Dr. Jim Bailey has a vision of a more effectual and proficient health care system, which targets preventive health care issues, but costs much less than what people are currently paying.
As author of The End of Healing: A Journey through the Underworld of American Medicine, he will explain the importance of understanding effective health care and how to demand it as part of the Healthy City Town Hall and Book Signing.
The event, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, July 29, is at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. He'll be joined on a panel by Shantell Leatherwood, chief executive officer for Church Community Health Services, and Scott Morris, founder and CEO of Church Health.
The Memphis Public Library's Explore Memphis started in June and was aimed at keeping children and teens mentally active during their summer break.
Darel Snodgrass: You'll be signing your book at Sunday's Health City Town Hall. The book is unique because it's fiction, about a young doctor navigating the health care system.
Jim Bailey: That’s exactly right. What’s going to be different about this event, on Sunday, is that it will be an opportunity for people to share their stories and talk together about what we can do as communities to reclaim health care that heals. Which is really what the story, The End of Healing, is about.
Snodgrass: What will you guys be doing during the Town Hall event?
Bailey: Myself, Scott Morris and Shantell Leatherwood will all be presenting our perspectives on what we can do as families and people struggling trying to find the right health care. We are going to be talking about the ways that people can really do the best they can, in this broken health care system. To reclaim the care that they need most and find the care that their families need the most.
Then we will be opening it up to a discussion. I will be moderating the panel and asking both Scott and Shantell some very difficult questions, that I think everyone will be interested to hear. We will be opening it up to the crowd, to share their experiences and ask Leatherwood, Morris, and myself what we can do to be part of a grassroots movement; to mobilize, demand, and get the care that our communities need most.
Snodgrass: You have done a couple of these already in different cities. What are you hearing from people?
Bailey: What I have heard most is people’s perspective and that they are not alone. So often we have had a bad experience, waited four hours in the waiting room for basic care, or lost a family member during what we thought was a routine procedure. I think what people get out of this is that these are not isolated events. They are common events and it has to do with our health care system taking a rescue approach – waiting until things are broken before we even begin to do anything.
Well, there is a way for us to turn our health care system into one that cares for health and wellness first. Scott Morris, Shantell Leatherwood, and I all know what that looks like and we want to share that vision and how we can demand it, so that we don’t wait until things go bad and spend ridiculous amounts of money when we could get proactive care at a cost that everyone can manage. We can get this kind of care and it’s important that the public know this and how they can get it.
Snodgrass: Our friends at Church Health do a segment every Wednesday morning on our radio station. They primarily talk about preventive care services, exercises and ways to eat better. Does there need to be a national effort to get those services out to people?
Bailey: Yes, there does. We need a complete national effort – almost a revolution on the approach to health care. And, this is what my young protagonist in my story discovers, which is that to his dismay he is a part of a broken, sickness care system. It’s all about waiting until things go bad and trying to pull people back from the brink of death.
Well, the best thinkers – like Scott Morris and Shantell Leatherwood, and others around the country, understand that we can pay for what is called high-value care instead. It does not just have to be at the Church Health Center. Really, it can be in every clinic and neighborhood, where we have real care available that is focused on prevention, healing and making food our medicine. Those clinics will look a lot different than the clinics that we have right now. They are going to have health coaches, which everyone will have included in their primary health team. The coach will help guide them through the minefield of unhealthy opportunities in our daily lives and figure out how to reclaim our lives in the ways which are most important.
Snodgrass: What do you want most from this Town Hall meeting?
Bailey: Mostly, I want people to take away hope that they can find better care and spend less doing it. I want them to see that vision -- that we are all looking for a provider that knows us. A team of providers where we can be seen efficiently and effectively, without errors and without the neglect of basic care. We, the panelists, want people to know we can get better health care than what we have now and for less than what we pay now.
For more information about the Healthy City Town Hall & Book Signing, visit memphislibrary.org
To read about and purchase Dr. Jim Bailey's book, The End of Healing: A Journey through the Underworld of American Medicine, visit endofhealing.com