Healthcare Must Include Wellness 

 January 4, 2012

By  Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Mechanicsville, Virginia — At Stover Chiropractic we are uncertain just how much or if Obamacare legislation will impact our healthcare delivery or ability to take advantage of it.  But most people would certainly want it to actually help us improve our health.  In other words we don’t want just sicka are care and symptom treatment.  Novel idea right?

It is also well known that a way to decrease cost for medical care is to actually spend a little money on prevention and wellness to avoid costly medications and surgeries. It is refreshing to hear folks from all over the spectrum talk like this. The following article is about this very issue.  The stats are very eye opening and Mr. Keeley is on the right track.  The only place I disagree or might add a caution is he thinks more primary care doctors are needed to provide the wellness and preventive care the public needs.  It seems to the average PCP is very pharmiceutically minded (symptom supression and disease care) because that is how they are trained.  It will not do much good for the health of patients toincreased the number of medical doctors in thefield unless they get trained differentl.  Legislators and policy makers should look more closely at physicians who by design focus more on prevention and healthcare, not just disease care and end-stage pathology.  For example, chiropractors, naturopaths, and some forward thinkers that specialize within western medicine.  So enough of my commentary, here’s the article.

Primary Care and Wellness Programs Are Must Haves For Healthy Future

BY BRIAN E. KEELEY    baptisthealth.net

The most important mission of hospitals and healthcare providers in today’s world must be to promote wellness, primary care and preventive medicine, not simply take care of the sick after the fact. This seeming oxymoron is at the core of cutting-edge thinking in healthcare: Invest in primary care programs, primary care physicians (or PCPs), wellness initiatives and healthy lifestyles.  Today’s medical practices have led to medical inflation in the United States at twice the average for the rest of the developed world. We have the highest per capita healthcare costs and highest portion of any country’s Gross Domestic Product devoted to healthcare, and 30 percent of our local population is now uninsured. Primary care, with its emphasis on prevention and early intervention, can save millions of dollars by avoiding costly (and unnecessary) emergency room visits and hospital admissions. It also is the very best approach to treating the uninsured and less fortunate.

We need more primary care physicians and free clinics in underserved areas. Few primary care physicians sign up for Medicaid due to low reimbursement; therefore, we also need to recruit nurse practitioners to fill this void.  Healthcare in America today is fragmented, uncoordinated and costly, due to a number of structural reasons. One key factor is the national shortage of primary care doctors. For a variety of reasons — financial, quality of life, prestige — more doctors in training seek to become specialists while the number of primary care physicians continues to dwindle. Many people in South Florida do not have a personal physician; rather, they have four or five specialists they visit with little time for coordination among them. Recognizing this, Baptist Health South Florida established an academic affiliation between our new West Kendall Baptist Hospital and Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. This new teaching hospital is a training ground for primary care physicians, with the goal of educating — and keeping — more state-of-the-art skilled PCPs in South Florida.While this affiliation is new, Baptist Health’s commitment to prevention and wellness has a long and productive history.

As South Florida’s largest private employer, we recognized long ago our duty to lead the way. In 2001 we created our Wellness Advantage program for employees as part of our goal to have the healthiest workforce in America. This has grown over the years into a major community health initiative, with hundreds of free educational programs on healthy lifestyles, health screenings and health advisers. The wellness initiative was designed to empower people to take charge of their lifestyle for the prevention and early detection of disease. Providing primary care alternatives and outpatient diagnostic centers that are accessible to the population helps keep down emergency room visits and other healthcare costs.  As part of our not-for-profit and faith-based mission, Baptist Health provides more than $200 million annually for charity care and community benefit, including millions to support seven free clinics devoted to primary care, millions more in free diagnostic services and millions in screenings, educational programs and wellness initiatives. These clinics allow patients to be treated in the most cost-effective and appropriate fashion and provide relief to all local hospitals, private and public, by caring for these patients before their conditions become acute, thus avoiding expensive hospitalizations.

As the demographic tsunami approaches and more baby boomers turn 65, we should all embrace wellness and primary care initiatives and the need for primary care physicians to care for all of us, especially those who are approaching their senior years.With ever more sophisticated diagnostic, treatment and surgical techniques and medical specializations, we seem to have lost sight of the basics: eating well, exercising, not smoking and maintaining our weight.  Wellness and primary care programs focus on these essentials and help prevent such chronic diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

One of the key tenets of the healthcare reform movement is to change our dysfunctional system by establishing “medical homes” staffed by primary care physicians. Augmented by a support staff of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nutritionists, as well as electronic medical records, these primary care centers of the future will be the citadels of collaboration and, more importantly, coordination. Studies show that 20 to 30 percent of acute hospital admissions can be avoided by such an approach. The key element is primary care physicians who are trained in the most advanced methods of prevention, wellness and early intervention, with a holistic or patient-centered view of care. Increasingly and appropriately, our health and our future will be in their hands.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/31/2567323/primary-care-wellness-programs.html#storylink=cp

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Dr. Stover grew up in Richmond. He has been married to his wife Andrea since 2000 and they make their home in Mechanicsville with their children, Avery and Garnett.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

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