Think About It: Soup to nuts

Some columns just beg for follow up. Maybe.

Chicken soup for the heart

Such does the comfort of words and touch become important when we reveal something about ourselves so sensitive, so lingering in silence, and so difficult to say out loud. In April, I wrote about my and the experience of others as a child having the misfortune of encountering a pedophile.

I pointed to the betrayal of adults who failed to protect, failed to listen, and worst case, failed to believe. “It’s not easy to know what to say,” lamented my friend from high school. “I didn’t know.” I reassured her that I bottled it up in a safe place by the time I was 12. I didn’t tell anyone; I learned it was not welcome news.

Shenna Younger, my young inspiration in this, is goal directed to bring voice to like women with frozen voices. I am helping her because it is right. Many women came forward upon reading her Facebook page or my column. Some had the experience, some didn’t and just wanted to help.

For us, it was an outpouring. For me, I am warmed in the very kind words of those who offered their unquestioned love and acceptance. Those are the words Shenna and I want to spread.

Our Facebook page is “the beginning” and we have started what will be a long journey to break the silence and protect the innocent. We know it’s still happening in fearful silence.

Doctor gets to know patients, community

In March, I wrote about the growing dilemma faced by primary care healthcare providers. More and more, primary care providers are having to balance their time with patients and the demands of a reimbursement system that results in less time with patients and more time with paper.

I told you about Dr. Lissa (said Melissa) Lubinski, an experienced primary care physician, who wanted to try something different. She wanted to form her own practice based on community and patient input and her desire to spend more time with her patients than paper.

Since that column, Lubinski’s held six town hall meetings in Port Angeles and Sequim to learn from patients what would make going to the doctor ideal for them. I and at least 50 other people attended the first one in Port Angeles. Lubinski presented a warm, professional and inviting presence.

She listened with interest and intention and readily answered questions related to the practice. She collected written testimony from the meetings and interviewed an additional 200 individuals.

Armed with good ideas and frank opinions, Lubinski opened her practice on June 21. Using all the input, she designed her practice and employed a model called “Direct Primary Care.” The model, practiced by more than 600 physicians and growing across the nation, removes all the insurance paperwork from the practice. The model is built to provide primary care physicians more time with and for patients.

Lubinski expects to provide 30-60 minute office visits depending on the need, home visits if needed, and be available by phone calls, texts and emails.

In return, the patient pays a monthly fee which supports her practice and her income. A patient continues to use health insurance coverage for hospitalizations, lab tests, imaging and so on, but not for primary care services provided by Lubinski.

The reward for both Lubinski and her patients is time together and access to each other; her caseload is anywhere from 25-50 percent the size of a typical primary care physician’s.

More is coming. Many saw the practice as a hub for community group education around health and prevention, an idea that is in the future for Lubinski’s practice.

Rep. Kilmer answers open letter

I was eating lunch when the phone rang from the “US Capitol.” At first, I was suspicious of another solicitation but it was different enough that I answered. Rachel called from Derek Kilmer’s office in response to the email I sent with a link to my June column which was a letter to the representative.

Rachel wanted to know if I had any more questions or observations. I mobilized my thoughts as best I could, mostly saying that I wanted every effort made to depoliticize access to healthcare. Work together. Find a solution!

One specific point I made came from a reader who is rightly concerned about the impact of the Affordable Care Act and Medicare on the rising federal deficit and debt.

The reader pointed to the Institute of Medicine report of five years ago that outlines the path to reducing the cost of healthcare rather than saving money by reducing access.

Rachel wanted more information, which I sent her at the end of the call. I also sent her a response from a reader who objected to my characterization of Kilmer as “readily available.” The reader was a veteran who had a problem with the VA and had made several attempts to get help from Kilmer since January.

Finally, I asked her in my email to tell me what the Congressman would like from his constituents in relation to healthcare that would be most helpful and supportive. Her reply was, “It is always helpful for us to hear personal healthcare stories from constituents (to the extent they are comfortable sharing) and how, for example, the ACA or Medicaid expansion has impacted their healthcare.”

If you have a story that you want to tell, now is a good time. Mention my column if you think of it.

Rachel felt “terrible” about the reader’s problem and said she would reach out to our local office and hoped for a remedy ASAP.

I reached out to the reader who had yet to hear from Kilmer’s office related to my contact. The reader wrote back about being frustrated again after another attempt to solve the problem. The reader believes that the problem would have been solved with a meeting with Kilmer that the reader requested early in the process.

‘America Now!’ in reruns

Last, this column tuned into the very successful new reality show series, “America Now!” — the series was replete with plot twists and betrayals. Currently, the series is in hiatus, having gone dark as in “no photos allowed” or no original plot lines from our hero.

It’s mostly reruns of staff betrayals and body slams to predecessors and former opponents which frankly seem kind of dull compared to the action-packed spy thriller of “Russia Now!” and power-grabbing drama of “Merkel Macron Rule!”

I’m sticking to reruns of CBS’s “Bull” until the season premiere of “America Now!”

Bertha D. Cooper is retired from a 40-plus year career as a health care administrator focusing on the delivery system as a whole. She still does occasional consulting. She is a featured columnist at the Sequim Gazette. Reach her at columnists@sequimgazette.com.

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