Let me help: An open letter to the healthcare system

Dear healthcare:

I want to help you; really, I do. You see, when tragedy strikes all around us we often look to you. Sometimes in that quick glance we see you as the problem. But yet, more often we look to you for solutions. We do this because you give us a reason to; we do this because you could do so much more to help. The problem is that you are not helping. In fact, some times you are hurting.

I don’t blame you that those who have helped create you have chosen to make you fragmented. Over the years, people have decided that treating your brain different from your body is a good idea. They have decided to make these two systems distinct and impossible to connect. You, unknowingly, have adopted this mindset as true and continued on offer care in your newly formed silos. I don’t blame you for separating systems of care that should have never been separated; people did what they thought was best – they were wrong.

Healthcare, you are quite needed, and I would imagine that there is a bit of pressure associated with that. You are there to help as many people as you can but yet there remain barriers in some accessing you because they don’t have the right coverage. You never asked that insurance be a requirement for you helping people, but yet how else are people supposed to be able to afford you? With your age, you have gotten more expensive. And honestly, you are not doing a better job with your “higher” price tag.

There are some of us out there who have followed you around for years wanting to learn more about you. We have studied your strengths and your weakness and sometimes maybe even know you better than you know yourself. Because of this, we sometimes make recommendations or kind suggestions when we think you can do something better. Sometimes you listen, but most of the time you don’t.

Except now. Now, I am telling you something that you must heed; I am pleading with you that you must change. If you don’t want to change for yourself consider changing for those people around you that need you because the people that you so often like to talk about helping are dying. The people that you are supposed to be healing, you are making sicker. Your pieces that have been built up into iron clad silos over years need to come crashing down so that we address health in all its entirety again. If you choose to ignore this fact, we will continue to have problems. We will continue to spend more and get less. We will continue to witness what happens when we forget our job to help people stay healthy.

Healthcare, you must change.

If you are interested in doing so, please let me help.

Ben

Dr. Miller has his doctorate in clinical psychology and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine where he is the Director of the Office of Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy. His core task is to integrate mental health across all three of the department’s core mission areas: clinical, education, and research. Opinions expressed here are his own and not those of his employer.

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