Cloud Puffery

Patient-Centered Puffery Meets Reality in Obesity Care

Patient-centered puffery rules the day in health policy jargon right now. Patient-centered medical homes are all the rage. But they’re falling short of delivering a panacea for primary care. Consumer-driven health plans are popular with many employers as a means to bring consumers into healthcare decision making. The reality has involved a lot of cost shifting and scrimping on preventive care.

In obesity care, the gap is considerable. Consider the recent experience of our friend Rick, who has been very actively engaged in overcoming obesity since early childhood. He sought out care from one of the world’s best experts in obesity medicine and achieved remarkably good health. He works hard to prevent any relapse. He carefully coordinates his care between a primary care physician he has seen for years and his obesity medicine specialist.

All his careful coordination goes out the window when his two primary providers are not available. He recently found himself being labeled as  “doctor-shopping” for “amphetamines” by a doctor on call. She doesn’t bother to read his medical history and knows little about obesity care. All that unfolded simply because a pharmacy called for a prescription renewal.

Bias against people with obesity is alive and well. It’s a stark reminder that we have a long way to go before patient-centered puffery has a real impact on medical care for people with obesity.

YWM2016 Theme LogoThe brightest hope in obesity care comes from the activation of people affected by obesity in the Obesity Action Coalition. With membership of more than 50,000 people, OAC has brought patient voices into the center of policy making for obesity. This week in Washington, nearly 600 OAC members and supporters will gather for the fifth annual Your Weight Matters National Convention. One look at the agenda will tell you that it promises an amazing experience.

YWM2016 starts today with advocacy training and visits with legislators. Education, networking, and inspiration will continue through the weekend. Our hopes are strong for obesity care that is truly patient-centered. Those hopes come from the power of the voices gathering this week in Washington for YWM2016.

Cloud Puffery, photograph © Ted Kyle

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August 25, 2016

3 Responses to “Patient-Centered Puffery Meets Reality in Obesity Care”

  1. August 25, 2016 at 6:13 am, Al Lewis said:

    I’m sure it won’t shock you to learn that patient-centered medical homes are, indeed, totally ineffective, and — get ready for this — the outcomes reports are pure fiction:
    http://www.ajmc.com/journals/issue/2012/2012-8-vol18-n8/questioning-the-widely-publicized-savings-reported-for-north-carolina-medicaid/p-2

  2. August 25, 2016 at 6:16 am, Al Lewis said:

    That PCMH was a red state, North Carolina. Here is deep-blue Vermont. Who says there is no bipartisanship any more? Both parties agree that the “answer” in medical care is to lie about the outcomes from their PCMH

    http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2014/04/01/more-evidence-that-patient-centered-medical-homes-dont-work/

  3. August 25, 2016 at 6:32 am, Ted said:

    Reality is harsh. The lived experience is real. Thanks, Al.