Ep28 - Ripped Off by the American Healthcare System, Dr. Gilbert Simon


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On today's episode of The Pursuit of Health Podcast, Dr. Fethke is joined by a pediatrician leader and educator who has practiced for over half a century, Dr. Gilbert Simon. Dr. Simon started his pediatric career at Columbia University’s Babies & Children’s Hospital during the same era as many of Dr. Fethke’s most esteemed mentors. After years of working in the metropolitan northeast in a prestigious academic center, Dr. Simon made a life-changing career move to the west coast where he ultimately founded and served as the Medical Director and CEO of the Sacramento Family Medical Clinics. It was here that all his experience, including his military service in the 1960’s working for a branch of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, came in handy.

He ultimately ran the clinics for low income families in Sacramento California with virtually 100% Medicaid fixed resources which “lasted 26 years longer than anyone believed I could,” by identifying and decreasing wasteful healthcare expenses. In 2019 Dr Simon gathered all of his experience and lessons learned while running the California clinic and serving as a subcommittee member of California Medical Association’s Medi-Cal to write an amazing and must read book - RIPPED OFF! Overtested and Overcharged, the American Healthcare Mess.

During our discussion with Dr. Simon from his California home office, he shared some of the highlights from his book, including the overuse of Unnecessary Services, Inflated Prices, Fraud, Excess Administrative Costs, and the Lack of Coordination and Fragmentation. Along the way he provides some very clear and practical examples of each of these problems that combined have created the “Mess” that U.S. Healthcare finds itself in today.

As with many of the wonderful clinician leaders and visionary guests on our podcast, Dr. Simon provides solutions to the myriad problems he has identified and so clearly revealed in his book for lay people, policymakers and healthcare professionals alike. Most importantly, he can back up his vision and recommendations by years of his own success facing many of these issues in his pioneering career. Dr. Simon gives us a sense of sober hope that our healthcare system can be salvaged and benefit from the exceptional work of those who have come before us and will follow in the future. We would all do well to heed his advice before it is too late.

As always, we at The Pursuit of Health Podcast look forward to our audience response to this and any of our episodes. We can be reached at drfeethkemd on Facebook and Instagram and our website-drfethkemd.com.

Book References:

  1. RIPPED OFF! Overtested, Overtreated and Overcharged, the American Healthcare Mess. Paper Raven Books. March 3 2020.
  2. www.gilbertsimonmd.com

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