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Open Letter to Health Care Patients

Published June 22, 2012 @ 9:22 a.m.

Dear Patients and fellow Garza County Citizens,

Let me first apologize for my abrupt departure from the clinic.  I know it caught a lot of you off guard.  A door was closed for me that I probably never could have closed myself, but God has opened other doors that I'm obligated to walk through.  Physician Network Services felt like it was in the best interest of everyone involved that I move into a full-time status with my nutritional medicine practice at my downtown office and not try to work part-time at both facilities as I had proposed.  I was hoping to be able work mornings at the Garza County Health Clinic and afternoons at my cash-only nutritional clinic downtown, but this didn't work out, probably best for all involved.  Dr. Chad Gray who grew up in Littlefield and is a great man and physician will be taking over my duties at GCHC.  I feel 100% confident in the high level of care he will be able to provide each and everyone of you.  I highly recommend him and would send my own family to him.  Please don't hesitate to utilized his services.  Also, Angie Hannaway is still available to see patients at GCHC.

As many of you know, I have shifted my practice focus the past few months to a more nutritionally minded practice that focuses on chronic disease reversal, not just treatment.  Current medical education focuses on training young physicians in the art of managing symptoms and diseases with pharmaceuticals to such a degree that we often lose the art of healing.  We lose site of how the body is designed to heal itself if given the proper tools (ie nutrition).  Only 6% of medical students get any teaching in nutrition.  I received one hour of nutrition education in 4 years of medical school.  Furthermore, the current American system of 3rd party payers (insurance and medicare/medicaid) is full of red tape and regulations which requires a dedicated team of employees to wade through everyday.  Lots of employees equals lots of expense to cover salary and benefits.  Reimbursement rates are so low that a primary care physician is forced to try and see a patient every 10-15 minutes in order to see enough patients to pay his employees and himself.  When I am teaching someone how to unleash their body's natural abilities to heal itself, the average visit is 2 hours long.  So, I can only see 4 patients a day at this rate.  Obviously a traditional clinic with these low reimbursement rates wouldn't be able be financially sustainable; therefore, these nutrition education appointments must be cash only.  As I have told many of you, any physician or nurse practitioner can provide you with the same standard prescriptions that I have been providing for you for 6 years.  However, there are very few who have been trained in how to help teach and guide a patient down a path of true healing through nutrition.  Probably every physician I know believes that most of the symptoms/diseases we deal with every day would resolve on their own with proper diet and exercise and weight reduction.  However, current medical education doesn't teach us how to do that and the current reimbursement system makes it impossible to spend the required time to teach patients what to do.  The demand for this information is great, and I feel like God has called me to this new path.

"I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement, and I will do no harm or injustice to them"-Hippocrates,the father of modern medicine.  This is part of the oath I took upon graduation from medical school.  I take it seriously.  Since I have now received a more proper education in nutrition from 5 leading physicians from around the country, I must offer to my patients what I have learned.  Cardiovascular disease and obesity rates are rising and our current system doesn't have a good answer for it.  The current paradigm of one symptom, one pill is not working.  For patients that are sick and tired of being sick and tired, I now have more to offer them, and I am obligated to do that. 

I will be seeing patients at my downtown office by appointment only with a focus on nutritional education and chronic disease reversal.  Again, I strongly encourage you to utilize Dr. Gray and the services at Garza County Health Clinic for your acute care needs and chronic disease management.  I would like to say a special thank you to all the staff at Garza County Health Clinic. You all are a first class group, hard working and dedicated to your fellow citizens.  I am proud of what we have accomplished together over the past 6 years, going from a dilapidated, old clinic running $10,000 a month deficits to a million dollar, state of the art clinic that is fully paid for and plenty of money in the bank to meet the healthcare needs of the county.  It has been an honor and privilege to take care of you all.  Thank you for entrusting me with your healthcare.

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