Do You #Trust Our Healthcare System?

#trust….that’s how I’m going to ask you to share this with friends. Because together, we’re going to build a healthcare system we can truly #trust.

Yesterday was our best day of fundraising. Incredible! Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far. But we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s needed.

And don’t worry—I’m not trying to build a lasting organization. We need to make the change that’s needed and then close the doors. Many non-profits exist far longer than their useful life. I won’t ask for one dollar more than we need to get this done.

I’ve been hearing from many more people who have been voicing their support, asking great questions, and sharing their own stories. Now I’m going to ask all of those people—and you—to do me a huge favor. While I’m happy to continue corresponding with everyone privately (I truly enjoy it), if you would take the time to ask your questions, voice your support and share your stories (when not too private) on the BrokenHealthcare Facebook page or by commenting on this post, that will help us engage with even more people. We all need this to become an open conversation and your public support will embolden other people to speak up, too. When you do engage through social media, please use the hashtag #trust, because that’s what we’re doing: together we are building a healthcare system we can all #trust.

Monday, I got another bill from our attorney (she’s terrific and does not charge high rates, but she has to earn a living too). As expected, Deborah Farrell (from the Colorado Hospital Association), has, indeed, filed a petition to the Colorado Supreme Court to have the decision of the Title Board overturned. There’s no meat to the petition, but we’ll have to go through the process of defending the ballot measure. (More healthcare system waste!) The legal challenge could be expensive. Signature collection begins on April 2nd; we don’t have to wait for the court to rule and we’re not.

Reading the Deborah Farrell story has led some readers to ask me if I really have so much disdain for the healthcare industry. The answer is, “yes,” I have great disdain for the industry. I do not have such disdain for 99.99% of the people who work in healthcare, however. Unfortunately, all it takes is one in 10,000 to corrupt an industry.

Industries are not people. Organizations, such as hospitals, are not people, either. But organizations do have something that industries do not. They have leaders. Even so, many, in fact I dare say most, leaders are people of integrity. And in healthcare, most leaders are just like their employees; they care about their patients, too. Unfortunately, many caring people with integrity lack courage, and courage is what we need most right now.

In one of my first combative interactions with a hospital, one that motivated me to take on this fight, the CFO for a multi-billion hospital system said to me, “I understand what you are trying to do, and I wish you luck. I have children, too. I have my own bills. I hope you understand there’s nothing I can do from inside the system. But I hope you can change it.”

That’s the sentiment of many healthcare executives. And believe it or not, I do understand. To challenge the system could mean termination, or even banishment from the industry he relied on. To take such a stand would have taken more courage than this CFO could muster. Maybe it was more than is fair to ask of anyone.

In one-on-one conversations, nearly every hospital executive I talk to supports the ballot measure. They are just hoping that they don’t have to put their neck on the line themselves, and I don’t blame them. Heroes are rarely rewarded, and for every one that is, one hundred that came before were likely punished. Many hospital and medical practice employees are oblivious to their company’s billing practices. They simply do their job and take care of patients. Similarly, many physicians, even in small practices, know little of their own billing policies. Some do, and simply turn a blind eye. And some are highly complicit in abusive policies that should be characterized as felonies. But most just focus on what they signed up to do and love doing—taking care of patients. We should not hold individuals in healthcare accountable for a system that has evolved into a beast that is stealing more than 5% of our GDP. The blame for that cannot be assigned to anyone. The healthcare industry has evolved. It was not designed to work as it does. But that doesn’t absolve the rest of us of the responsibility for fixing it. One way or another, we need to get to a functioning system that we can #trust.

What’s interesting about this issue, in particular, is that it is the least politically charged of anything I’ve ever experienced. I cannot find a single person that will publicly oppose it. Not one. That’s remarkable, isn’t it? Even special interests are loath to voice their objections publicly, because there are no reasons they can stand behind with a straight face. I invite any of them to raise their objections. Call the media…send your objections to me. I promise to publish them unedited…or join me for a public debate. You choose. Just be heard. Have some courage. But they won’t.

Unlike other issues, where there are people on both sides with legitimate and sensible concerns (think guns, abortion, or immigration), there are no PEOPLE on the other side of this. It’s true that special interests can amplify the voices of people when issues are polarizing, but in this case, it’s totally different. Here, there are no “people” who’s voices are being amplified. There’s only a faceless industry that is hiding behind the Colorado Hospital Association, which is in turn hiding behind Deborah Farrell. I really feel for Ms. Farrell. Did she have any idea what she was getting into? She is truly the only individual voice in the country who is publicly opposing the transparency that will deliver a healthcare system we can #trust. Can you imagine being one woman opposing over five million Coloradans, or 320 million Americans? Does she even leave her home anymore?

So, I’m back to asking for your help and support. The bills are piling up. We’re about to go to print and that alone will cost close to $20,000. I even rented a giant (and I mean giant) safe deposit box. There is so much at stake that I’ve been warned to protect against a Watergate-style break-in. We have to turn in the original copy of every petition in August. Theft, or an “accidental” fire, could prevent us from doing that, so every collected petition will be safely stored in a bank vault. The safe deposit box doesn’t even look like any box you’ve ever seen, it’s so big. It’s essentially a private safe in a bank. It is going to have to hold more than 200,000 sheets of notarized paper by the time all is said and done.

I hope you’re ready to join in. I need your help sharing this with as many people as you know. Join us on Facebook. Help me create a conversation. This is for every American. We waste $3,000 a year for every man, woman and child in the country because of a broken healthcare system. If we fix this, not only will we get better healthcare, but we’ll also stimulate our economy like we’ve never seen before. The payback is immense. Surely that warrants a small investment. Thank you all! #trust!

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