Brand-New Initiative from Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Points the Way to Patient-, Pocketbook- and Privacy-Friendly Alternatives
ST. PAUL, Minn.—In the complicated world of health care, there are doctors and practices who have returned to the simple mission of medicine—to care for patients without letting the business side of things take over.
But there’s one issue to surmount—most of these medical practices are invisible to patients.
Through its brand-new initiative called The Wedge of Health Freedom (www.JointheWedge.com), Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) will overcome this hurdle by bringing patients and doctors together to engage in a better way of doing health care.
Announced at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., last week, The Wedge of Health Freedom will allow doctors and patients to renew a personal relationship, while saving money and protecting privacy of patient data at the same time.
“Today’s health care system is filled with a maze of costly, intrusive and restrictive regulatory controls over the practice of medicine and the delivery of health care services,” CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase said at the press conference. “Patients and doctors are both experiencing delays and denials. In short, the mission of medicine—taking care of patients—is being lost to the business of health care. We are introducing The Wedge of Health Freedom to bring patients and doctors back together again in a trusted, ethical, caring relationship that’s affordable.”
The online center for The Wedge, at www.JointheWedge.com, allows doctors to discover how they can operate a Wedge practice, and will soon give patients information on how to find these practices that incorporate the eight Wedge principles:
- Transparent and affordable pricing
- Freedom of choice
- True patient privacy
- No government reporting
- No outside interference
- Cash-based pricing
- A protected patient-doctor relationship
- All patients welcome
View clips of The Wedge announcement press conference here.
Also featured at The Wedge press conference were two physicians who are already operating under Wedge principles: Dr. Alieta Eck of New Jersey, who spoke on the “Importance of Patient and Doctor Freedom,” and Dr. Brenda Arnett of Virginia, who discussed, “Why I Started a Third-Party Free Practice.”
“I’m here to tell you why patients do better when they see the same physician for many years,” said Eck, who runs a direct-pay private practice with her husband. “And that doctor knows them, is available 24/7 and will even admit them to the hospital, if the need arises. When my husband and I started our practice, we joined one HMO early on, but we found out that the insurance company was always suspicious of our motives and would try to figure out ways to not pay us, and they made us report more and more. They and the government were like an elephant sitting on our laps, which was heavy and painful and it was hard to see our patients because there was something in between us.
“We dropped that contract two years later,” Eck continued, “and chose to work directly with our patients. So our patients pay us a fair fee, and whatever they get back from insurance is not our business. Our business is to take care of the patient and do the best we can for them. The best patient is a happy patient who listens to us, who values our opinions and does what we say and is willing to pay for our services. And if they need a specialist, I choose one that I would trust. Patients have stayed with us through the years; their employers have changed plans, and the plans always want them to go to a doctor in their plan, which is not me. But our patients stay with us because they know I work for them. I don’t work for a hospital, I don’t work for an insurance company, and I don’t work for the government. Our medical records stay within our practice; we don’t share them with anyone unless the patient wants us to communicate with another doctor.”
Arnett echoed Eck’s sentiments, adding that her practice of about 400 patients allows her to know that she is giving the best care possible to those who entrust her with their care.
“During my residency and the one year I spent in a traditional, multi-specialty group practice,” Arnett said, “I became extremely frustrated with the large number of patients that I had to see per day, frustrated with the insurance intervention and life-changing decisions for patients and the poor care that often resulted. I was losing sleep every night. I worried about my patient. If I just had more time, I could have given them better care. So 10 years ago, I decided to leave the traditional group practice and establish a cash-only, fee-for-service practice. It was a practice just like that of my grandfather’s before the invasion of Medicare. And it was a good decision. My overhead is reduced, the middle man is mostly removed and I have attracted patients who care a lot about their health and are looking for a similar-minded physician.”
“I spend an hour and a half with a new patient and 45 minutes with a return patient,” she continued. “As a result, the patient gets better care, and some of my patients actually drive two hours to come see me. I have made diagnoses in patients of mine that other physicians have missed. So I’m here to support the launch of The Wedge of Health Freedom, as it is a plan to restore the private patient-physician relationship, it is beneficial to both the patient and the physician, and it allows freedom from third-party invasion. It is the choice I made 10 years ago that allows me to sleep better at night. As Sir William Osler once said, ‘The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.’”
The Wedge of Health Freedom identifies and brands a small but growing independent segment of the current health care landscape—a free trade zone that includes practices such as the practices of Dr. Eck and Dr. Arnett—and communicates the benefits to patients so they can find doctors and practices that employ Wedge principles. Doctors will also be encouraged to begin plans to escape today’s restrictive controls ov the practice of medicine by becoming Wedge practices. Practices that follow these principles can often offer their patients services at a significant savings from the status-quo current alternatives.
The creation of The Wedge was a result of CCHF looking at the current state of health care: where high prices and government reporting are the norm; where one-size-fits-all treatments and narrow networks limit patient choices and tie doctors’ hands; where intrusive questionnaires and data-sharing without consent put patients’ privacy at risk; where an impersonal bureaucratic processes and managed care controls inhibit a true doctor-patient relationship and compromise care.
CCHF is a national patient-centered health freedom organization existing to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights. For more information about CCHF, visit its web site at www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. For more about The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, a patient-centered national health freedom organization based in St. Paul, Minn., exists to protect health care choices, individualized patient care, and medical and genetic privacy rights. CCHF sponsors the daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which airs on more than 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. Listeners can learn more about the agenda behind health care initiatives and steps they can take to protect their health care choices, rights and privacy. For information on how to add “Health Freedom Minute” to a station lineup, contact Michael Hamilton at email@example.com, (610) 584-1096 or (215) 519-4838.
CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase, R.N., has been called one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Health Care” and one of “Minnesota’s 100 Most Influential Health Care Leaders.” A public health nurse, Brase has been interviewed by CNN, Fox News, Minnesota Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today Show, NPR, New York Public Radio, the Associated Press, Modern Healthcare, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times, among others. She is at the forefront of informing the public of crucial health issues, such as intrusive wellness and prevention initiatives in Obamacare, patient privacy, informed consent, the dangers of “evidence-based medicine” and the implications of state and federal health care reform.
For more information or to interview Twila Brase of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom, contact Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.