US Healthcare Is Broken
New Practice Format!
It’s such a ubiquitous statement that it is almost blasé, but healthcare in the US is broken. In fact, there are many aspects which are downright deplorable…but, there are some bright spots as well. A patient recently sent me this podcast in which surgeon and author, Dr. Marty Makary, discusses his new book called The Price We Pay. His insights into the financial morass of healthcare are both disturbing and hopeful, highlighting how a new generation of doctors is fighting the financial ruin of patients in the US. I had no idea that 1 in 5 Americans has medical debt in collections! Our healthcare system is financially ruining the very people it is constructed to protect.
This interview has some great information for patients and healthcare workers alike. Regardless of how you interact with the US healthcare system (and we all do, in one way or another), you will be doing yourself a favor to listen and learn from Dr. Makary.
Testosterone Replacement (2 of 2)
This Fall, Podium will begin accepting new patients again, but there will be a change in the structure and focus of our practice. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why this is, and how it will work.
One of the things I’ve realized during my sabbatical is that I sincerely enjoy developing a personal relationship with my patients. While abroad, there have been a handful of patients (mostly professional athletes) with whom I’ve continued to work. Without knowing it, this 6-8 months turned into a test case for how I’d like to restructure my practice.
During this time, I had the freedom and the availability to maintain ongoing communication with patients in a very personalized manner. Conversations occurred on a regular basis, by phone or over a cup of coffee. I enjoyed having the time to spend on each and every individual, thinking about their challenges and how to best address them. I enjoyed having the availability to take their calls and even meet with their coaches and specialists when needed. I enjoyed meeting up with them in cities across the country (and the world!) as I traveled. It was a unique and fulfilling way to practice medicine, especially in a healthcare system in which doctor-patient relationships really no longer exist.
Podium is hiring!
Aside from what I see as the frequent medical impropriety involved in this Low T popularization (see last week’s post), there is another very real concern which impacts recreational and elite athletes. We have been fortunate to see many more people remaining active and competitive into their fourth, fifth, or even eighth decades of life. As this trend coincides with the massive increase in testosterone prescription though, many unsuspecting athletes are doping. Sure, “doping” might be a harsh term for a recreational runner who is only taking the medication his doctor recommended, but it is a technically accurate characterization. That said, I think the vast majority of athletes who fall into this category are doing so without any knowledge of their rule breaking.
Many Americans will enter their local 5K or marathon this year. They will sign up for triathlons, duathlons, and bike races. For those races which are sanctioned by a national governing body (which is the majority, even on a smaller local level), the athlete agrees to abide by the United States or World Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA or WADA) code pertaining to banned substances in competition. If you have a racing license, buy a one-day license, or sign a lengthy form to enroll in one of these events, chances are very good that you are agreeing to abide by this code and to be drug tested if requested to do so. If you look at the number of people participating in these sports and cross-reference that against the number of testosterone prescriptions being handed out, then you can bet that there are significant numbers of athletes who are in violation of this code.
Dr. Sprouse joins The Feed as Chief Medical Advisor
Podium Sports Medicine is hiring for the position of Client Services Manager. This person will be a primary point of contact for all current and prospective patients. They will handle scheduling, referrals, patient registration, arranging video conferencing, billing, and engage in regular communication with patients and the team at Podium.
The ideal candidate will have a keen interest in health and exercise, as well as extremely strong communication skills. They will also have formal training or experience as a medical assistant or similar, expected to understand basic medical terminology, scheduling of outside testing (such as imaging or referrals), and taking vital signs. This person needs to be passionate about our mission, energetic, assertive, and extremely personable.
Testosterone Replacement (1 of 2)
Dr. Sprouse has joined The Feed as their Chief Medical Advisor! If you’re not familiar with The Feed, here’s a description from their website:
“We are athletes like you. We have experienced how eating smarter can make a meaningful difference in our training. Improving your nutrition is one of the quickest ways to see meaningful improvements in performance. Our mission at The Feed is to educate you about how to eat smarter, discover great new products, and recommend the best products for your lifestyle.”
The Feed is a fantastic resource for athletes and anyone interested in healthy food options, supplementation, and education on these types of products. The company’s founder, Matt Johnson, sent out this information by email last week…
Across the US, hormone replacement therapy is becoming more popular every year. Recreational athletes are no exception to this trend, and this is perhaps most prevalent among the “weekend-warrior” masters athlete crowd. But just because it is a common theme in treatment, does that mean it’s good medicine?
I’m going to post a two-part series of articles examining hormone replacement therapies and their use in athletes. Without a doubt, there are clinical conditions which require this treatment. There are a growing number of patients, however, who are being treated without meeting accepted diagnostic criteria. This could be the evolution of medical care, working to aggressively treat previously unrecognized conditions. Or it could be a bandwagon on which patients and doctors are hitching their hopes, exchanging large amounts of money, yet missing the underlying problem.