Sep 11, 2019
Serving the poor in health care is a mission that many enter
medicine to do. Whether that is through medical missions, working
free clinics, or in some other way - doctors are doing what they
can to help the poor receive care. Some choose to work in
underserved regions of the country both urban and rural that are
paid in part by the federal government. These clinics are called
federally qualified health centers. The question we must ask is if
these clinics are the best way to serve the poor.
What are they like?
To find out more I spoke with Dr. Rebekah Bernard. She is a
family medicine doctor who was motivated to go into medicine to
help the poor. Naturally, she felt that these health centers would
be a great opportunity for her to help those less fortunate.
Unfortunately, she found that these health centers were more
concerned with moving patients through the system and capturing
charges than they were about serving the poor.
That is not unusual in today's medicine. It is because these
centers, although nonprofit, function the same way any corporate
business does except that they receive more money from the
government than they do insurance companies. Ultimately, they run
using the same metrics of vague patient satisfaction scores,
ordering tests, and referring patients to specialists within the
A Way Out
Although Dr. Bernard was successful in getting through the
bureaucratic maze of rules and regulations in the government
center, she wanted something else. She then left for private
medicine where she was again an employee in a corporation and again
felt like just a cog and unable to care for people the way she
thought best. That is when she opened her own DPC clinic and hasn't
Through her own clinic, she can now see the same patients she
saw at the "free clinic" which is more affordable for them, more
enjoyable for her, and provides superior service and quality.
Everyone wins. Those experiences have led her to the conclusion
that a government run system would not be beneficial because it
snuffs out innovation and better ways to care for patients.
Along the way Dr. Bernard wrote two books on how to be
successful as a doctor and spends time speaking as well. She also
serves as a life coach/wellness coach for physicians.
Dr. Rebekah Bernard is the author
of two books and is a family medicine physician at Gulf Coast
Direct Primary Care in Ft. Myers, FL.
Dr. Bernard's personal website where you can find her books,
writings, and ways to contact her for speaking.
The article we discussed about Dr. Bernard's time at a federally
qualified health center and its failure to properly service the
poor can be found
Guidestar.org: This is the
website where Dr. Bernard mentioned you can look up not-for-profit
organization's finances and the salaries they pay. This includes
the federally qualified health centers and other nonprofit hospital
Episode 053: Dr.
Jack Cochran was the past CEO of the Kaiser Permanente medical
group and he agreed that DPC would be a great benefit to the poor
if they could access it.
YouTube for Paradocs:
Here you can watch the video of my late son singing his solo on the
Paradocs YouTube page.
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