High Quality, Low Cost HealthCare Video Interview Series: Dr. Joseph Valenti Talks About The Physicians Foundation

May 14, 2013
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Last week we heard Ivana Schnur tell us about Sense.ly and the remote assessment hub that diagnoses and treats and helps those with post-discharge activities.  This week, Dr. Joseph Valenti, a practising physician in Texas, talks about The Physicians Foundation, an non-for-profit organization founded in 2003 to support healthcare improvements in the delivery of patient care, provide physicians with a support system, promote physician leadership and education, and further improve physician practices.  The Physicians Foundation sponsors grants, white papers and research in order for decision-makers to have the infomation they need to improve the healthcare system.

The Physicians Foundation has released a new white paper that suggests “redesigns” of the US healthcare system based on four core principles: 

  • Offer patients multiple choices in relationships /clinical solutions and enable them to receive savings resulting from making high value choices.
  • Consolidate and simplify payment transactions to reduce overhead expenses.
  • Strengthen the patient-physician relationship to focus on patient’s needs and health risks, while paying physicians on a subscription basis for services.
  • Improve teamwork and continuity by making payments on a bundled basis for complete solutions to medical problems, including care planning and recovery.

Now watch and listen as Dr. Valenti tells us more about The Physicians Foundation (Editor’s note: You will hear the audio of the interviewer’s voice but will not see the visual of the interviewer in this video)

Transcript of Video (by TranscriptionStar):

Joan:  Hello.  I’m Joan Justice with HealthWorks Collective, and I’m here today with Dr. Joseph Valenti of the Physicians Foundation, an organization founded in 2003 to support healthcare improvements in the delivery of patient care, provide physicians with the support system, promote physician leadership and education and further improve physician practices.  Today, the Physicians Foundation works closely with organizations and grantees across the United States to support the work of practicing physicians particularly those in solo and small practices.

 

Dr. Valenti is a board member of the Physicians Foundation and a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist for 13 years of private practice experience.  And he currently practices at Caring for Women in Denton, Texas.  Dr. Valenti, tell us a little bit about the Physicians Foundation and how and why it was started?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Thanks Joan, and thanks for having me today.  It was started as a offshoot of the RICO lawsuits against the insurance companies that went on in the beginning of the 2000s.  The judge awarded them the amount to be used a building not-for-profit.  They would be use for further work in those arenas.  The signatories on the lawsuit are now representing those states on the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

 

Joan:  Okay, well that’s really interesting, and explain a little bit how the Physicians Foundation works?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Yeah.  So we have a really dedicated group of people, and we have a grant making arm that identifies topics of need and we put it our piece for grants, sponsor whitepapers, subsponsor research in order that we might provide for healthcare decision making knowledge information can be used to the healthcare system.

 

Joan:  Okay well that’s really interesting.  And what about you said that you also work on the doctor-patient relationship, have you done any studies in that area?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Well, one of the things we done it to make a large grant to a group in Boston called Health Leads.  It is looking specifically at the social determinants of poverty, of social determinants of healthcare including focusing large poverty.  And what we have found in bettering that physician and patient relationship is that focusing on the issues that allow patients who really largely want to be compliant with care to be compliant with care the i.e. identifying their social needs, having a roof over their head, how to pay for heat, how to get clothing, how to get food that we really increased compliance with care in those arenas and Health Leads as a number of clinics throughout the country now and that grant making effort has gone a long way I think in demonstrating how we can better the physician-patient relationship.

 

Joan:  And I know we have talked a little previously about the patient self-managing management and patient self-monitoring and how patients can help themselves, and all of the tools and information that’s available in that area.  Can you comment a little bit about that and maybe some studies that you’ve done or some ideas that you’ve come across in those areas?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Yeah.  One of — what we looked is many of their key drivers contributing their healthcare cost and I think too long physicians have kind of been made the scapegoat what is driving healthcare, but what we found is for instance that technology and pharmaceutical those in hospitals, those in mandated affairs [Phonetic] [0:03:48] and end of life care [depressive] [0:03:51] mental health and studies all those things for applied care, but of course you know things like obesity and chronic disease and addiction those are the sorts of things that patients themselves could have an influence on and decrease their own cost with regard to care.

 

Joan:  And I know we also talked about this small physician practice and you’re pretty active in this area, and just mention a little bit what we talked about that a lot of small physician practices are getting eaten up by the hospitals?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Yeah Forbes probably recently had — run an article saying physician practice bankruptcy is at the record level, reinforcements and increasing cost and no way to pass those cost on, and what we are at in large responsible for that, and these practices because the hospitals want to control the referrals and because hospitals often times will get paid more than the private office through the same procedure.  They want to eat up those practices, get those procedures, and add to the bottom line and then so it’s all being kind of a perfect storm for hospitals to strengthen in their position well private practices are left to figure out how they can make ends meet with lower and lower reimbursement and higher and higher cost.

 

Joan:  And what do you think of the Brill article in Time magazine that got a lot of press and people were talking about that quite a bit?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Well, I think it’s good to have an article like that, that so many people have access to, to kind of pull back the covers and get some transparency about what the real drivers of cost care and cost of care.  I think what patients are going of out is as they shop around and become more educated about where their dollars are going they are going to find out their huge disparities in the same kinds of care perhaps at the same quality levels as well, so I think do well to educate themselves and I think the Time article, the Time new magazine article brings that out pretty well that there are huge disparities in the cost of care and what’s driving those disparities.

 

Joan:  Yes, it’s certainly yeah certainly made the new there. 

 

Dr. Valenti:  Yeah.

 

Joan:  Yeah and a lot of people talking about that.  And now what is your next step with the Physicians Foundation?  What will it take to have your plan succeed?  What can you hope for in the next let’s say one year or five years even out further?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Well, I hope very much that the Foundation will be able to achieve the level of data in education such that they will be a group that healthcare [Indiscernible] [0:06:24] makers will look at and speak with when it comes to deciding where policy is going.  I think we got a lot of good data and research out there showing what sorts of things are driving care, what things want and expect, what are the key physicians in the country practicing and I think you know it all hinges on the patients ability to get good care and for physicians to be able to deliver good care.

 

I mean hospitals are just buildings what makes them hospitals are nurses and doctors and patients, so we have to be able to preserve a certain level of income, and we have to be able to preserve certain level of choice for patients.  I think for them to be happy with the kind of care they’re getting, and we have to be able to deliver in a very cost effective way and when we start fairing out [Phonetic] [0:07:11] what the cost drivers are, and I think when people started finding out it’s not really the physicians that are driving the cost as much as it is to the — all these other disparities then what more able to adequately address where money is going and how to save money.

 

Joan:  Okay and what’s your — your — the final question what’s your call to action?  Let’s say for our readers, our people that would read this or read about the Physicians Foundation what, what would you want them to think or what would you want them to hope for, what would you want them to write about or tell their friends about or tell their family about?

 

Dr. Valenti:  Well, I think patients need to educate themselves.  I’m continually shocked and surprised that patients purchase insurance and don’t really know what they have purchased so when they find out they need a procedure and they have a huge deductible are there in any 20 plan where they got to be 20% they need to know what they are buying and I think I would strongly recommend people really read their policy not just look at what the basics are as what read what’s covered and not covered.

 

And what the cost are, and I think they’re going to be surprised to find out what’s really paying for and what is not being paid for.  I also think they need to understand under the new healthcare acts or law now, what things are covered and what things are not covered.  For instance where we’re routine gynecological care [Indiscernible] [0:08:32] exam, birth control that’s all — those are all compensated now.

 

So patients really need to be aware of that.  They need to be more active and I think they really need to find out what are driving cost and make themselves aware that it’s probably not their local doctor is trying to keep the doors open for patients that are driving in cost.  It’s the big players and not the big player in this kind of [Indiscernible] [0:08:58] of the perfect song which is insurance companies, hospitals and doctors.

 

Joan:  Yeah, okay good, very good point.  Thank you so much Dr. Valenti.  I will certainly keep track of the Physicians Foundation,.  We have a really broken healthcare system and there is no quick fix, so something really needs to —

 

Dr. Valenti:  No.  We want to say, we want to help fix it because ultimately without happy healthy patients and without excellent providers there really isn’t a healthcare system.  There isn’t anything so we got to have that and we can’t let that fall apart.

 

Joan:  And you are working towards it which is great.

 

Dr. Valenti:  We are.  We try everyday working towards it.

 

Joan:  Okay, well thank you so much for your time.

 

Dr. Valenti:  Hey thank you for interviewing.  I appreciate it.

 

To see other videos in this series, please go to this page.  And if you have a story to tell that can reduce healthcare costs and raise quality of care, please comment below or email me at joan@socialmediatoday.com  Thanks!

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