Doctor talks health and wellness at 32nd Hampton U. BFC

By CHRISTOPHER TORRES

It has been many months since President Obama first unveiled his plan for healthcare reform. Over those months, the health care plan has undergone several changes as Republicans and Democrats attempt to find common ground.

The healthcare debate hits home for several college students around the country as their future healthcare system hangs in the balance.

The talk reached Hampton University Thursday afternoon March 18 as it hosted its 32nd annual Black Family Conference. The university’s Student Center Theater was the venue for the “Wellness at Work” seminar. Dr. Richard Perryman, co-author of the book “Discover Wellness at Work,” addressed the predominantly HU student crowd on the current state of U.S. healthcare and why he believes change is needed.

Perryman talked to gatherers about what he dubbed “health response-ability.”

Said Perryman, “We need health insurance as well as health assurance.”

He elaborated on how chronic disease is a major factor in the current state of American health. The costs of chronic disease cost $1.6 trillion last year, he said. The time allotted for that amount to double in spending is seven years and growing smaller. The current amount of chronic disease treatment averages at $400,000 per household.

Perryman also discussed Medicare. In “Discover Wellness at Work,” Perryman and co-author David Walker said the current Medicare debt could bankrupt the United States in 20 years. Two-thirds of spending for Medicare are for people with five or more chronic conditions.

“Only solution: More people, less sick[ness],” said Perryman

He later discussed the need for healthcare awareness for schools. On a list of healthiest countries in the world the United States ranks 37th. An average of $8,130 is spent per year for every man, woman, and child in the US on Medicare, versus just $1.21 per year on awareness and prevention programs.

Perryman then spoke on notable flaws in the current health care system. On a recent family trip in San Diego he was stung by a sting ray. While at the hospital being treated for the sting, his foot was placed in a tub of hot water. The swelling in his foot disappeared within minutes. Perryman’s foot became well and he was released.

A year later, Perryman was in the process of changing his health care coverage when he received a notice saying that he could not. The notice stated that the prevention was due to a “treatment for a heart condition last year in San Diego.” Perryman was wrongly diagnosed, and the process took six months to legally have the diagnosis corrected.

He said the wrongful diagnosis was the result of what is called an ICD-9 code. The code is a process in which a condition is swiftly diagnosed, in many cases with little in-depth research. The patient is immediately given some form of treatment to care for the diagnosed condition.

“It simply goes by ‘name it, blame it, tame it,’” said Perryman.

He hopes that beginning with the new health care plan, there will be much less “naming, blaming, and taming.”   

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