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Small Town Doc Talks Healthcare with White House

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 9, 2012

Prevention is the best and most cost-effective weapon against this epidemic, and McKnight says the 1,300 graduates of his Fit For Life program are sending the message that people want to be empowered.

"They are tired being told there is a pill for every problem, but they're not given alternatives," he says. "The primary care docs don't really know better. They're saying 'no, you can't reverse this. This is the way it is going to be.' So people are taking pills. They're suffering through side effects. They are spending a lot of money, but they are still having heart attacks and they're feeling disempowered."

McKnight says improving health outcomes for patients means that primary care physicians have to understand their patients' belief systems, emotional state, and family dynamics at a granular level. That's a task he feels is ill-suited for policy wonks, however well intentioned.

"Washington has the ability to do some things, but this change needs to be at the grass roots where we address the whole person," he says. "It's the message of hope and empowerment that has made this program successful."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Small Town Doc Talks Healthcare with White House"


Leslie Johnston (5/10/2012 at 10:32 AM)
Not only does Dr. McKnight get that primary healthcare takes place outside of office visits, he understands what Doctor Patient Medical Assocaiton (www.doctorsandpatients.org) shares as a guiding principal, patient and doctor autonomy. The delicate balance of government, as in this case, responding to the needs of a specific community versus dictating mandates for the entire population. Medical care is best when medical professionals and patients are able to make decisions unfettered by restrictions, mandates, rationing or other interference by government, insurance or other third parties.

David Gustafson (5/9/2012 at 3:55 PM)
This guy gets it. Nutrition, and the willingness to think outside of the allopathic box are two of the keys to getting our healthcare system under control.