Three Years Later, ‘The Wedge’ Continues to Give Patients and Doctors a Pathway to Health Freedom
Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Initiative Brings Patients and Doctors Together in a Third-Party-Free, Patient-Centered Network That Restores Simplicity, Affordability and Confidentiality
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Three years ago, as the medical treatment system grew ever-more bureaucratic and less patient-centered, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF, www.cchfreedom.org) launched an initiative to call physicians and other practitioners back to freedom and give patients a way to find these affordable practitioners.
Practicing outside today’s restrictive health plans and government programs allows physicians and other practitioners to care for their patients better, give them more privacy and eliminate the unnecessary costs of third-party payment—both for themselves and for patients.
To transform America’s health care system, and as part of its mission to defend patient and doctor freedom, CCHF unveiled an exciting new health freedom initiative on June 28, 2016. Today, more than 340 practitioners at 326 clinics in 47 states have joined The Wedge of Health Freedom (www.JointheWedge.com), which is using third-party-free direct payment to transform the entire medical care and coverage system back to patient and doctor freedom and restore simplicity, affordability and confidentiality.
The Wedge was launched to address America’s troubled medical system—where high prices and bureaucratic government reporting requirements are the norm; where one-size-fits-all treatments and narrow networks limit patient choices and tie doctors’ hands; where intrusive questionnaires and data-sharing without consent put patients’ privacy and autonomy at risk; and where impersonal bureaucratic processes and managed care controls inhibit a true doctor-patient relationship.
“Today, three years after its inception, The Wedge of Health Freedom remains a free-trade zone for medical care,” said CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase. “Wedge-like practices were already operating nationwide, but patients had no way of finding them, so the goal of The Wedge is to draw the public’s attention to this patient-centered, freedom-embracing slice of American medicine. The Wedge now helps make this invisible zone visible, and brings patients and doctors together for patient-friendly, price-friendly and privacy-friendly care. This is the ethical way medical care once was and what it must become again.”
CCHF recently profiled Dr. Peter Lazzopina of Frontier Direct Primary Care in Harlingen, Texas, which has been listed as a Wedge practice since opening its doors last summer.
Lazzopina, a family doctor for 10 years, has served thousands of patients with a variety of medical needs in one of the poorest counties in Texas and in the country. After his residency, he spent seven years instructing family medicine residents to be compassionate, competent physicians. During that time, however, he witnessed a drastic deterioration in the family physicians’ ability to take care of their patients. He found that intrusive insurance companies, overbearing electronic medical records and ever-increasing charges made medicine increasingly inaccessible for people who fall through the cracks of the American medical care system. So to offer top-notch medical care to his community at a reasonable price, Lazzopina started Frontier Direct Primary Care last July.
“To be perfectly honest, I have been a little surprised at how fast we have grown,” said Dr. Lazzopina. “Everyone said that our town was too poor and that too many people were reliant on government safety nets for our practice model to succeed. Frontier’s success proves that there is a demand for accessible, affordable health care and that people are willing to pay a reasonable price for excellent service. … I’ve had several patients tell me they have found my practice looking for cash pay practices on The Wedge!”
One of the reasons patients seek a Wedge practice is privacy. Brase is the author of the award-winning book, “Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records,” where she exposes how the government-certified electronic health record, which practitioners are required to use or face Medicare penalties, has negatively affected doctors and their patients.
“As Dr. Lazzopina stated, the government-mandated EHR—and its exorbitant costs, privacy violations and security risks—is just one reason doctors are walking away from what most patients know as ‘traditional’ practices and opting for fee for service or direct primary care practices that are inside ‘The Wedge of Health Freedom,’” Brase said.
The Wedge is a nationwide movement to build public awareness of this affordable option, make this attractive free-trade zone for medical care visible, legislatively defend it and build it large enough that it can never be taken away. The online center for The Wedge—www.JointheWedge.com—allows doctors to learn how they can operate a Wedge practice, and provides patients with a map of Wedge practices so they can find doctors who incorporate the eight Wedge principles:
- Transparent and affordable pricing
- Freedom of choice
- True patient privacy
- No government reporting
- No outside interference
- Cash-based pricing
- A protected patient-doctor relationship
- All patients welcome
For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Also view the media page for CCHF here. For more about CCHF’s initiative The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @WedgeofFreedom.