OLATHE, Kan. - A local medical center is now asking patients to sign new documentation including a living will and a pledge to live healthier. A Gardner, Kan., man was surprised by the new documents when he went in for his routine yearly checkup.
Ed Spanknoble said he was taken back when his doctor gave him nine sheets of paperwork at that September checkup.
"This is all I used to get -- this one pink sheet," Spanknoble said, pointing to one of the sheets.
Instead, Spanknoble got new paperwork, including a patient-doctor agreement and a patient self-management plan. Both contained a long list of questions asking him to document what he thought was wrong with his health, and how he intended to manage it.
"It says, 'I will what?' Take my medicine every day. 'When?' Every day. 'Where?' At my house, I guess. 'How often?' Whenever the doctor tells me to. 'What may prevent me from achieving my goals?' I might forget to take the medicine," he read.
But more surprising to Spanknoble were the last two pages of documents -- a Power of Attorney document for Healthcare Decisions and a Living Will Declaration.
Spanknoble said he did not fill those out.
"It made me wonder why I was being given this in a regular doctor's visit," he said.
Olathe Medical Center officials said there is a simple explanation -- it's for the good of his health.
Shawn Pearcy, RN, helped write the Patient Centered Medical Home questionnaire.
"Patient participation actually makes them think about their care a bit better," Pearcy explained.
Dr. Danielle Perry, a family care physician at the Olathe Medical Center, said she likes the new program.
"What this comes down to is healthier patients," Perry said. "I'm just trying to provide good patient care to all my patients."
But Spanknoble disagreed.
He believes it is a government-led effort to drive down health care costs.
"I think it's about controlling costs. Again, my health program is between my doctor and me," he said. "My question is where is this going and who wants this?"
Olathe Medical Center said it agrees -- healthier patients mean lower health care costs.
"We do realize that healthier patients don't have to use as many resources" Perry said.
Insurance companies also said they must cut costs because the Affordable Care Act is making services available to 32 million additional people in 2014.
Those patients currently have no insurance, so they are often forced to use the emergency room as their primary care physician, increasing costs for all.
The hospital said questionnaires like these will open up a dialog between the patient and doctor that not only teaches people to be healthier, but encourages those who may have never had a relationship with a doctor to start doing so.
"The research is coming out that's showing good outcomes with this, and therefore more hospitals and clinics are jumping on the bandwagon offering it to patients," Perry said.
But Spanknoble is still skeptical.
"Nobody likes to go to the DMV," Spanknoble said. "Well now that hassle seems like it's coming to the doctor's office."
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