AMAC Symposium Speaker Stresses Health Care System Needs Fixing
According to Kathryn Serkes, one of the featured speakers at the 2014 National Health Care Symposium last month, “major health care system reforms are needed” but rather than put reforms into effect, the ACA has created a greater need for reform, since this legislation did not fix any of the issues that patients and health care services needed.
“Our health care system is designed where the patient is not at the center,” Ms. Serkes stated, “and we as patients must take control of our own health and treatment.”
Ms. Serkes, who has more than 17 years on the frontlines of the public policy and advocacy arena, noted that there are two main issues at stake in the present ACA model. “We are losing the personal relationship with our physicians, and we are doing a very poor job of taking charge of our health care,“ she noted. She also observed that “since doctors are paid by insurance companies and the government for treatment that is provided, the patient is “pushed to the background.”
As Obamacare was being formed in 2009, Ms. Serkes commented, there was a successful attempt by the political system to triangulate the medical system—patients, medical professionals, and insurance companies. “However, there was a deliberate attempt to put a political wedge specifically between the patient, health care professionals, and insurance companies.” Ms. Serkes is one of the two founders of the Doctor Patient Medical Association (DPMA), an organization whose goal is to have the patient and the medical professionals work together, not be leveraged against each other.
In her presentation, Ms. Serkes pointed out that a scientific survey by DPMA to assess the effect of these challenges on doctors revealed that doctors feel the health care system is on the wrong track and the doctor-patient relationship is on the decline. “Doctors are disheartened by Obamacare and the present health care environment and believe that patients and doctors, not the government or insurance companies, can partner to change and repair the system.
Ms. Serkes suggested that patients must be better prepared and must become better consumers, and that they must strive to make the most of the time they spend with their doctors. Likewise, it is critical, she suggests, that patients follow through with their doctor’s recommendations, including non-medical items like diet and lifestyle changes.
On a similar vein, she advises patients destined for an assisted living facitily, rehabilitation center, or nursing home after a hospital stay, to establish a relationship with the institution’s liason, so that the institution is aware in advance of any and all peculiarities of their situation.
The remarks delivered by Ms. Serkes at the 2014 AMAC Foundation Health Care Symposium are available on-demand and in their entirety through the AMAC Network, a service of the Association of Mature American Citizens. Click here to access this Symposium segment.