83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
The film starts with a story about the Mann Gulch fire in 1949 in a forest preserve in Montana. As most of the crew ran away from the fire just a few yards behind them one of the few survivors lit a match setting fire to grass in front of him and successfully creating a circle of protection around him later called an "escape fire". Firefighters outside this region perished creating a metaphor for the current state of healthcare in United States. That being that the entire system will likely not be reformed and that smaller focused efforts will likely create immediate corrections in the many deficiencies in delivery of healthcare plaguing the current system.
Although the film was somewhat weak on providing supporting details, it was nevertheless, thought-provoking and insightful. It outlined multiple corporate interests including the insurance industry, the legal lobby, big pharmaceuticals, and device manufacturers who all profit from maintaining status quo. "They don't want you to die, but they don't want you to get better.... they just want you coming back". It points out that virtually all financial incentives in delivery of healthcare in America are ultimately based on increased numbers, volume and productivity rather then quality, outcomes or effectiveness of a given treatment.
A former insurance executive correctly pointed out that insurance companies with the expectation that most policyholders will change insurers as frequently as one a year have little incentive to pay for preventative medicine. It is contrary to the interest of the insurance company shareholders.
Fast tracking of the drug of Avandia by the FDA, which was recalled due to its 30% increased risk of cardiac complications after becoming the world's most widely prescribed diabetes medication. The Pharmaceutical company suppressed negative data about higher cardiac mortality which elegantly underscores this point. Political lobbying by the large corporate interests virtually guarantees meaningful health care reform through political channels is impossible and that grassroots approaches at smaller regional levels are the most promising source of reform at this time.
On a bright note, it showed how the supermarket chain Safeway was successful in bringing down a billion-dollar healthcare budget 40% by instituting preventative healthcare maintenance incentives to employees. Using auto insurance as a model for reduction in premiums based on driving records. Reductions in healthcare insurance premiums were given for demonstrated non-smoking, blood pressure control, cholesterol control, and maintaining a BMI of less than 30.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
The film depicts the true state of affairs in the U.S. A publication from the National Research Council Jan. 2013 "Shorter Lives, Poorer Health" which describes the U.S. when compared to 16 peer countries. The reasons from the film is in large part:
I. Medical Industrial Complex
II. Dr.Donald Berwick recent director of Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) blamed the medical industrial lobbyists.
And the record confirms:
III. In 2005 Sept./Oct. Health Affairs, an academic journal, published 4 articles by experts about the current status of Electronic Health Care(EHR). The lead article said extensive use of EHR by physicians and hospitals would save money and improve health. At the end of the paper: "was sponsored by Cerner, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson and Johnson".
The other 3 articles said the available EHR systems and programs were NOT capable of achieving the described goals. They did not report any conflict of interest. The federal government proceeded with a multi-billion program.
The Vendors required certification of their products by The National Coordinator for Health Information, a Federal Agency. Seven years and Billions of dollars spent, a paper in Health Affairs Jan. 2013- "What It Will Take To Achieve the As-Yet-Unfulfilled Promises of Health Information Technology". Health care has not improved and money has not been saved. Examples-We are still unable to communicate medical information electronically except in the same health systems.
Request and receipt of patient medical records from the Veterans Administration are by U.S. Mail only, 10-14 days.(Not even Fax machines.)
There is a long list of EHR problems described in the Jan. 2013 article and the NY Times.
1V. Reported in the New York Times Jan.19, 2013, by Eric Lipton and Eric Sack the following: Buried in Section 632 of the "fiscal Cliff" bill a second 2 year delay of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that will benefit Amgen, 1/2 billion dollars. Amgen employs 74 lobbyists and contributes heavily to prominant politicians of both political parties.
V. I and other physicians and healthcare providers have ideas that have proven effective and can improve medical care and/or reduce costs. The only portal is through Medicare Innovation but does not acknowledge receipt of idea or acceptance or rejection nor guarantee participation if accepted. My sense is the bureaucrats in the Department of HHS believe they can manage the healthcare changes from D.C. without the participation of the active caregivers.
VI. A healthy lifestyle, with medicines as needed, can prevent most first and repeat heart attacks, thus reducing need for expensive angioplasty, stents and bypass surgery and saving lives and money. A major reason these services are not provided is none or inadequate reimbursement for physicians and support staff. Insurance pays lots to Docs and hospitals to treat heart attack and very little to prevent them.
Probably only the voting public along with the enlightened members of the medical profession can change the dynamic.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
Beyond the political one liners, here is an engaging film from US experts and journalists on the fact of our US health care system which is not improving health or care. It demonstrates the complex issues of health care. It shows how our US system incentivises volume over health care. It shows what could be done, what has been done elsewhere and in innovative centers throughout the US. It shows how all these models can be used to REFORM the organizational and payment system to provide a system that improves health. Within the Accountable Care Act that is so complex and misunderstood are the incentives for these new models. Rather than incentivize hospitals to put heads in beds, they need to ensure appropriate, timely, safe and patient oriented care when needed as part of a team of health care professionals working to improve health. Once the system of care teams are paid and reorganized to improve health, service to patients is the focus, prevention of what is preventable, rapid diagnosis and treatment of disease and seriously improved care for the 20% of people who have one or many chronic illnesses and use 80-90% of our health dollars. These programs can save 30% from administrative and waste reduction and 30% in improving health. We can have a system oriented to patient satisfaction and health at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost. We can do this to put money back in people's pockets and ensure our US economy can become more competitive going forward. This movie is a must see for every patient, every care giver and everyone involved in health care in America.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2013
Over two years ago, someone gave me a copy of "Forks Over Knives" DVD to watch and said it would change my life. Little did I know how prophetic that statement was to become. After watching FOK, I read "The China Study" and almost anything I could from Dr. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal Bernard or John McDougall. Every one of these doctors discovered sometime in their careers that the American healthcare system was broken as is the American diet.
After switching to a mainly whole food lifestyle consisting of mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc. in about a year my cholesterol dropped from 172 to 141, my triglycerides dropped from 179 to 80. My weight went from 212 to 170. During the summer, I bike over 40 miles a week along with walking about 20 miles a week. Being in NE Ohio, winters make me scale back my outdoor activities somewhat, but I still walk plenty and hit the gym 4 or 5 times a week.
I'm not saying I don't have some pizza or a burger and beer every few months, but it is extremely rare. A lot of my family look at me as a loon of some sort. Wanna know why? Because a majority of them are or were employed by the Cleveland Clinic. Not doctors or surgeons, but they know what goes on behind the scenes. I know this documentary talks a lot about the good things that the Clinic is doing, but in the general public's perception, that is all on the fringe. Eat burgers and fries and drink soda all your life....have a heart attack, go to the #1 cardiovascular hospital in the world and get fixed right up......resume unhealthy lifesytle, try to maintain your unhealthy lifestyle with pills and procedures because that's what the doctors told you to do.
It's amazing to me when I eat lunch at work and a lot of my coworkers use terms like "rabbit-food", or "hippie" because I usually only eat fruits and vegetables. Yet these are the same coworkers who are suffering from obesity, diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney problems, etc. And these are the same people who complain the loudest when our boss announces the yearly insurance premium increase.
Most doctors will NEVER discuss changing your eating habits because THERE IS NO MONEY IN HEALTH!!!! They want you to be sick, they want you to stay on medications, because thats where the money is.
Why do you think the Republicans were so vehemently opposed to The Affordable Care Act(Obamacare)to the point of plunging the US economy into default? Because the doctors and pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars off of this broken healthcare system. Why would they want to make it efficient and practical? And they are the ones lining the pockets of the Republicans.
This documentary, as well as a whole host of other films and books, prove it can be done. But like Escape Fire says, until the compensation system in the healthcare industry is changed, nothing else will.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2013
And this documentary explores exactly why that is, leading you through the lives of doctors, their patients, and the ins and outs of the healthcare industry as it is today.
Everything in this documentary is well made and spot on and keeps your rapt attention -even my husband who normally loathes watching anything documentary-style watched it with me when he got home early from work and I had this on.
The beauty in this film is that there really is nothing controversial about it. It doesn't mud sling anyone and really portrays doctors and healthcare workers in a very good light. It shows the effects of the current standards in medicine and how these standards keep patients from getting the care they really need and keeps doctors from practicing the kind of medicine they really want to practice. It shows how lobbyists and corporate interests really are hurting people in their quest to make money. There is a spider web of factors here, but what is REALLY apparent in this common sense look at what's really going on is that corporate interests are hurting people and (as usual) the root of all evil is stretching out its claws into this industry with the effect that both patients and doctors are hurt -or, if you will, sick.
The most damning thing about this film is its simplicity and its common sense approach. There is virtually no PR company in the world that can hide the insidious truth once a light in shined on it as it is shined here. Really, those at the top whose decisions are hurting people need to take a hard look in the mirror (and perhaps seek out their inner goodness or belief in God) and decide what kind of person they want to be when it comes to this industry that affects so many people -do they want to perpetuate healthcare or sickcare? Really, that is a choice we're at right now in this country. The diseases of the past have largely been eradicated and now doctors are dealing with patients whose diseases and chronic illnesses are almost entirely related to the Standard American Diet (SAD, for short), the lack of real nutrients in their food, sedentary lifestyles, and vices-of-choice (overeating, alcohol, drug, or cigarette addictions).
The truth is apparent to anyone looking hard enough: our bodies want to be healthy. Health, barring any congenital diseases, is a part of our blueprint and is what our bodies are always trying to achieve. Instead of using pharmaceuticals to "hide" the symptoms of a problem we have --doctors (and patients!) need to seek out the root and work to CURE the patient of their malady whenever possible.
If this means eating less McDonalds and less sweets and more raw foods, vegetables, raw juices than this is what needs to be ENCOURAGED. This is what needs to be financially incentived. And again, this film doesn't go very far into the real natural cures that are available (excepting the case of acupuncture as used now by the military) but does explore how (again) the root of all evil -money, drives what is happening and what COULD happen in our country.
I personally believe that those profiting at the top would let the country become the cancer capital of the world (oops -it already is) and much more before they even think about giving up profits to help people or their doctors. Actually, I personally believe they would literally NEVER stop the current system as it is no matter how much harm it generates.
This is why films like these need to be shared, reviewed, and seen by as many patients (everyone) and their doctors and nurses as possible.
On a personal note:
My mother developed severe chemical allergies after living for years next to one of the country's top sources of pollution -Plant Bowen in Georgia. This area is also extremely high not only for people developing chemical allergies, but also gallbladder removal and cancer. I've heard it said many times that the area is the country's number one spot for gallbladder removal, but don't have the statistics to say that I know that as a fact. She cannot use: cleaning products, conventional beauty products (make-up, hair dye, lotions, soaps, etc). Even most CARPETS will break her out with a bright red rash if she comes in contact with it (or even is around it enough to breath the fibers in). Absolutely insane. Luckily there is a plethora of natural beauty products and cleaners, etc. that contain no chemicals. Anyway, along with chemical allergies she is also allergic to a lot of medicines, which was very difficult because she has a condition where she has brain seizures. She tried ALL the conventional medicines prescribed by her primary physician, one after the other, and she was allergic to every single one of them. It was to the point where there was nothing more they could do, when she started seeking answers for herself.
After all that she's researched she probably has more knowledge than any registered dietician and knowledge close to if not on par with any holistic practitioner. She now takes HIGH amounts of high-choline and high-inositol lecithin every day (among other things; the most notable is the lecithin) and she is completely well. She also takes Dr. Schulze's Superfood Plus, which, in his clinic, has been known to facilitate great healing.
I'm sure other patients with her condition would like to know about treatments like hers (with no side effects -only BENEFITS) but under current system both doctors and patients are unaware treatments like these even exist.
The fact that something is very wrong in this country is very apparent to everyone. People are getting sicker and sicker (1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetime under our current SAD and healthcare system). People are ballooning out to proportions unimaginable in years past from low-nutrient, high sugar and processed food diets and the fact that our foods are now experimentally Genetically Modified (GMOs -something the GMO/Biotech industry is paying VERY handsomely to ensure both doctors and patients have no knowledge of) and most of our foods are ladeled with chemicals not allowed in other (healthier) countries. The FDA has been bought and sold for a while now (look into the FDA, who runs it and who now owns it by the purchasing of top positions -the key player is a corporation called Monsanto). The healthcare industry is broken and sick and has a vested interest in keeping things that way.
But perhaps this film is right -perhaps an Escape Fire can be built inside all this madness.
I know that I personally (after watching my mother's experience and having my own experiences) believe that the future of medicine will be one of true healing and one of patients and doctors working together to create and facilitate real health. Not symptom suppression but real healing. And real healing almost always comes from lifestyle changes and natural methods.
Most people who believe their obestiy is "genetic" need only to pull out an old album of their great-grandparents and family members of a few generations ago to see pictures of people who were virtually ALL slim and healthy. These days we have teenagers and people in their twenties and thirties suffering from diseases previously only seen in much, much older people. There is so much that needs to be fixed. Our government needs to stop subsidizing crops grown for heavily processed and unhealthy foods and start subsidizing healthy crops (especially organic). It seems very strange to me still that the only way I can be sure that I'm not eating foods grown in sewage sludge (yes, this is really used), not hosed down in chemicals (known to cause cancer), and not experimentally Genetically Modified (GMO) in any way is be sure that it is labeled Organic.
It seems to me that the chemical-laden GMO foods grown in inferior "soil" need to be the food with a label. Our system is upside down and inside out here in America. We can treat the symptoms forever but if the cause is never addressed and is only allowed to get worse (as is currently happening -the EPA just recently raised the allowable limits for pesticide spraying on crops to address concerns with GMO crops) things will only get worse. And as long as both patients and doctors remain in the dark things will only get worse...
Bravo to this documentary and the people in it for shining a light and exposing the truth. It is helping countless people.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
US Health care system is broken. There are too many vested interests who do not want give up the windfall from so called insurance, excessive use of high priced pharmaceuticals, unnecessary and repetitive testing, overpriced supplies and medical equipment. The politicians are not interested in fixing the problem for they all have to please their contributors who are milking they system. The biggest sham is the false statement consistently made that the US has the Greatest Health Care System. Unfortunately US has the most expansive Heath Care System which is good for only those that can afford it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2013
I was initially told about this video by a nursing instructor at UCLA suggesting that it would be a great film for nursing students or anyone entering the US Healthcare system as a care provider. Great documentary on American Healthcare. Each case is interesting but I particularly found the story about the Veteran's experience thought provoking and representative of his individual strength to move forward to improve his situation in spite of the system of healthcare that he was within. Strongly recommend.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2013
Thought the movie would be boring, but it turned out just the opposite. This was one of the most informative movies I have ever watched. It's a must see.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
not the left or right just the truth we here in America need help to stop the madness of healthcare as we know it now
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2014
This is a must see film, but I think they missed their opportunity to clearly define that there is a solution. Yes health care is a horrible mess, largely due to the personal diet choices of the American public. Those choices are fostered by a government that ignores the scientific evidence and promotes the agenda of junk food, meat, egg, and dairy food industries. All "twinkie" like food should carry warning labels like cigarette packages, the product is just as hazardous to your health. The solution is accurate knowledge promulgated by government and private agencies, and just as importantly, each American must take personal responsibility for their own health (the film could have done more on both of these points). Inexpensive, healthy food is available: brown rice, potatoes (not fried), sweet potatoes, beans of all kinds and varieties. These can form the bulk of a healthy diet with just a few fruits and green vegetables added to supplement. It does not have to be expensive to eat healthy and the basics are commonly available. It does require personal choice and the way things are now, the willingness to be a little different. For more information about this solution, see "The Starch Solution" by Dr. John A. McDougall. Google john mcdougall to find his website and free newsletter. Yes there is a horrible problem with our healthcare system, but there is something that everyone can do to help fix it: primarily by becoming healthy and only having to use the health care system in real dire emergency.