American flag with stethoscope

Watch the Frontline documentary, Divided States of America, to understand how healthcare policy is a war zone where political ideology takes precedence over the needs of the people.

Of all the forms of injustices, inequities are the most damaging to our health, our well-being, and our evolving human consciousness.

This quote above is adapted from Martin Luther King, Jr: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

But equality does not equal equity. Educational, gender, and health equity assures that people have the right resources and the right care to achieve their highest potential of health, well-being, and human development. Equity includes women’s and LGBTQ rights.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement risks collateral healthcare damage to the American people. Let’s enhance the best and improve the rest.

 

Invitation to write an advocacy letter

I was invited by my family doctor organization to write an advocacy letter to my representatives in Charlotte (NC). I re-purposed their suggested points to advocate for universal access to healthcare and health equity. There is no affordable healthcare for all people without primary care.

Dear Sen Richard Burr (R), Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and Rep. Alma Adams (D),

As your constituent and a family doctor advocate for health equity, I urge you to support primary care medicine education programs to serve all people, especially in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and in rural areas.

We must build up our primary healthcare system and workforce to assure universal access to healthcare and health equity.

Health equity calls for radical innovations in our healthcare policies in order to serve the healthcare needs of all the people.

If every patient had access to a family doctor, we could reduce costs, increase quality, and provide value-based care to all. We must make primary care the foundation of our healthcare system.

As Congress makes healthcare reform, I urge you to greatly expand the vitally important roles of primary care clinical services, education, and research programs that are contained in the ACA.

1. Expand teaching health centers

  • Increase award grants to fund teaching health centers and community-based ambulatory patient care centers in order to expand primary care residency training in community-based ambulatory settings.

2. Re-authorize Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement of the PHS Act

  • Support the role of the Patient-Centered Medical Home to assure universal access to healthcare and health equity.

3. Establish a primary care extension program through the AHRQ

Enable primary care to:

  • Implement, disseminate, and evaluate best evidence-based practices
  • Develop translational science services to organize the health system to meet specific patient and population needs
  • Engage patients, communities, and practices to improve community health

4. Redesign Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) to:

  • Greatly increase the number of primary care physicians, especially in underserved areas.

5. Authorize the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCORI) trust fund

  • Improve patient care and outcomes through patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research.

I urge you to write to your representatives.


This was first published on LinkedIn on 01/20/17. It has been republished here with the author’s permission.

1 COMMENT

  1. What is the reasoning for a one size fits all health care bill? While we try to please everybody we are allowing people to die. Why not realize that our population comes in at least three different segments and take care of those segments differently? For example, the segment of the population that is children with family in our education system, (elementary, JH, and HS). I was a teacher and saw that every school has a nurses office, often quite under utilized. It would be very easy to provide doctors (who want to pay down their student loans) on a daily basis, lowering their student loans as much as they would make each day in a regular office. They would staff the school office and manage the entire family’s health care. Then you have the younger people 18-40, who could buy just exactly what they wanted from a list of services offered. Offer different women and men’s policies. The older generation which is getting larger and larger as baby boomers retire, could be offered Catastrophic Care policies to those who were basically healthy. And for those who have multiple health challenges, give them their own policies which would not ration care by making them wait in line with the general population. Those policies could focus on lifestyle changes which could help, increasing home care services to those who would be happier in their own homes, increasing meals on wheels, visiting nurses and doctors who worked in concert to make sure the patient is not lost in the multiple specialists systems. Geriatric nurse practitioner and LVN programs could be expanded to meet the need.. And, encourage Insurance HMO’s to expand Urgent care clinics in every town, especially rural areas. If someone had a catastrophic accident, encourage accident ins. policies for everyone by making them inexpensive. That would cover most of the population, without costing everyone an arm and a leg. And would encourage insurance companies to compete for people again, by offering different plans to different populations. Also, get rid of the donut hole in pharmacy policies, and really work on making pharmaceutical companies prove their costs for various pills. A government sponsored grant program could be utilized for research into new drugs which would (possibly?) lower the cost for drugs for everyone. This is what I would do if I were a Congress person.

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