The Sad State of American Medicine: Why Patients and Practitioners Are Suffering (and how we can fix it)

by Steven Wright

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I’ve written some nasty, awful, and downright mean blog posts…

And deleted them the next day. You’ll never read them.

They came from a place of hurt and pain.

They weren’t going to serve anyone when written from that place. But I haven’t lost the ideas that I want so desperately to share. I just needed to process some of the hurt, pain, and anger, to get to the point where I feel like I can actually share with you what I really want without out all the ego and emotions.

I’m very sad about the current state of medicine. I feel the sadness of the physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and everyone else involved.

And I’ve been the receiver of their sadness transmitted in awful bedside manners, curt explanations, dodging my questions, no regard for my long-term health, downright bad recommendations, never telling me about the side effects, and there was that time I got yelled at.

I’ve received this pain and gotten very angry about it.

And if that’s what had to happen for me to be able to write this message right back to all the people in the health industry… I’d gladly do it all over again.  

The Sad State Of Modern Medicine Goes Deeper Than You or Me

It’s everywhere, the health profession is dying the death of a thousand cuts and being brought to it’s knees. And it seems like no one is even paying attention.

  • America ranks dead LAST vs other countries in the world in healthcare (1, 2)
  • However, America spends more than all the other countries on healthcare
  • America could have a 90,000 – 200,000 doctor shortage by 2025 (3, 4)

Why?

I’m not completely sure… but I hope people start waking up to the reality. Have you ever researched what being a doctor would be like? Sure, many of them still make a great living. But it’s not as glamorous as we might think anymore:

  • 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage you from entering the profession (5)
  • Average student loan debt for physicians is $158,000 – $300,000 (6, 7)
  • Doctors have the 2nd highest suicide rate (8)

For many general practitioners (not specialists or surgeons), they’re seeing a dip in income and it’s not likely to recover. Why? Paperwork and red tape.

Obamacare, Insurance, and Pharmaceutical companies have stolen the control from the one place it needs to be – between the healer and the sick person.

They’ve confused science and art and medicine. Medicine is the combination of art and science. It’s not science only… which is why our “scientific” healthcare system is ranked 41 in the world.

Medicine cannot be ruled ONLY by numbers, formulas, and double-blind studies.

Our current experiment proves this model is only very expensive Sick-Care.

These facts better scare you. If not for you, then for your children.

These facts show a very destructive trend that our society will be forced to correct at some point. I hope we choose to do it instead of having it forced on us.

A Day In the Life Of Today’s Medical Practitioner

Have you ever tried to walk a day in a general practitioner’s life in the modern medical system?

Showing up to work, you know you have a fully-packed day. Every minute is scheduled from the moment you walk into your office or hospital. Your staff is stressed and the paperwork from yesterday still isn’t done.

You’ll be lucky to have a lunch break today.

Patients arrive in pain, sick and upset.

Most expect you to save them in the 15 minutes allotted to each time slot.

They don’t want to pay anymore money than what their insurance company covers and the company says 15 minutes is what you get.

As fast as possible, you try to defuse the strong emotions that surround health pain, you quickly scan their health history, listen to symptoms, and do some physical checks. And now you have 3-5 minutes left.

The patient is staring back at you waiting for a miracle. Your gut tells you you need more time, you need to tell them all kinds of things…

But the insurance industry and malpractice insurance dictates what your next move is… so you push those thoughts deep inside and lock them away.

Instead, you write a prescription or ask them to get further testing. And tell them to come back in a week.

And then you quickly skirt their questions because you know you are already behind for your next patient appointment. You have to go, to be fair to the people in the room next door.

So you walk out, knowing the look on their eyes is saying “wait, but can’t I get more advice?”

Later, after all the patients are gone, you have a mountain of paperwork to do just to cover your @ss so you don’t lose your license or get sued… not to mention you have to do it to get paid.

So you do some, then pack the rest up and take it home – exhausted.

Just another day in the office.

Can you get a sense for why health practitioners of all types are upset, too? Why they are leaving the modern medicine game?

Why Would You Work in The Medical Field?

Simply because you are called to… because it eats you up to not be in it.

There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from giving your gifts. And if you’re like me and believe that not giving these gifts will cause bad consequences, then it becomes an absolute need to do it.

Not to mention, the joy you feel when a person you’re helping achieves the goals they want or gets rid of the pain that’s tormenting them.

The reason to work in the medical field is because you have the desire, the calling and love to do it. But that can all be crushed by the current system. The lack of ability to do what you need to do, to get rewarded for it, and to be respected can easily crush dreams, hopes and desires.

In my head, it shouldn’t be an “either or” situation.

Who’s to Blame?

In the medical system, most of the conversation is about the poor sick people – about our skyrocketing rates of PREVENTABLE disease like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disease. And of course, those of us in the know are mostly focused on what THEY are doing wrong and why they are to blame.

But even more of the conversation is about the health professionals and how they are doing it wrong.

Do they deserve some of it? Hell yes they do! Many of them gave away their responsibility into a system that encourages complacency and stopped taking responsibility for the results they are getting with their patients.

They stopped learning new skills and tools that are needed to help their patients. Not to mention, their demeanor got cold, moody and arrogant. And all of that’s pathetic.

But that’s not the full story… and the practitioners above are not representative of all…

In fact, there’s a much more interesting untold story about the 100,000s (maybe more?) of health practitioners who are caught in the middle… the ones with the big hearts and the desire to serve, but are handcuffed and unrewarded…

The ones who are doing their very best day in and day out. And I believe this to be the MAJORITY of the practitioners.

I see most health professionals as the ones who are ALSO getting the raw end of the deal.

Health professionals in the modern medical system can’t spend the time they want, give the advice they want or care like they want to.

They are caught in systems that force them to behave in certain ways or else they’ll kicked out… or even jailed.

It only makes sense that we have a looming doctor shortage in this country.  It only makes sense that patients are upset.

However, it’s time to stop blaming the other side in each of these cases. Both sides contain loving and caring people trying to do their best.

There’s Another Way…

I believe the solution to the problem is going to come from those of us caught with the raw end of the deal – us patients and health practitioners who are ready for a change.

We both carry responsibility in the problem and different actions are the only way to even begin to change it. Here’s my proposal:

For Patients:

  1. Take responsibility for your health, your problems, and diseases. They can’t actually be fixed without your 100% commitment to owning the state of health you are currently in. Don’t ask to be saved… don’t think you will be saved. No one can save you but yourself.
  2. Don’t buy into the insurance model game anymore. Sure, it’s now illegal to not have it and it’s still a really good idea for all the outrageous medical bills that can happen in life, especially in horrific accidents and life-threatening situations. BUT start saving your money and plan to invest it outside of this game. For instance, reallocate 10% of your income to great food, great supplements, non-insurance covered help like functional medicine practitioners, holistic nutritionists, acupuncture, chiropractic, life coaching, and anything else your body might need and your intuition tells you to try. Like it or not, the insurance game is sick-care only right now, and if you want to actually get better you’re likely to have to pay out of pocket. And mostly because of what I’ve outlined in this post, the best people who can help you… they’ve left the system because they can’t help you like they need to and they aren’t compensated for doing it.
  3. When you’re participating in the modern medical system, be the best you can be. Understand that you’re not the only one upset and understand the rules better so you can get the care you want. Make it easy for the people to serve you by being friendly, kind, having notes ready, and being the most informed patient they’ve seen this year.

For Health Practitioners:

  1. Take responsibility for the level of care and results your patients have been getting. If you know in your heart it’s been sub-par, then own that and begin to carve out 30 mins or more a day to get up to speed on what is working for your patient population. Maybe it’s reading a book about diet, maybe it’s taking some functional medicine classes, maybe it’s reaching out to a college to find out what they’re doing that works. All that matters is that you make this a priority and take small actions until it changes.
  2. Understand that you have a choice to play the insurance model game. No matter what you say about why you have to, I can provide a counterpoint or case study of someone else who didn’t choose it. So if you want to choose it, you can create more time for patients, you can hire better staff, you can choose any number of other business models that allow patients to pay you out of pocket for the great service you want to provide. You can give your gifts and have a lower-stress life and get paid well to do it. And your patients will be better served as well. If you’re still in the insurance game, begin researching other options that are growing around the country.
  3. If you already decided not to play the insurance game fully, DON’T fail at business. It’s risky to be inside the insurance model and it’s risky to be outside of it. The risks are different. Inside the model, your emotions, energy, and spirit are likely to get eaten up. And you’ll likely keep taking forced pay cuts over the next couple years. Outside of the system, you must get ongoing business skills. If you don’t, you will fail. And that’s a massive loss to those of us who need you. Your patients need you and you deserve a rewarding life for the work you do. How do you get business help? Well, one way is to join us for one of our upcoming free webinars, where we’ll teach you how we succeeded in both helping people and creating a great business.

The reality is this modern medical system is like the Titanic. Even if we see icebergs, it’s too big to turn fast enough and avoid them.

So, it’s up to those of us in the system to take control as much as we can.

There’s anger, sadness and shame on both sides of the fence. If the patients and practitioners can get on the same side and choose to help each other or only invest their time and money into those who respect each other… change may come faster than anyone expects.

This is what I’m up to in this world…

Creating world-class resources to empower the patients of the world – to challenge them to take back responsibility and learn everything they can about their bodies and how to be a healthy human…

And creating world-class resources to empower health practitioners and everyone in the health field – to challenge them to have the best healing skills possible and give them the best marketing, business and community I know how.

If you’re a health practitioner, I really want you to join us for one of our upcoming webinars. It will change your life… in ways so good you can’t even imagine (more to come on that).

And if you’re a patient, don’t give up… begin taking action on the 3 steps above.

Whew, this has been a long time coming and I know not everyone agrees with me… so let’s talk about it in the comments below? I’d like to hear what you like or don’t like about these ideas. It’s very important to our work.

-Steve

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah June 4, 2015 at 9:24 pm

See, now I know you’re making stuff up. America dead last? How about Canada? YOU HAVE NO IDEA how bad it is here. We Canadians travel to the US to actually troubleshoot and get treated because we can’t here. The biggest piece of crap totalitarian “health care” system in the world.

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Hey Sarah – click on the links (1 and 2) above you’ll see Canada is ranked ahead of the US in 2 different studies, if you add in the WHO rankings which I didn’t use that makes 3. That being said — I’ve heard over and over that most Canadians are very unhappy with their healthcare. Sorry it’s so bad there too.

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Caryn June 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, Steve, for the time and heart it took to write this important piece. I especially like the advice for patients (though I hate that word). I’ve printed out three copies to put around the house reminding me that I need to step up and prioritize doing what will make me get better.

You are, indeed, creating world class materials. Though the thousands of dollars I’ve spent in the last year and a half on alternative practitioners have had value on other issues, the $40 I invested in your GERD seminar was one of my best moves yet. Combining the phase one supplements with the HCL + Enzymes I was already taking has caused a major reduction in symptoms. Still waiting to make sure the improvement will stick, and if I can heal the underlying problem, but a huge thank you from me!

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Thanks Caryn! I’m so glad you liked it and got value of it.

And thank you for the update about the GERD call, so glad it’s working for you, keep us updated on the progress!

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Lynn June 4, 2015 at 11:29 pm

As I have just recently made my first Functional Med appt, led mostly by internet groups comprised of FM docs and nutritional folks, I’m amazed at how much it is all in line with my own thinking that does not meld well with my medical education as a Family Nurse Practitioner!
There is nothing you have said that I don’t find to be pretty much right on…….now the challenge to find it for myself. I can’t read EVERYTHING, listen to every WEBCAST, and manage my own plethora of disease process, (some caused by the drugs taken for my early disease of CAD, DM.
Yes, I’m keeping that appointment! It’s a long wait to July!
Lynn

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Awesome Lynn! I’m excited for you to go to the new person. You are right you can’t spend you’re whole day trying to learn about health. It sounds like you are already way more educated than 90% of all patients. Just keep that up and keep trying the FM route. Wishing you the best.

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Sarah June 5, 2015 at 12:02 am

Extremely thought-provoking and well-said. It’s so easy to blame a system, a person, or a situation for problems…but it can be a dangerous place if the buck stops there. We need more of these types of discussions to challenge us into more innovative ways of thinking–how to work better within the constraints of the system, but also how to be free of it, if necessary. I think you make a good point by not polarising practicioners and patients as ‘us vs. them’ and instead think in terms of ‘good people, broken processes’. Processes can be fixed, albeit slowly sometimes. But offering solutions and compassion rather than just anger and frustration is the ONLY way forward. Viva la revolution!

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Thanks Sarah! You said it more eloquent than me. We are all in this together, so the faster we all get on the same page and start voting with our dollars and time the changes will come.

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Kat June 5, 2015 at 12:25 am

I don’t have Celiac but I’m gluten sensitive (antibodies are elevated). I had to have around 50 vials of blood drawn, an endoscopy, and a sigmoidoscopy to figure this out. As we all know, they just test and test and guess until they can figure out a quasi solution in their allotted 15 minutes. Do they even know what’s going on and why? Doctors are contradicting themselves, and are extremely dismissive. On top of it ALL, 2 doctors advised I go on Zoloft, a mind numbing pill. No thank you America.. I’m moving back to Canada next year (if I make it out alive)

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Hey Kat, sorry your stuck in the current modern medical system, if you can see if you can get into someone who is into Functional Medicine or Integrative Medicine they will likely get you way more success than you’ve gotten yet. It goes back to my point #2 for patients. The current insurance game system really doesn’t offer much help unless it’s an acute problem (in this case it’s really good).

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rogb June 5, 2015 at 1:54 am

Don’t forget we need
Single Payer, if not
socialized medicine. Medicare for All!
Simpler, fairer, cheaper, BETTER !
Watch Michael Moore’s film
“SICKO”: funny, sad,
and educational.
At least search the web and read up on
Single Payer.
Thanks!

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 2:57 pm

I don’t completely agree with that Rogb. I actually don’t have a full answer yet for the system otherwise I’d be talking bout it, but I like to keep debating it. Which is why I appreciate this comment. Michael Moore is one of the greatest marketers alive right now. His films are NEVER a biased source of info… great for info on one side of the equation and one view point. Just make sure to go to the far other side and read their marketing info too. I respect him but I think it’s best to realize what he does and how he makes money.

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Allison Beattie June 5, 2015 at 2:12 am

Thanks for interesting comments. I agree the financing approach used in American medicine is a large culprit but it’s not obamacare – it’s having a medical system based on corporate profit that favours individual wealth over patient health in a whole number of ways. Your advice about living better, investing outside conventional medicine, being a responsible health care practitioner is really great. But the insurance based system in the US is expensive, favours corporate profits, and erodes the patient-practitioner relationship.

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Thanks Allison, agreed. The system has some MAJOR faults in it. And unfortunately I don’t see it changing anytime soon from the top down. So I think to change it the people inside of it who actually have more power than we realize can begin to do it through our time and money and participation in it.

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Cyndee June 5, 2015 at 5:22 am

Having been a Medical Practice Administrator for 30 years (as well as a patient) I have experienced first hand the decline of our medical system. I am sorry to say that your description of a day in the life of a practitioner is totally accurate! Your article is brilliant!

In addition, it is so very difficult for a patient to navigate this broken health care system.

Physicians as well as patients have allowed the gradual decline of our health care system and it is time we stand up and take it back… for ourselves and for our children!

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Thanks Cyndee for sharing this! I love hearing if I’m on or off. Agreed we need to do this now for us and for our children!

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Tina June 5, 2015 at 6:20 am

I was enjoying your article and agreed with you wholeheartedly until the end. As a physical therapist, I agree it is a sad state for medicine in America. It is truly awful how insurance companies dictate everything. The statement you made about medicine being art and science and how insurance companies are making it just about science really connected with me! it is SO very true.
At our company, the cuts in reimbursement from insurance companies is RIDICULOUS!!! It’s very frustrating when you have to tell a patient “I realize your doctor ordered more physical therapy, but unfortunately the insurance company doesn’t go by your doctors orders; they decide how many sessions you will get!” patients are completely dumbfounded by this, especially the older ones who are used to the era of doctors actually dictating your care, not the insurance companies.
Now where you lost me was in advocating that health professionals stop taking insurance and patients have to pay out of pocket. This infuriates me as a patient! Our family pays $24,000!!!! Out of pocket Per year to have our health insurance! and I should not be unable to see the best doctors bc they don’t take my health insurance. I shouldn’t have to pay additional concierge fees to get good health care and to actually get my doctor to call me back.
Now I realize that doctors have to make a living too and I empathize with their situation but I feel like the answer can’t be let’s charge the patient more. Bc then the insurance companies have won!!! They are getting what they want! There has to be a better way; there has to be a united front against the current state of health care. I’m not sure how this can be done. I feel like the government needs to step up and regulate insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies bc they are unscrupulous and somehow have become our “doctors” and “dictators” of our health which frankly is beyond sad!
I normally NEVER comment on anything but this hits close to home as a health care professional and as a patient!
Thanks for reading!

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Hey Tina – Thank you for this! I love getting the feedback. I do not agree that more gov regulation is a good idea, having worked for the gov in the past they will do nothing but make it worse. Here’s where I’m coming from as far as the insurance system game.

Just like in any market, better people will have more demand and command more money. So the best practitioners will always likely be outside of the insurance game and always have been… it’s just that since Obamacare’s passing and the extra paperwork and lower reimbursement rates, now an even greater percentage of practitioners are not willing to accept that kind of market so they are moving to combos of insurance plus fees or just cash based. And I believe this will keep happening over the next few years. I don’t think anyone should fault them, they should be rewarded for their skills and they would in any other market.

I hate that you spend 24K a year that’s so sad to me. If you took that 24K and put it into out of pocket really good functional medicine practitioners you’d be BLOWN away by the changes that would happen. That’s a lot of money.

There are alternatives to spending that amt of money in the insurance game. Where I see things going is most people carrying catastrophic insurance only and then saving the rest of the money, year after year in a savings account for you and your families health bills. And you’ll likely be spending that cash on cash only practitioners.

I don’t think the total spend always needs to go up, I think there’s ways to play the insurance game less and invest the money in other areas where the returns are much greater. Thank you for stopping to comment when you never do 🙂

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Gloria Bailey June 5, 2015 at 10:00 am

I agree with everything you posted. I am a 2-year RN (AAS-ADN) and would enjoy helping others to wellness. How do I

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Thanks Gloria! Looks like you didn’t finish your question, let me know what it is.

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Jennifer June 5, 2015 at 10:07 am

This is excellent, and instead of just complaining, you are working to do something about it! Over 10 years ago I opted out of health insurance and joined the medical sharing ministry, Samaritan Ministries. The model is amazing, and has paid for my care from functional medicine doctors who don’t accept insurance. Yes, I pay the bill at time of services, then am reimbursed after. This model puts the responsibility in my hands and allows all medical decisions to be between me and my doctor. There are other medical sharing ministries available, and I feel the model should be replicated by any group of people who desire to help share in medical costs (such as a Paleo share group, an engineers, group, etc…). Insurance should only be there for catastrophes, your car insurance doesn’t cover routine maintanence, but does cover smashing up in an accident. When I was younger, before HMO’s health insurance was for catastrophes, breaking your arm, having a hernia operated on, we paid for all routine visits. It worked well, people were more responsible. The entire insurance model of sick care we have in this country needs to go, and healthcare sharing models, paying for functional medicine doctors is the way to go.

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Thanks Jennifer and great job! I just learned about this medical sharing orgs. Doing some research on them now. I love how your’s is working. It’s a shared responsibility with you and them and the practitioners. I believe this is a much better way to do things in health.

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Mandy June 5, 2015 at 11:50 am

Well said. I work in pharmaceuticals and it has taught me to take charge of my own health so I won’t end up like so many others. I am certainly still a work in progress but I no longer believe I have lupus, I believe I have created disease in my body from an unhealthy lifestyle. I utilize my doctor for tests I need and rely on myself for the rest. It’s no one’s fault, but it is a tragic situation.

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Hey Mandy – totally, I don’t want to take away from the pain and tragedy of health issues. They suck while in it. However, my health struggles have become the greatest source of emotional, physical, spiritual and relationship healing… I can’t be more grateful to have travelled the road I have.

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John Gruber, PhD June 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I am appalled at your whining and complaining. Someone making >$500k/yr should not act like this. Obviously the state of health in this country is very poor. But this is the result of a medical system that prioritizes profit over results. Why would anyone take advice from someone who is more interested in $ than in helping patients? Why can’t you work for $100k/yr like the rest of us? All human disease is treatable or preventable by “natural” means. Why can’t the medical establishment teach the fundamentals of medicine? Society obviously needs much better biochemical education. If you want to impact health, this is the way to do it. Not perpetuate the lame standard protocol medicine which has not changed for decades. You will never be able to really help people who do not want to take care of themselves. Let them suffer and educate the rest. And … just perhaps, get more biochemical education yourself.

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Steven Wright June 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Hey John – Sounds like the article trigged your emotions up, which shows me you care. However, you are making up a lot of stories about me without knowing anything about me or my situation. If you have some solutions or want to add some value added to the conversation would love to hear it. I don’t think education of next generation of pracitioners alone is going to change this problem… It is part of it I agree, but it would take 15 years for those changes to even begin to go through the system. That’s way to long and doesn’t work for me. In my head it’s going to be many changes in many areas to really begin to turn the ship around.

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Sofie Johansson June 7, 2015 at 6:47 am

Finally! Thank you so much for being so straightforward with this huge, global problem!!
I am from sweden and we are in the same situation. I am trying very hard to “be my own doctor”, striving to get knowledge about natural healing and diet. Right now I am following american doctors like Tom O’Brien, Amy Myers, Christa Oreccio and others and also a swedish doctor named Stig Bengmark.
I think this is a political problem. Decicions have to be made to prioritize functional medicine and diet as treatment at our regular hospitals I think.
Is there any international kind of organization that deals with this question? It’s a huge problem!

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Lori Jo Berg June 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Hi Sofie, thanks for reaching out and sharing your opinion here. While i am not aware of any specific international organization, I can say that there are many program (Like the practitioner Liberation program from Jordan and Steve) as well as many schools (Like the Institute of Transformational Nutrition) that are doing there part to educate people and help build a better way. We encourage you to continue to educate your self by reading and surrounding your self with the people you have mentioned in your comment.

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Anonymous Fan June 14, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Hello Steve and anyone who reads this:

I am from the Netherlands originally, lived in the US and now in Canada, so I can compare the three health care systems.
First of all, the Dutch system is the best of the three, because it is relatively cheap, efficient and straightforward. Let me give four examples:
1) I go in to see my Dutch family physician. I have about ten/fifteen minutes per visit, if I need more time, I have to book a double appointment. I then go to a building which is much better looking than any American practice I have been into (and I have seen many, unfortunately): modern, stylish and well-equipped. The physician has one assistant. There is no co-payment. Afterwards, I will get one bill, for my own records. The insurance handles the actual payment, I pay nothing. A regular visit was around 40 euros in 2007, the year that we left the Netherlands. In Massachusetts, this was several hundred dollars. There, we would receive tons of bills and a lengthy process of who pays what would start. In the end, an incomprehensible amount of money was going to be our co-payment, which came on top of the one we paid at the counter at the time of the visit. In other words, not only did we pay a (very high) premium to the American insurance, but also a co-payment and then another co-payment after everything was said and done.
2) my daughter had warts which needed to be frozen. In the Netherlands, this is done immediately by the physician. Costs: included in the 40 euros (which the insurance pays). In Massachusetts, the physician charged me $80 per wart on top of the costs for the visit, plus I had to make a new appointment (and take my daughter again out of school).
3) my daughter needed a blood test. In the Netherlands, I will go to a blood clinic, where I pull a number, wait a while, and then go into a small office, where a nurse does the blood work. Total amount of time, waiting time excluded as that may vary: less than ten minutes. No bills afterwards, as everything is handled between the lab and the insurance company. Canada has a similar approach, but has a longer waiting time for results.
In Massachusetts, daughter also needed bloodwork. It took us the whole morning. I counted the number of people involved: fifteen! Afterwards, the usual cascade of bills sprung up.
4) when in the Netherlands, someone is unable to come to the doctor’s practice, the doctor goes to the patient. House visits are common. There is no extra charge.

The main problems in the American health care system, as I observe it, are too much staff and too much risk for litigation. These are the main causes for the spectacular costs involved in a system that is backward compared to what I was used to.
For instance, we heard of a specialist in Florida, who spent about half of her salary on insurance costs against litigation. That is ridiculous. As non-Americans would say: that only happens in America (not meant as a compliment).
A simplified system would mean more efficiency, a drastic reduction of costs and more direct lines of communication between doctors and patients. But it also implies a lot of people without a job. For in the American health care system (and the Canadian, which follows in the footsteps of the American): there are far too many staff workers surrounding the person who does the actual work. A Dutch physician usually has one assistant, that is it. So streamlining the American system to the Dutch model would mean job cuts in a major field of employment. Do you want that?
Thirdly, on a personal level, getting healthy again requires guts, literally and figuratively speaking. Stop watching American television, with its fear mongering and sensational shows. Get real. Then, take responsibility for yourself. Be glad that you found the SCD-website – thank you so much Steve, for being out there on the internet, for you and Jordan have opened my road to healing -, and start acting accordingly. Stop putting decisions about your own health into other people’s hands. Explore what is out on the internet, especially when your doctor tells you not to do so. Do not believe what your doctors tell you if it does not resonate.
Fourthly, regarding the quality of doctors: there are good doctors in a bad system, and there are bad doctors in a good system. Nothing however beats a good doctor in a good system.

Personally, I refused to live in the States anymore, after sickening and costly experiences with its health care system. That is the main reason we left the country and went to Canada. If it had not been Canada, we would have gone back to Europe. But staying in a country where I was not safe health-wise, was no longer an option, even while the job was excellent.
In Canada, the health care is not as streamlined and efficient and modern as it is in the Netherlands, but it is much simpler and better doable than the American. My own doctor is originally from Poland, and she talks common sense. The oncologists I have seen, were slaves to Big Pharma, so useless. A surgeon I saw had a French background, also fine. My osteopath is from Germany and she works miracles. In the Canadian hospitals, there is not the constant frenzy that hangs in the American ones, but a more laidback atmosphere, like in the Netherlands. Difficult to explain what I mean with that, but it has to do with a basic attitude towards illness: is the main goal to heal, or is the main goal to make money?

I hope this helps you and readers getting an idea of what is out there in the world when it comes to health care systems.
I have no personal experience, but have heard some great examples of the French health care. Even though French like to complain about everything and nothing, I get the impression they have one of the best health care systems in the world. Any comments on that?

And I found this in my Canadian newspaper. It focuses on this part of the oath of Hippocrates: “Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient”:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/a-challenge-for-new-doctors-focus-on-the-patient-not-just-the-symptoms/article24859080/

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FRIED to a CRISP September 6, 2015 at 7:49 am

I just can’t do it anymore …. I simply can’t take another day like the ones you’ve described. And, the type of day you described are my GOOD days! Sadly, most of my days at work are even worse than those you highlighted. You forgot to mention the absolutely horrifying effects the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system has upon practice! I have heard than in some places it actually works, but mostly, it has engulfed and impacted medicine like a cancer. It doesn’t work, and is just other failed piece in this equation. The EMRs out there are simply just awful. IT is hardly ever available and seems to have a revolving door of its own, plus, to write a detailed and meaningful note (hopefully the system is up and running) takes a good 15 or more minutes. In order to see a patient how can I research what I need to before the encounter in an EMR system that is slow or down, listen to my patients story, perform a non cursory physical exam, treat the patient the best way I possible know how and then write a detailed, comprehensive medical note in 15 minutes. One simply can’t …. you know it, I know it, patients know it and the entire failing system knows it, yet it has become the modus operandi of primary care. Furthermore, why have all the valuable RNs been replaced my medical assistants, why does it take an hour to get an interpreter, why do these managers and administrators have more of a say on the ways my days unfolds than I do, and why oh why do I wakeup every morning dreading my day ahead and wishing I had gone into veterinary medicine instead!! OK, I am being sarcastic about the vet thing, but I do love medicine, I do, however, I can not bare THE MALIGNANT INDUSTRY; THIS MACHINE, for another day. I GIVE UP ….. they win, yes, THEY WIN. The MBAs, these CEOs and CFOs …. you win, I’m fried. Next I need to figure out a way to open up my own donut shop because is seems like that’s all my degree is worth in the world today!!!

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Mariel Heiss September 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for sharing how you feel!!!

It’s awesome to hear these opinions!

I really recommend you sign up for the webinar at the end of this article to learn what Steve and Jordan did to escape this cycle themselves 🙂

Here’s the link: http://practitionerliberationproject.com/webinar/live/

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