“Just give the patient the money and get out of the way,” says Michael Ainslie, MD. In this sentiment lies the key to achieving maximum value from the United States’ medical and mental health care systems. What does it mean?
Dave Racer, MLitt
Editor and Publisher
This book is about passionate physicians and patients, a powerful professional partnership that produces value in medical care.
Dr. Lee Beecher believes that success from providing medical and mental health care starts with patients who are passionate about caring for themselves. As such, these patients seek a professional relationship with a physician who is passionate about serving the patient’s best interest.
The passionate patient idea, however, goes beyond an individual eating healthier, exercising, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress. Dr. Beecher’s practice experience taught him that a patient gains the most from a physician encounter when the patient has “skin in the game.” That is when the patient is fully invested in improving his or her own health, including being aware of the price of care, and engaging in the process of paying the bills.
The passionate physician, Dr. Beecher sees, is the one who not only recognizes that the patient is his purpose for practicing, but has his own “skin in the game” – when the physician manages his own practice and is responsible to meet its financial obligations. Managed care, however, in its many iterations can rob the patient and physician of the powerful dynamic of making financial decisions about medical care.
As the delivery of medical care has, during the past five decades, become captive of top-down management systems, it has slowly stolen the freedom in which the passionate physician wishes to practice. Too often, the physician is unaware of managed care’s slow creep in undermining her authority to practice as she believes until the day she finally burns out. At this point, she must make a decision – be employed by and take orders from the system, leave the profession, or venture out and invest her funds, time, and expertise in a direct-pay independent practice.
Just as odorless, colorless, carbon monoxide gas seeps into a coal mine and takes the life of an unassuming canary, so too does the increasingly influential role of medical administrators and government planners sap the creative oxygen of a physician who is passionate for his patients. Too often, and increasingly so, this results in physician burnout.
In Dr. Beecher’s psychiatric practice, he openly and honestly confronted a patient’s destructive and disruptive behaviors and helped her find a way toward living a more fulfilling and orderly life. This book, likewise, presents an open and honest discussion about the destructive and disruptive behaviors that threaten the delivery of valuable medical care to patients.
Dr. Beecher is passionate about human beings. He believes that no one deserves to be discarded. He is, likewise, is passionate about ensuring that in the United States, patients who are passionate about improving their own care will always be able to find physicians willing to help them do so.
A patient who is passionate about his life and is willing to assert control over his medical care is not only capable of making decisions about his care: a successful outcome depends on it. The system should support patients by giving them control over and holding them responsible for their care. This is Dr. Beecher’s message.
– Dave Racer, MLitt
Editor and Publisher