Posts filed under ‘Spiritual Health Care’
How does an insurance company keep a positive bottom line and still provide real customer service? That’s an important question.
I suppose It’s a delicate balance, deciding what benefits to provide at what cost, and still be competitive in the market. After all, everyone needs to make ends meet.
Here’s an interesting piece showing how one managed care plan found that including spiritual care actually benefitted them financially.
My colleague in Texas recently talked with its chief medical officer. Very interesting discussion.
By Keith Wommack, Corpus Christi, Texas
How often do you better your health and save money at the same time? I know. Never.
Yet, through some health care plans, it seems possible. Some plans include unique programs that will reward you for taking meaningful actions toward enhancing health.
Within good-health-behavior reward plans, an individual can earn up to $300 a year for participating in a coaching program or for meeting recommended health guidelines.
Eat healthy foods, get regular physical activity, abstain from tobacco use, — these are some of the suggested steps often recommended to stay healthy. However, there may be pieces of the puzzle missing from health care plans and healthy lifestyle choices that you could benefit from.
Last September, Robert P. Faraci, MD, a principal with Medical Care Consultants, gave public testimony about health care before a Health System Reform Task Force of the Utah legislature. Faraci suggested that he may have stumbled upon a missing puzzle piece to the health care delivery equation. His testimony centers on his discovery that when it comes to health care, an important element is spiritual care.
Faraci practiced general surgery for 20 years. Later he became the Chief Medical Officer for a managed care plan in Denver, Colorado. Faraci was one of the executives of the plan who began investigating the mind-body aspects of disease and health care. His investigation directly led this plan to becoming the first HMO in the United States to offer spiritual care as a benefit.
Faraci stated before the Utah legislature, “In the course of my research, I discovered that spiritual beliefs have profound effects on patient outcomes. Furthermore, my own anecdotal experiences as a surgeon supported this conclusion.”
“Our research indicated that people with strong spiritual beliefs often had better medical outcomes than those who did not have such beliefs. Subsequent studies at Duke and Harvard Medical Schools and a comprehensive review by the Mayo clinic have reinforced these findings.”
Faraci continued, “We also discovered that people wanted this benefit. A John Templeton study revealed that 55% of Americans said they would choose a health plan that included spirituality and religious healing practices over a plan that did not. Finally, we felt that the addition of spirituality to our members’ care might lead to better clinical outcomes and, as a result, lower utilization of other resources.”
When other resources were utilized less, the company would save money. Therefore, they were able to offer the plan at a reasonable price, enabling members to keep their dollars in their wallets.
If you learned that there was a beneficial plan that acknowledged your spiritual beliefs and practice, wouldn’t you want to sign up for it?
Dr. Faraci quickly found that there was a huge demand for this spiritual benefit plan and the demand exceeded anything this managed care group could have imagined. It resulted in a doubling of their plan membership in the first year and doubling again in the second.
Faraci closed his testimony by sharing with the Utah legislature the likely results if a spirituality benefit were to be included in health plans of state Health Exchanges:
It could be added to the health plans at little to no increase in premium
It could potentially improve clinical outcomes
It will give members a stronger sense of well-being
It will make members happier with their health plans because mind, body and spirit have been addressed.
Perhaps, recognition of the bonuses spirituality brings to the health care table will bring an even greater interest in how spirituality heals minds and bodies. The care of each individual is of the utmost importance. And spiritual treatment has been shown not only to improve health but also to give relief from the tremendous financial burden imposed by other forms of care.
When examining the essentials needed to better health and to do it in a financially prudent way, don’t forget to consider spirituality. Many feel that it can provide you with the best rewards.
Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then).
Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com
(reprinted with permission)
John Clague is a retired sheriff’s office captain, father of two grown sons, and husband. He now works with the media to ensure accurate representation of Christian Science.
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
Can you imagine eating enough Big Macs, milkshakes, french fries, ice cream, and M&Ms to equal 15,000 calories in an hour and a half ?! That’s five times what the normal American male would eat.
Ron Saxen, author of “The Good Eater” more than imagined it. He’s one of an estimated eight million Americans who suffer from binge eating.
Along with other recognized eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, up to 25 million Americans have an unhealthy relationship with food. Long thought to be mainly the purview of women, we’re now finding a large number of men challenged by eating disorders.
Eating for sustenance, occasional enjoyment, and fellowship is considered normal. So what drives people to develop abnormal eating habits?
“Those with binge eating disorder often do not have meaningful relationships with other people, are isolated, believe that life has no purpose or have suffered prior traumatic events and turn to food for emotional comfort,”
Researchers find that those who form unnatural relationships with their food tend to feel out of touch with themselves and others. Therapist Sharon Cox describes eating disorders as beginning to “worship at the altar of eating distress.”
Cox tells us that “…[R]ediscovering a sense of spirituality can be an important element of recovery…In the counseling room, one of the most important things we can enable our clients to feel is that sense of connection … to us, and, more importantly, to themselves”
Interestingly, the Bible mentions food, celebrations, and fellowship a lot. And it reminds me to put a higher being before anything else, including my necessary food. It grounds me in a sense of self-worth and purpose that is beyond food or any other kind of material thing.
Christ Jesus once shared ideals called the Beatitudes as guideposts to life. And they are promises. One of them is about being satisfied:
God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want!
Could it be that this is a benefit some people are missing today? Maybe seeking to understand spiritual laws, and applying them to our lives can be a real help in eating disorders.
In discussing the role of spirituality in treating such disorders, Gillian Markson concludes:
“Whatever direction spirituality takes, …the aid these theories offer can be very effective. It may be a placebo effect, but connecting to one’s own spirituality during this time of self-reinvention can have powerful effects on the ability to see weight-loss through to the end, and make important, healthier lifestyle changes that will last a lifetime.”
“Medical pot clinic manager gets prison term”
This headline in an Oregon newspaper isn’t particularly remarkable. Everyday the news carries stories of crime and punishment. Here the defendant illegally provided marijuana to people.
If we peel back the layers of this headline we begin to see a different issue than what’s on the surface. It really isn’t just about crime and punishment. It’s about humanity’s yearning to relieve pain and suffering.
Sixteen states and D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons. Oregon followed California, the first in the country, by passing its own law in 1998 along with Alaska and Washington. The prescribing physician and the patient must be registered with the state. And, its use is limited to treating suffering caused by debilitating medical conditions.
I used to think that the number of people using medical marijuana was relatively small, comprised mostly of hippies and the fringes of society. That’s until I looked up the numbers. In Oregon over 55,000 people have a medical marijuana card, and over 1,900 physicians supervise these patients. These numbers aren’t small potatoes.
When I was a young man marijuana was used exclusively for recreation. Somewhere along the way, however, it joined the ranks of pharmaceutical drugs. For some, it’s the medicine of choice for addressing symptoms caused by medical conditions that haven’t been healed. Some might consider this form of health care to be radical and groundbreaking.
Here’s the rub, though. This isn’t a paradigm shift. What was once exclusively an illegal drug has simply been moved into the realm of conventional medicine. Patients not achieving their health through conventional pharmaceuticals are just turning to another familiar drug with a different history to relieve their suffering.
Isn’t there a better way? Has marijuana permanently improved the quality of life for its users? I suspect not, given the number of people continuing to seek relief. But doesn’t the use of a consciousness-changing drug hint at some inner understanding that a change of consciousness is needed to be truly free of pain and remain healthy?
A growing trend in mainstream medicine is showing glimmers of hope that the medical establishment does recognize there are non-pharmaceutical alternatives for achieving health.
In Oregon, Dr.Barry Oken of the Oregon Health and Sciences University is a physician that conducts research on alternative health care. He’s director of the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine In Neurological Disorders (ORCCAMIND). Though his research is narrowly focused, his work is making progress in the area of alternatives to conventional health care practices. It was his interest in yoga that originally got him to look at alternative health care.
Another physician, Mitchell Krucoff, MD tells Web MD that he has been studying prayer and spirituality since 1996 – and practicing it much longer in his patient care. He says that “…we’re seeing systematic investigations – clinical research – as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, federal subsidies from the NIH, funding from Congress”. “All of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.”
Even though prayer might be seen as “medicine nouveau” by some in the medical establishment, it’s been around for along time. I’ve practiced it, as have many others, with great success in permanent pain relief. When systematically used, the results are consistent, avoiding invasive procedures, huge medical bills, and nasty side effects.
Legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes really isn’t breaking new ground. If I could tell those holding marijuana cards one thing, it would be this: There is a better way to relieve pain and suffering, and there’s a better way to achieve health. Look toward mind and away from matter.
My colleague, Bob Clark from Florida, has written a thoughtful blog challenging the notion that with maturity comes debilitation. He shares a healing of Alzheimer’s disease achieved through spiritual means alone. Whether or not you are a “senior”, this is a blog worth reading. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
By Bob Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida
I live in an area with a lot of wonderful older people, “seniors” as they’re often called. I love seeing seniors walking on the beach, fishing off the piers, driving convertibles, playing golf and generally enjoying life in their later years. These are the true “senior moments”.
So it bothers me deeply when I read about Alzheimer’s disease threatening to demote seniors from their well-earned place and status to a lower level where their “senior-hood” can become a curse rather than a blessing.
Here are some startling statistics from American Family Physician, “The financial and social costs of Alzheimer’s disease are staggering. In the United States, the disease accounts for about $100 billion per year in medical and custodial expenses, with the average patient requiring an expenditure of about $27,000 per year for medical and nursing care. In addition, 80 percent of caregivers report stress, and about 50 percent report depression.”
Is there an alternative to the unjust sentence this disease imposes on our seniors and their families? Is there a way to control or even avoid its collateral costs and damage? Yes. Fortunately for all of us, there is.
As health care reform lumbers forward and costs spiral upward we are seeing increased coverage of alternative approaches to health and healing. The number one alternative, according to NIH, the National Institutes of Health, is prayer. Surprised?
Well, prayer, as it turns out, actually works, even for incurable, degenerative diseases that baffle medical experts. Below is an outstanding and inspiring example of how prayer was used to completely overcome Alzheimer’s. In this case, after a medical diagnosis, every conceivable remedy was applied: Chinese herbalism, homeopathy, ayurvedic medicine, and yoga, all in addition to the most up to date pharmaceutical remedies. After all else failed, this woman found prayer to be the only effective and permanent alternative. Hers is a must read story.
Her prayer-based triumph over Alzheimer’s is just one example of thousands, offering proof that medical diagnoses are not always final and that there is a practical spiritual alternative to forfeiting the joys of senior-hood.
Today I have the pleasure of sharing this post from the blog of Shannon Horst, Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Mexico. Her story is a clear and compelling example of why people, such as Shannon and I, choose Christian Science as their health care system. It works! John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
For readers who follow this blog, you know that I generally post an original piece on Monday every week. Well, yesterday, I had every intention of doing just that. But, let me share with you what happened because it is the very reason I am blogging.
Sunday night, after a lovely evening spent with my family and my brother, his wife and kids, I planned to head to my office and write my blog so that it could be posted very early Monday. But, after returning home from dinner out, I was hit with a sudden illness. I cannot tell you what it was but I can tell you that in the space of about 90 minutes I went from being fine to feeling so unwell that I could barely hold my head up or think straight. I could not find any comfortable position except to pace back and forth across one room.
As I always do, I turned to God in prayer. The prayer I engaged in is considered a scientific “treatment” in Christian Science and it is specific and designed to heal one of any illness. Sunday night, my prayer included affirmation of God’s allness and goodness and the fact that God is all cause and effect. It included my refusal to accept that I was anything less than God’s child – His actual outcome and reflection. It included my refusal to accept that I was subject to a virus or germs, because I have come to understand through studying Christian Science that I am actually a spiritual idea and not a material object. Lastly, I fully expected healing and gave gratitude to God in anticipation of a return to normalcy.
When, after about an hour, I still did not feel well, I called my mother and asked for her to pray with me. In about 20 minutes, the symptoms began to abate. In an hour they were entirely gone. I lay down and slept soundly through the night.
I did not get my blog written Sunday night. But, I experienced a clear and, for me, undeniable example of healing through prayer in Christian Science. It was quick, effective and affordable. My own experiences give me my reasons for wanting to be sure that scientific prayer is part of our nation’s search for solutions to its so-called “healthcare crisis.”