I met Dr. Kathy Hansen in an unlikely place for a Family Practice Physician from Texas. She stood on the Capitol Building steps in Washington DC, speaking out for freedom in health care, pushing back to practice her Hippocratic Oath without unwanted third party interference. Sixteen years ago, when Dr. Hansen opened her Family Practice, she could barely imagine speaking on PPACA, a topic which has struck a national nerve, on national TV. Her voice was heard across the nation –sharing the words of her accountant, “Quit taking Medicare patients or close your doors,” on the nationally syndicated Fox News Show-“Huckabee.” Take a moment and watch it here.
To celebrate Dr. Kathy Hansen’s guest spot on Huckabee and incredible work as a physician, we're giving away three copies of “The Great Experiment: The States, The Feds and Your Healthcare” published by the Pioneer Institute (www.PioneerInstitute.org) Just leave your name in the comments section and we'll draw winners on Monday. If you're reading this post on e-mail or Facebook, please leave your comments here for the drawing.
Enjoy the interview with DPMA Member Dr. Kathy Hansen!
Kathy Hansen on freedom in medicine, authenticity in practice, and courage to go on live nationally syndicated TV.
1.Freedom in medicine is? Freedom in medicine is not “free.” Freedom in medicine means allowing the patient and the doctor to dictate healthcare decisions without third party interference. It is not without limits—it is allowing us to use our best expertise, our patient’s desires, and common sense to come up with the most cost-effective treatment plans. This includes lifestyle changes and personal responsibility and collaboration between the patient and doctor. It also includes NOT doing things, based on patient choice.
2.What role do third party entities play in your every day relationship with patients? Third parties play directly into most of my interactions with patients—whether it is the labs/tests I order, the medications I prescribe, or how much I will actually do for that patient. I am graded by my insurance companies on numerous things including what percentage of generic medications I prescribe, what percentage of my patients actually go and get their mammograms, how many of my patients smoke, and how well-controlled my diabetics are with their blood sugars. All my insurance payments are determined by contracts based on Medicare rates.
3.What does authenticity mean, and how did that play in you becoming a guest physician on the nationally syndicated news show “Huckabee” on the Fox News Network? Authenticity to me means how sincere and truthful someone is. I am very passionate about my concerns about where medicine is going and what the future looks like. I try to explain things in logical, common sense ways so that everyone can understand on some level. I hope I was successful. I also hope people saw me as someone who loves medicine and my patients.
4.Any surprises regarding the format of the show, or the actual production? The show itself was easy—the format was relaxed and Gov. Huckabee is a delight. I liked not knowing what questions were coming and I liked the conversational nature. My big surprises were how small the green room was (and it wasn’t green) and how there was no real audience participation. I was hoping we would get questions from the audience and I felt bad that we really didn’t interact with them at all. I also thought the segment was way too short.
5.Has the experience sharing your views on national TV impacted your day to day practice and relationship with your patients? My experience on the show has not affected my relationships with my patients. I am always speaking out if the opportunity arises. I post information in all my exam rooms. I only told a few of them I was going on (since this was such short notice) and none of my patients today mentioned that they had seen me. I think most patients live in their own little world and are fairly clueless about all of this, despite my efforts to educate them.
6.Did it take a measure of personal courage to go on air with your views on medicine? I never think of myself as courageous, although I have always been outspoken and I have always stood up for what is right. I was never politically active until the 2008 election cycle when I heard Jeremiah Wright’s church sermon and was so shocked I got off the couch and decided I had to do something. When the president’s health care bill was being shoved down our throats, I did everything in my power to wake people up. I have met the nicest, most patriotic people from all over the country during the last four years so I still have hope for America. But I feel that I am in the fight of my life.
7.If you had a crystal ball, and the president’s health care bill is not overturned-what changes do you foresee in your practice over the next ten years? If the ACA goes into full effect, I will not participate in it. I will not hand my records over to the government. I will not be under threat of jail or fines for writing mammogram orders for women in their forties or getting routine PSA screenings on men. I will not pay for the morning after pill. I will not be subject to the whims of the HHS secretary, whoever that may be. Whether I will be in concierge medicine, a private clinic or whether I will retire and do medical missionary work remains to be seen. I think this will be 3 to 5 yr process as people leave their insurance plans and go on the government plans.
8. Who or what inspires you as you practice medicine?My inspiration in medicine comes from my patients, my family and my God. My patients are my heroes—they teach me as much as I teach them. They are my second family—I spend more awake
time with them than I do my own family. I have a son with type 1 diabetes and I can’t leave medicine until I know the next generation of doctors will be there for my family and friends. Finally, I feel the best doctors are called in some way. No one would put
up with all the craziness in this profession and succeed without a higher power. Miracles still happen.
9.Why did you join the DPMA?I joined DPMA because I want to belong to organizations that are trying to preserve the medical profession and keep it in the hands of doctors and patients. I will not join any organization that negotiates with our government or other third parties for favor or recognition.
Physicians reacted with shock and anger to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the President Obama’s health care law, according to poll data and the leaders of activist groups, which are continuing to fight the law in court and via political action.
According to Kathryn Serkes, cofounder of the Doctor Patient Medical Association, a recent nationwide poll sponsored by her organization found 83 percent of U.S. physicians have considered leaving their practices due to President Obama’s law.
“This not just something that started today, and it’s not something that just started with passage” of Obama’s law, said Serkes. “There have been developments in medicine that have made it very, very difficult and have put some seriously different pressures on doctors. But this bill has certainly brought things to a head.”
Join DPMA TODAY and support an organization that supports YOU by taking your message directly to patients and the public. We are the only group on the ground educating patients about the threats and challenges you face to practice your profession.