April 29, 2009
Dear Mr. President
In your evaluation of health care in this country, I would like for you to consider the following:
Providing nationwide insurance to the uninsured will do the following:
- Put money into the insurance company’s pockets (the goal of government responding to the lobbying interests)
- Worsen the health care crisis because we will be pouring more money into the sickness-designed health system we have today.
What is the real answer? We must revamp the entire sickness-based doctor/insurance/pharmaceutical-run system in this country.
- Stop making doctors such as myself, who save the government money and help people heal, criminals.
- Back the bill that requires lifestyle changes to be used as main-line treatment in the physician’s office.
- Reward states that have licensed naturopathic and other alternative-minded physicians and give incentives to states that do not have naturopathic physicians licensed to license them.
- Revamp Medicare/Medicaid laws so that they are no longer anti-physician.
Why should I, a low-cost, healing physician, have the first inkling that the multi-modal management of my patients was being considered fraud when the 20 agents raided my office? Two years of investigation unveiled $65 of overpayments. Was that wise use of taxpayer dollars?
Remove the throat-hold off all patient care that Medicare has. I am practicing again, but even though the Medicare patients can’t find another physician in the area willing to treat them and they are coming to me, they have to pay for their medications now. This is because of my exclusion from the Medicare system. Even my non-Medicare patients suffer because the local hospital will not accept lab orders from me because of my Medicare exclusion. This is harming the self-pay patients, the population of which is rising, but their care will be compromised by the inability to check labs or x-rays. And they have no connection with Medicare or Medicaid. So why is their care being affected? This is punishing the patient, not me. Why should laws be written that oppose healthcare to the poor? These laws need to be reversed.
Another throat-hold that these laws have is the issuance of a DEA certificate. Why should exclusion from the Medicare system prevent a doctor from getting a DEA certificate? Billing issues have nothing to do with the prescribing of controlled drugs. Again, the government is preventing the care of the poor. I am the only physician in the region that is willing to take on the previous (and current) administration’s War Against Doctors for pain management. I paid the price by agreeing to a felony charge based on billing issues. Now that I am back in practice and patients are coming to me because I am willing to treat them, I find out my hands are tied because of this law. End the war against doctors that treat pain. Recognize the fact that those of us that teach lifestyle can actually cure the cause of pain and stop the trend toward drug abuse.
Instead of widening the horrendous costs of conventional medicine to the entire population, thereby worsening the health care crisis in this country, here are some cost-saving suggestions:
- Instead of the battles with doctors trying to get paid by the Medicare system, in the current scheme where the more you do, the more you get paid, think about paying doctors one flat price per year per patient. There are contract examples out there, based on the number of disease processes the patient has. This would save money several ways. Doctors were stop ordering labs just to be in a higher paying E & M code. If they are paid one price for the entire year of care for the patient, it would benefit the doctor to keep the patient healthy. This method would also cut down on the costs involved with evaluating claims and then the usual multiple contacts by doctors that have had their claims denied.
Linda S. Cheek, MD