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The Paradocs Podcast

The Paradocs is a fun and lively discussion with a couple of docs on the practice of medicine. Occasionally serious, usually lighthearted, and accidentally informative. A show for physicians to learn more about what is going on and a great place for them to direct their friends and family to better understand the challenges they face.

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 system.
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 looked back.
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.


show notes

Gulf Coast Direct Primary Care: Dr. Rebekah Bernard's DPC practice in Ft. Myers, FL.

Personal Website: Dr. Bernard's personal website where you can find her books, writings, and ways to contact her for speaking.

@rebekah_bernard: Dr. Bernard's twittering.

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 here. 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 entities.

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.

Patreon - Become a show supporter today and visit my Patreon page for extra bonus material. Every dollar raised goes towards the production and promotion of the show.

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