The Buchholz Medical Group is dedicated to serving the needs of patients and families facing cancer and other medical illnesses. Our office believes in the principles of Pranja (Wisdom or Understanding), Karuna (Compassion) and Seva (Service). This web site is designed to keep our patients informed and to provide support and suggestions for patients everywhere.
Comprehensive care for the patient and family with cancer
Our health care delivery system is broken. In an effort to contain costs the traditional healing relationship between patient and physician has been devalued and subordinated to an economic relationship between insurance companies or HMOs and “covered lives.” Medical decisions are often based upon costs rather than caring. Patients and physicians alike are dissatisfied with inefficient bureaucracies, fragmented health care and disrupted relationships. The central goal of medicine--to make and keep patients healthy--has been lost. The real center of the medicine--the doctor-patient relationship--has been lost.
While the culture struggles to find solutions to these problems we propose a “Common Sense Model of Medical Care” based upon an educated partnership between patient and physician. Insurance is necessary to pay for care but should not determine care. Physicians are expected to consider the needs of the whole patient, proving direct medical care, education, and preventive services. Patients are expected to be active partners, working along with their doctor, pursuing common goals.
Education is a necessary part of any treatment program. We either provide or refer to classes on stress reduction, exercise, nutrition, developing healthy pleasures, understanding medications, motivation and motivational blocks, dealing with depression, dealing with panic disorders, etc.
No one medical system has all the answers. Illness affects both body and mind, emotions and spirit, the individual and the family. For many serious illnesses full recovery requires addressing all of these: the physical effects on the body, the psychological effects on the mind, and the impact on the family system. Conventional medicine is very good at treating certain problems such as some cancers, pneumonia, heart attacks, etc. Psychotherapy is effective in treating emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and family crises. Complementary therapies have value in treating many problems that are not effectively addressed by conventional practices. When all of these are integrated, they offer a broader approach to complex problems than any one discipline can provide.
We see patients in PPOs and various health plans. We recognize, however, that what the insurance companies define as a “covered benefit” and are willing to pay for may not be adequate to solve the health problems patients have. We urge you to accept the fact that insurance will not cover all of your medical expenses and be prepared to “self insure” for the services you want or need.
Philosophy of Cancer Care
The diagnosis of cancer precipitates a maelstrom of events. There are tests, often surgery, a sometimes overwhelming sense of being out of control, decisions to be made under pressure, and a confrontation with one’s own mortality. Patients and families may need a guide to assist them successfully through this process. We believe that cancer should be treated according to the following principles.
1) There is always hope. No matter how dismal the prognosis, there are always cases where patients proved their doctors wrong and outlived expectations. If there is not hope for cure then there is hope for remission. If there is little hope for length of days then there is always hope for a quality life and a meaningful life. False despair is no remedy for false hope; acceptance of where a patient is and support for change does help.
2) The wound of cancer is far more complex than a surgical incision. The whole person and his or her family and friends are affected physically, emotionally and spiritually. A comprehensive treatment program understands this and addresses the unique needs of each individual, treating the person as well as the disease.
3) No one system of medicine has all the answers. Conventional medicine has very powerful and useful treatments for certain cancers. Other aspects of treatment are better addressed by complementary therapies. Psychological techniques likewise are important in dealing with attitudes and emotions and their effects on recovery. A comprehensive program considers all of these systems and is inclusive rather than exclusive.
4) Work smarter, not just harder. Developing a strategy to deal with cancer requires knowing not only what treatments to use but when to use them. Patients may correctly conclude that they must change their diet or deal with spiritual concerns. This might have to be delayed while surgery to prevent a bowel obstruction takes precedence. Fighting cancer alone is too exhausting, patients should use all their resources and support.
5) Each person’s healing is unique. Although not everyone is cured, the potential for becoming whole again is possible for all of us. Each of us has the potential to be a hero or to grow wiser. We need to take care of ourselves, honor what is most precious within us, and at the same time become more forgiving of our own humanity. What makes cancer a heroic journey is the style in which it is done.
6) Hospice care and palliative care are important options. There comes a time when the struggle to prolong life becomes undesirable and the quality of life takes precedence. We honor that decision and continue to provide the very best possible supportive care including pain and symptom control.
Patient Bill of Rights
PATIENTS: Have the right to be treated courteously and respectfully as human beings, not diseases. They have the right to be informed in non-technical language what is wrong, what treatments are proposed, what the side effects may be, and what alternatives are possible. They have the right to have family members or friends present at any visit and may tape record or take notes at any time (particularly useful for consultations). If patients do not speak English well, they should have a translator present. All medical records are treated as confidential; when requested, however, patients may view their own records. Patients have a right to expect professional conduct from our office which includes being seen, emergencies permitting, within a reasonable time of the scheduled appointment. Patients have a right to refuse treatment which they do not feel is right for them without prejudicing their other care. They are encouraged to discuss with their physicians their views on advanced directives and limitations on life support.
PHYSICIANS & STAFF: Have the right to be treated courteously and respectfully as human beings. They are human beings and are not perfect, even though they do the best job they can. They have the right to expect cooperation from patients and families in order to provide care. Because there are other patients who need attention, they have the obligation to limit social conversations that interfere with patient care. They have a right to expect patients to keep track of and be on time for appointments. They have a right to be paid for their services in accord with insurance contracts or individual agreements.