discussions to attend in person.

Anyone interested?
I have called State Senator Ben Downings office. They were quasi committed, based on our local efforts. If we heed the call, maybe we can make a difference.


Friday, December 19, 2008

The GIFT of Health

The GIFT of Health

This is the time of year many people make resolutions and set goals for the coming year. Improved health is often at the top of the list.

Gym memberships routinely soar and diets change this time of year with the best of intentions. But by March, most of those memberships are no longer used and most people have relapsed back into their old eating habits. “There’s always next year.”

How many times have you said that you were going to lose weight, exercise more and eat better? "There's always next year."

What are you waiting for? To weigh more than you do now? To feel worse than you do now? Another diagnosis, more drugs or treatments? Next year?

Health is really quite simple and elegant.

Your body is genetically programmed for health. More precisely, it is genetically programmed for survival by maintaining homeostasis (balance), and adapting to chemical, physical and emotional stressors that challenge that balance.

The simple truth is: your body has certain specific genetic requirements to be healthy. If those requirements are met, in pure and sufficient quantity, and, if you stop poisoning yourself with toxic foods and chemicals, improved health is inevitable

The corollary to this is: the only thing that ever heals you, is you.

When you know and understand these truths, your life will change.

Health is mostly a matter of choice; how you choose to live your life; how you choose to think, what you choose to eat and how much exercise you choose to get; as strongly influenced, for better or worse, by the habits of the people you hang out with most, your family and friends.

It is all about making a solid commitment to yourself, to create good health by developing and consistently maintaining healthy habits.

There is no more magnificent or awe-inspiring creation and miracle than the human mind-body. There is no greater gift than your life and your health. Treat your body like the holiest and most sacred of temples, with the awe and respect it deserves, and it will serve you well.

Happy Holidays and good health in all your years!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is HEALTH Medically Necessary?

Is HEALTH Medically Necessary?

CIGNA HealthCare: Definition of Medical Necessity for Physicians:

Medically Necessary or Medical Necessity shall mean health care services that a Physician, exercising prudent clinical judgment, would provide to a patient for the purpose of evaluating, diagnosing or treating an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms.”

Ergo, health is not medically necessary and, as such, health is not covered by insurance.

Insurance only pays for the ‘evaluation or treating of an illness, injury, disease or its symptoms’…by definition, the absence of health.

Therefore, if you want to ensure your health you will have to 'step outside of’ your insurance coverage and invest in your health.

But, you protest, they call it health insurance!

“Ay, there’s the rub…and, if I may, the lack of respect, “that makes calamity of so long life*.”

…the calamity too often being, a life of marginal health; chasing too many symptoms with many more drugs.

So, let’s remove insurance (‘the rub’) from the equation and rephrase the question.

Is YOUR health medically necessary to you?

I’ll wager you said yes.

Do YOU budget for your health as a ‘medically necessary personal health care expense?

Do you have a budget, in your daily life, for things that maintain and improve your health?

…budgeting for: better quality foods, omega 3 fish oils and probiotics, a gym and/or yoga membership, motivational or guided relaxation tapes, ongoing education, a good chair, bed and pillow, a good pair of work shoes and sneakers with custom orthotics, and wellness visits for chiropractic wellness care and health coaching, etc.

Anything less is to take your health for granted while it deteriorates into a ‘medically necessary’ event.

Good health requires maintenance, which, in turn, requires an investment of your time, energy and money. The reward, the return on your investment, is YOUR HEALTH


*…to die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life…

Shakespeare’s Hamlet

See related blog entries:

The Rectification of Names: 10-13-2008
What's In A Word: 10-16-2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Waiting for the Bailout


This financial meltdown we are in is no surprise. Yet, most of us, including many financial ‘experts’ and politicians, say they never saw it coming.

Who could ever have predicted that giving a $ 720,000 mortgage loan to a California field worker earning $14,000/year would be problematic? Multiply that times tens of thousands of similar sub-prime mortgages with greedy banks packaging and reselling worthless loans to speculators, also blinded by greed, and who could possibly have ever predicted the looming financial disaster?

Now, everyone sits on the edge of their seat questioning if, and hoping that, a bailout will save the day. Nothing less than an economic financial hail-Mary! Forget Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen, where is Doug Flutie when you need him?

I can hear you say, “I thought this was a health blog!”

Indeed, it is; for the most part.

So, is your health a looming disaster like our economy?

Are you feeding yourself sub-prime foods and re-packaging yourself with cosmetics and trendy clothes while you sit on the couch watching hours and hours of TV?

Are you popping more and more pills to quiet your body’s life-saving distress signals of progressive system failures; pills to ‘control’ cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, anxiety, depression, indigestion, infertility, ‘erectile dysfunction’, 'restless leg', etc.

These drugs are nothing more than ‘toxic loans of health.’ They may stave off symptoms and buy you some time, but they will never create health.

Are you sitting by and watching your health disappear along with your 401K? And, when disease hits, will you say you never saw it coming?

Your health, like our economy, is a continuum. If it is not improving, it is only getting worse.

Have you invested wisely in your health and will you do so in your future?

If not, you may be looking for a medical bailout or hail-Mary as your only and last resort.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vaccines: Profit vs. Medical Necessity

This is an interesting and revealing article I found on Yahoo.

Some doctors may give up vaccines because of cost.

"About one in 10 doctors who vaccinate privately insured children are considering dropping that service largely because they are losing money when they do it, according to a new survey.

A second survey revealed startling differences between what doctors pay for vaccines and what private health insurers reimburse: For example, one in 10 doctors lost money on one recommended infant vaccine, but others made almost $40 per dose on the same shot."


While I truly understand that a medical practice is a business and needs to profit to succeed, eliminating vaccines because they are not profitable raises serious questions about the medical necessity of many, if not most, vaccines.

Any medical procedure or drug that is not medically necessary is ONLY potentially dangerous.

Note: See my related blog entries:

August 21, 2008: NYTimes article: Drug Makers' Push Leads to Cancer Vaccine's Fast Rise.

August 22, 2008: Who Guards Against Gardasil

November 2, 2008: It's Flu Season! Or, is it?