As our nation moves more and more towards obesity and laden with chronic disease, healthcare reform struggles to provide coverage for more citizens all the while raising cost of deductibles and out of pocket expense. I cannot imagine the money that goes into this ‘reforming’ movement. Being involved in healthcare 26 years has given me the opportunity to view many faces of healthcare. The last 7 years I have been directly involved in treating chronic disease and struggling to promote preventative health. However, our healthcare system is not designed to be proactive, only retroactive after we are already burdened with disease. This was even how I was taught in medical school. ‘Learn the disease: Learn the treatment’. Very little was taught or practiced regarding the prevention. Doctors are not rewarded for prescribing exercise and healthy eating but more for prescribing a state of the art medicine (regardless of side affects). Pharmaceutical reps are around every corner offering meals and incentives. All the while people are more obese and less healthy.

The REAL reform must begin with true lifestyle changes. WE must not just ‘talk about exercise and eating right’ but move it to something we DO. We physicians need to not be so quick to jump to medication just because it’s quick and available. We must first live the change we want to see in our patients. We must invest time in face to face interaction and building trust. We must work with our ‘healthcare partners’ that are offering assistance to our patients in the realm of fitness, nutrition and true lifestyle changes.

There is a need for reform, but the reformation needs to start in the minds of our medical community and patients. The reformation needs to transition funding for individuals from ‘after care’ to ‘wellness care’, and offer incentives for prescribing wellness not incentive for prescribing drugs.

(As the owner of a CrossFit affiliate, I continue striving to build an opportunity for individuals to not just invest in group classes, but invest in their total body wellbeing. We are striving for a comprehensive program focusing on nutrition, exercise, cognitive thinking, and lifestyle overall (preventative health). There ARE entities like this in most communities and I encourage you to seek them out to begin your healthcare REFORM today!

Brandy Ricard – Watson
Internal medicine/Pediatrics
Co-Owner CrossFit Palestine

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