One Dad’s Desperation
by Richard Stamps, President & CEO
In 2001 my first child was born with an extremely rare metabolic disorder, Maple Syrup Urine Disease, which prevents his body from breaking down certain proteins. He spent the first six months of his life at the hospital and his prognosis wasn’t good. The situation thrust me into an unfamiliar and awkward role. Not only was I a new parent, but I was forced to be a medical caregiver with no training whatsoever. I had to rely on a team of medical experts with varying degrees of expertise and trust that the doctors were knowledgeable enough, and had enough time and resources to deliver the type of care my child required. It was a very intimidating and trying time for our entire family.
Throughout this experience, I relied heavily on my uncle, Dr. Robert Weiss, for medical information. He’s an award-winning and well-respected primary care doctor in Bala Cynwyd, PA. As we talked about my son’s situation, we found ourselves reviewing the general delivery of health care in our country and uncovering the numerous flaws and deficiencies that needed to be addressed and repaired.
The Problem with the American Healthcare System
The current system in place for primary care relies heavily on insurance reimbursements. The more patients a doctor sees, the more money a doctor stands to make from insurance companies. The problem is, the more people the doctor sees, the less time and impact the doctor can have with each patient. If the system is set up to maximize the number of appointments, the patient suffers. Unnecessary tests are often run and seemingly countless follow-up appointments are scheduled.
Isn’t that counter to the wellness movement and in direct conflict with keeping Americans healthy?
Doctors become doctors because they want to get people well and keep them healthy, but our current system doesn’t promote that. Ironically, it’s more profitable to keep people sick rather than get them well and send them on their way to a healthy life.
Developing a Direct Primary Care Practice that Puts the Patient First
So with the help of Dr. Weiss, I decided to develop a system that didn’t rely on insurance reimbursements, one that would promote preventative care rather than just treating symptoms. We wanted to see people before they got sick and keep them well. But for those who come to us already dealing with medical issues, we wanted to be able to provide the time to properly manage those issues–connect them with the best specialists, oversee those relationships, interface with other medical care providers, and serve as a hub for all things medical.
We formed Total Access Medical in 2002 with Dr. Weiss as our first doctor working out of Bala Cynwyd, PA. Since then, we’ve added 6 more doctors and have expanded to serve Delaware and Southern New Jersey. Our direct primary care practices bring together old-fashioned care with the latest in technology and modern medicine.
My son is now completely healthy after receiving a liver transplant at the age of two. Outside of the daily medicine he’s required to take, he leads a completely normal life and even plays soccer and lacrosse with his friends.