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Kaiser Permanente Tells 17,000 Doctors to Recommend Plant-Based Diets!

Kaiser Permanente is a leader.  I have never commented on a hospital system before but I constantly find KP behind initiatives I support.  Kaiser Permanente, with some $50 billion in annual revenue, owns 37 hospitals and employs 17,000 doctors, all on salary.  They have 9 million members!

So imagine my delight when I saw the headline; KP urging all their doctors to recommend a plant-based lifestyle.  The tide is coming in and it is George Halvorson,  current CEO and his successor, Bernard Tyson, leading the way.

George_Halvorson2I constantly berate the system that offers zero advice once the cutting is done.  After my bypass surgery I was offered the exact same food that clogged my arteries in my hospital bed.  No meeting with a nutritionist, no explanation of the plaque or even the grafts.  I was offered a lifetime contract with a little orange pill bottle.  It is a lazy approach.  It’s an approach that assumes each patient will be non-compliant and the lifestyle conversation is a dead-end.  And now we see one of the largest health care organizations in the world figuring it out.  The fastest way to real health is not an infinite prescription to procedures and medication.  It is a plan.  A way of life promoting well-being.  It is so damn simple.

Patients trust doctors. It is implied. It’s like stepping on an airplane and seeing a pilot. Doctors are in a position of trust because they have studied and dedicated for years to be in that spot. Unfortunately, a vast majority of doctors lose all their credibility the second they reach for the prescription pad. The pad represents a blanket solution and identifies the lack of creativity or engagement the doctor has with the patient. An effort has to be made in those 15 minutes to present a course of action unique to the patient. Perhaps the course of action involves medication but it should also outline an overall objective towards prevention of the root cause. The plan should incorporate short-term goals and endpoints. Versus; “you will be on these medications the rest of your life”.

Patients need to be accountable. One cannot expect a doctor to unwind years of neglect in a single visit. The onus is on the patient. A cardiologist remarked to me, after discussing my plan to attack heart disease; “I don’t have a lot of patients like you, that have made a 180 degree change. Most of my patients ask me why they have to quit smoking and eating steaks after I put stents in them.”

Kaiser Permanente understands preventative care.  According to special report published in the 2013 Spring issue of The Permanente Journal,A plant-based diet…may be especially beneficial for those with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, or cardiovascular disease.” 


Six Reasons to Give Up Meat & Adopt a Plant-Based Diet:

Six Reasons to Give Up Meat & Adopt a Plant-Based Diet:

The Permanente Journal abstract concluded by stating,

The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables.

I strongly urge you to download this PDF and read it.  http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/files/Spring2013/Nutrition.pdf

“The alarming rise of chronic disease trends, among both adults and children, is sounding the wake-up call in the medical community that the current ‘disease’ care system must be replaced with a true ‘health’ care system,” says Scott Stoll, MD and co-founder of the inaugural North American Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference. “It’s critical that preventive medicine, which is sorely lacking in our medical schools, become the foundation of our nation’s health care system.”

“The obesity work is incredibly difficult,” he said. “It’s very, very hard to move the needle.”

Mr. Halvorson is convinced that Kaiser’s improvements in the quality of care save money. But he also says that the way to get costs lower is to move care farther and farther from the hospital setting… He also argues that lower costs are going to be about finding ways to get people to take more responsibility for their health — for losing weight, for example, or bringing their blood pressure down.    –NY Times, The Face of Future Health Care, February 2013

I applaud Kaiser Permanente.  Awesome.