A Return To Healing: Radical Health Care Reform and the Future of Medicine. By Len Saputo, MD, with Byron Belitsos
We Can Heal Our Broken Health Care System: Pioneering doctor offers sweeping solutions that Washington needs to heed
For decades he'd been a front-line witness to the failure of America's health care. Then he founded the Health Medicine movement. Next he opened one of America's first integrative medical clinics. And now in his newest book, having paid some dues, Dr. Len Saputo is raising some embarrassing questions:
· Why are health care costs bankrupting millions of us—while millions have no coverage at all?
· Why is our health care ranked 37th in the world—yet is twice as expensive per person?
· Why are we suffering from an epidemic of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes?
· Why do we ignore prevention as well as the proven treatments of integrative medicine?
Much more than a critic, Dr. Saputo—author of A Return to Healing: Radical Health Care Return and the Future of Medicine (Origin Press: September, 2009)—advocates a refreshing and far-reaching set of reforms. Saputo's recommendations include:
· Comparative research into all possible treatments, including traditional and alternative
· Paradigm change for medicine—favoring an integrative treatment methodolog
· Non-invasive, natural treatments as the first line of defense
· An ambitious five-point national plan for prevention and wellness
· National health care insurance for all, including coverage for “alternative” treatments
According to Larry Dossey, MD (bestselling author of “Reinventing Medicine”), this unique blend of reforms is “exceptional—wise, workable, and utterly necessary.” Dr. Saputo's Diagnosis for America's Chief Domestic Problem
Our health care system is broken, says the author in his opening chapters, because we're obsessed with curing symptoms once disease occurs—rather than focusing on healing and wellness strategies—and we've commercialized this obsession. Our medical-industrial system searches for the symptoms that can be most profitably treated, leaving huge gaps in coverage where less money can be made.
A Return to Healing also includes eye-opening chapters on the perils and scandalous practices of “Big Pharma” as well as on medicine’s misleading claim to the mantle of “science.”
The author’s quest to transform our dysfunctional system led him in 1995 to create the Health Medicine Forum, which has been highly influential in his native San Francisco Bay Area. But Saputo is a crusader for change on an even broader scale. “Corporatized medicine opens up America’s health care and medical institutions to corruption by moneyed interests. This leads to skyrocketing expenses for the care we do deliver. The Rx,” says Dr. Saputo, “requires far-reaching paradigmatic and institutional change.”
The Unstoppable Rise of the New Medicine
The final chapters of A Return to Healing explain where we need to go next: If the twentieth century brought us unsustainable “disease-care” medicine based on profit, the twenty-first century will witness its replacement by integral-health medicine based on genuine service. This new style of medicine is already well evolved, writes Saputo, and is exemplified in his own integrative clinic that he founded in 2001, called the Health Medicine Center.
“The new paradigm of integral-health medicine seeks the best-evidenced solutions from mainstream, alternative, and traditional medical disciplines alike,” explains Saputo. “It focuses on the causes of disease rather than just symptoms; it works in collaboration with nature for the sake of genuine healing, rather than pursuing a war against symptoms.”
Single-payer Health Insurance: Necessary But Not Sufficient
Saputo and co writer Byron Belitsos close the book by arguing that single-payer national insurance—even a system as progressive as those in Canada or France—is a necessary but insufficient solution to our health-care challenge. (“Single-payer” insurance is the equivalent of “Medicare for all”.) They show why a transformed medical paradigm is needed along with broad reform in the delivery of care, and that the two are inseparable. The efficiencies provided by the new “integral” model of medicine—with its emphasis on prevention, support for the patient’s innate healing power, and non-invasive, natural treatments as the first line of defense—will lower costs, thus opening the way to guaranteed care for all Americans—that is, quality health care that is truly sustainable.
“The vision expressed in A Return to Healing stands out as exceptional—wise, workable, and utterly necessary to steer us from a disease-care model to an authentic, genuine, health care approach.”
—Larry Dossey, MD, Author of The Power of Premonitions and Reinventing Medicine
“Through his personal journey that began as a Duke University–trained MD and led to his being one of our most prominent integrative care practitioners, Len Saputo has seen it all. In A Return to Healing, Len pilots us through our failing medical system and failing health to a brighter future of peak health and a system of health care that works.”
—Lee Lipsenthal, MD, Author of Finding Balance in a Medical Life, Past President of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine
“Finally—the book to tell the whole truth about our ailing health care system and how to overhaul it. Len Saputo, MD, and co-author Byron Belitsos offer an honest and radically refreshing new strategy for reform.”
—Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, Department Chair, Integrative Health Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies
About the Authors
Len Saputo, MD, a 1965 graduate of Duke University Medical School, is board certified in internal medicine, and was in private practice in affiliation with John Muir Medical Center for more than thirty years. After his awakening to the deep flaws in conventional medicine, Saputo developed a new paradigm that is now known as integral-health medicine. Len founded the Health Medicine Forum in 1994, and went on to found and direct the Health Medicine Center in Walnut Creek, California—one the first integrative clinics. Len is the coauthor of Boosting Immunity: Creating Wellness Naturally (New World Library, 2002; has edited six books, including Beating the Years and Boosting Your Digestive Health.
Byron Belitsos is a widely published journalist, author, and editor. He was educated at the University of Chicago and was an inaugural member of the Integral Institute.
$21.95 • Cloth • Origin Press • 272 pages
978-1-57983-052-6 • Distributed by Atlas Books
Pub date: September 21, 2009
Email the publisher: email@example.com
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