As I have stated in previous posts, our healthcare system is dominated by what I term the Big Three: Insurance Companies, Pharmaceuticals, Hospitals. As with most communication, and by the fact that I am passionate about the need to re-vamp our healthcare approach, I may have sounded a little too strongly at how the system being dominated by the Big Three with focus on profits has a potentially adverse affect on the health of our country.
There is no question that the Three developed as the needs of our population arose. Our Democracy is based on an capitalistic foundation. Thus it would follow that pursuing profits would be an inherent part of any business. We, as a country, also put great stock in the Scientific Community. Thus it would follow that pursuing new means of coming up with cures would play a dominant factor in medicine.
However, as with any pursuit or endeavor in life, when the focus leans too much in one direction, it can have adverse affects on the opposite side and I do believe that at this stage, the focus of the Big Three has veered too much on the profits and finances, ultimately undermining the service side of their work. If a doctor is required to bring X amount of $s into the “firm” and the only way that can happen is by seeing X amount of patients in a given day and/or suggesting so many procedures or specialty visits, then the patient and his/her health is affected (not to mention the doctor’s, whose life has the added stress of having to bring in so much money). Nowadays, often, young people go into the field of medicine because it assures a good living. Even if a young person has gone into the field for idealistic reasons, ie, helping those in need, the demands of the system and the focus on the money side of things will quickly overwhelm the original intent of the young person going into the field.
When my grandfather practiced medicine, he was a General Practitioner. He was the one that people went to if they had a tummy ache, or a toothache, or a wart, or were about to give birth. If his patients didn’t have the money to pay, he might receive a side of ham instead. If he did not have an answer, he would suggest a visit to someone who might have a more specialized background. Litigation against doctors did not exist back then. As far as I know, my grandfather never lost a patient on an operating table. But people were much more accepting that death COULD be an outcome.
So the times they have changed. But just as they have changed into this extreme scenario in which it is now considered natural to try everything that is being offered (regardless of statistics that may help families recognize that there is very little chance for survival) or the prescribing of pills as the primary solution to chronic problems rather than exercise and nutrition, maybe now is the time to re-focus our attention on the promotion of health, rather than playing catch up to ill-health and permit change to again occur. (In fact, I believe the ability to change and see things in new ways is one of the elements that makes our country so great).
This, then, is the basis of my passionate writing on this subject. Thus, just as I make the point that it is time for our system to moderate itself, I, too, plan to moderate my writings on the subject.
© Yvonne Behrens, M.Ed 2013