Topeka doctor airs frustrations with health care system in new book

Dr. Kipp Van Camp, an inventional radiologist in Topeka, airs his thoughts on health care through a radio talk show called "Doctor's Orders." Van Camp recently wrote a book "Misdiagnosis: A Practicing Physician’s Case Study in Health Care Reform."

Dr. Kipp Van Camp, an inventional radiologist in Topeka, airs his thoughts on health care through a radio talk show called "Doctor's Orders." Van Camp recently wrote a book "Misdiagnosis: A Practicing Physician’s Case Study in Health Care Reform."

Dr. Kipp Van Camp, an interventional radiologist in Topeka, is frustrated with the health care system and instead of just grumbling about it, he decided to write a book.

Among his frustrations are the high costs for care and the need for tort reform. He’s really irked about global health care rankings. He said often organizations are not comparing apples to apples, especially for infant mortality and life expectancy. He said the U.S. should be near the top in both categories.

“That’s been insulting. Health care in America is good and someone needs to talk about this stuff,” he said.

Van Camp said the book, “Misdiagnosis: A Practicing Physician’s Case Study in Health Care Reform,” covers the history of how we got to where we are, identifies what’s wrong and right with the system, provides details about the Affordable Care Act, and provides solutions.

“My goal is to bring about an awareness, to educate, and to debunk some myths,” he said.

Van Camp, 48, grew up in Colby and graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. For three years, he was a family doctor in Weston, Mo., were he did everything from deliver babies to appendectomies. He decided to go back to school because he didn’t like the demanding hours and pushing paperwork instead of caring for patients. He became a radiologist and then an interventional radiologist, who does image-guided procedures. For example, if a woman finds a lump in her breast, an interventional radiologist does the biopsy to see if it’s cancerous.

Van Camp owns a radiology company called Critical Imaging Associates in Topeka. He’s also one of two hosts on a medical radio talk show called Doctor’s Orders, which airs on stations in Topeka and Kansas City.

Dr. Kipp Van Camp

Dr. Kipp Van Camp

BOOK HIGHLIGHTS

In a 45-minute telephone interview this week, Van Camp covered a variety of topics contained in his book. Here are a few of the highlights:

Pushing paperwork — He said navigating the increasing mandates for insurance coverage is reducing the time doctors are caring for patients. In 1979, there were 252 state mandates in place across the country, an average of five requirements per state. By 2009, there were 2,133, an average of 42 per state. “Patients are noticing the impact when they are increasingly being treated by nurse practitioners and not physicians,” he said. “It’s a trend that’s not going away.

Tort reform — He said Congress should have included tort reform in the Affordable Care Act. “There are so many frivolous lawsuits that come in this country that it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Van Camp said. He said doctors are afraid they will get sued if they don’t do every high-tech test possible, which drives up costs. He said Texas has done an overhaul of their legal system and studies have shown it’s lowered health costs and drawn more doctors to the state. “Tort reform affects everyone because of the unnecessary costs it adds to already costly health care.”

High-tech generation — Van Camp also blames the high cost of health care on society. He said Americans want the latest, greatest technology and medicine and as quickly as possible, but they aren’t willing to pay for it. “When you have high technology, you are going to spend a whole lot of money and America wants technology,” he said.

Decision-making — While everyone wants the best medicine and tests, not everyone gets it. He said insurance companies have started making those decisions instead of doctors and patients. Van Camp said if an insurance company won’t pay for a drug, we have the ability to appeal it at the state level. He fears with health reform that appeals process will be taken away.

Mandating insurance —He believes there is merit to a mandate because there are Americans who can afford insurance, but choose to spend their money elsewhere. When those Americans end up in the emergency room, hospitals are required to care for them. He said there may be years of wrangling over the bill but if it’s not paid, it costs the taxpayers. Under health reform, Van Camp thinks there should be an option to buy just catastrophic coverage.

He’s also concerned about the exemptions that fall under the Affordable Care Act. Among them: Christian scientists, American Indians, Muslims and Scientology. “I could claim Scientology and not have to buy insurance. That’s ridiculous,” he said.

Insurance portability — Under health care reform, insurance will become portable, meaning if you have insurance in Kansas and move to Missouri, providers have to accept your insurance. That’s a good thing, he said.

All or nothing — Instead of passing the Affordable Care Act, he said the country should have tried changing just one area, like tort reform or outlining what’s considered basic health care under insurance. Does it include: all vaccines, high blood pressure, smoking cessation and weight loss? That’s still to be determined.

“We never do anything in steps. We didn’t try something in one area, instead we pass this monstrous bill that’s out of control and affects the whole country,” he said.

SOLUTION: LESS GOVERNMENT

Van Camp, a Republican, said he tried not to play politics in his book, although he does “throw stones” at Congress for a lot of problems. “I tried to be as objective as a person can be carrying with them all of their biases,” he said.

Van Camp believes less government involvement is one of the keys to fixing the broken system. “My philosophy and my belief is that the private sector works. Get out of the way and don’t regulate too much and they will find the most cost-effective way to get things done,” he said.

He thinks people should be able to put money into health savings accounts for medications and procedures without being taxed for it.

Van Camp said he’s spent his medical career — 25 years — working on the book, but it only took six weeks to write.

“What I’ve realized is the system is broken but what I’ve been so upset about is that the system isn’t broken because the quality of care is bad,” he said.

The book is available online at www.drkipp.com.


ONLINE CHAT

Dr. Kipp Van Camp, an interventional radiologist in Topeka, will be available Jan. 11 to discuss his new book, “Misdiagnosis: A Practicing Physician’s Case Study in Health Care Reform.”

Van Camp will be participating in an online chat at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 on WellCommons.com. And, you can submit your questions anonymously at anytime at WellCommons/chats. Make sure to log back to WellCommons.com during or after the chat to see if your questions were answered.

Dr. Van Camp owns a radiology company called Critical Imaging Associates in Topeka. He also is owner and medical director of Rejuvenate Medical Spa, providing minimally invasive cosmetic medical procedures. He serves as an adjunct professor at Washburn University and Kansas University.

Van Camp is one of two hosts on a medical radio talk show called Doctor’s Orders, which airs on stations in Topeka and Kansas City.

Tagged: health care, Affordable Care Act

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 12 months ago

"Van Camp, a Republican, said he tried not to play politics in his book, although he does “throw stones” at Congress for a lot of problems. “I tried to be as objective as a person can be carrying with them all of their biases,” he said."

But throwing in the red herring about tort reform is precisely that. The facts are that malpractice suits and payouts aren't a major factor in driving up healthcare costs, or even malpractice rates. Those rates are determined more by the need of insurance companies to fund their Wall Street speculation than by malpractice payouts.

1southernjayhawk 2 years, 12 months ago

"But throwing in the red herring about tort reform is precisely that. The facts are that malpractice suits and payouts aren't a major factor in driving up healthcare costs, or even malpractice rates. Those rates are determined more by the need of insurance companies to fund their Wall Street speculation than by malpractice payouts."

.....Bozo, an expert in all matters. Remember, he knows a lot more than you do, Doctor.

jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

In my experience with our health care system, we aren't getting what we should be getting, given the money we're spending on health care.

Almost all of my health care needs haven't involved fancy new technology, so that can't be the reason.

I doubt that frivolous lawsuits are a cause - can't people be sued for bringing them? That's a serious deterrent to that possibility.

The various differing insurance plans and associated paperwork may be a factor - in that case, one would think he'd be in favor of a single payer system.

His belief that the private sector will find the most "cost effective" ways to get things done neatly leaves out the question of quality of care provided. If it costs a company less to provide substandard care, and settle a few lawsuits, they'll do that, with his model.

Kendall Simmons 2 years, 12 months ago

I wonder if he actually reread his book after he finished it in order to look for glaring inconsistencies. It sure doesn't sound like it.

Bob Forer 2 years, 12 months ago

An odd combination of the old tired drivel which was discredited long ago. Nothing new here. The doctor needs to stick to practicing medicine.

average 2 years, 12 months ago

Except a very few class-actions on drugs/devices, every medical tort is filed in a state courtroom. Most of the drug/device cases are, too. Which is why it's a state-level matter to handle tort reform. Which is why more than 40 states have done various levels of reform (yes, including California, one of the first). Which is why million-dollar malpractice suits have been unknown in Kansas (and most of the nation) for over a decade. Which is why it's a red herring.

KEITHMILES05 2 years, 12 months ago

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Alexander Smith 2 years, 12 months ago

Well, I will take the time out to read this bull crap from a greedy doctor just so I can say I read it. However, the medical field is a joke and government needs to be more involved. If he is so concerned about the people then explain to me why all our doctors are being replaced by foreigners and the good ones are leaving. Better yet, why the doctors are refusing to help people in need because they are on medicare? WHY.. because they don't make enough money. WTF.. what kind of code of ethics did they swear to?? I have heard it straight from the doctors mouth that they are changing their policy. One doctor I visit even said that why should he help someone who he can only make 37 dollars on and someone who he can make 100 dollars on? I even saw a 300K mercedes with a bumber sticker slaming Obama's plan. The point is, and everyone knows it, the medical field is way over priced. THe last time I was in the hospital I was charged 184 dollars rental on a humidifier???

OH one final instance of how corrupt our medical system is, I was at minor med and this young lady came in with a very sick 5 year old, the girl was in pain and miserable. It was obvious she did not have much money but she did have insurance. THey wanted to have her pay 150 dollars up front because they couldn't verify her insurance on a sunday? THey had her old card on file (different insurance co. but had the same company she worked for on both cards) She said she didn't have the cash. Know what they said, 'sorry we can't help you go to the hospital'. WTF?? I asked what if she did have the cash would they give her the money right back once it was verified, they said no, we just apply credit???? GREEDY SOBs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 12 months ago

Physicians in western Europe, where per capita medical expenditures are a fraction of what they are here, are still among the top 1% of income earners there (and they would be here, as well.)

jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

I complain about greed, wherever it is found.

Bob Forer 2 years, 12 months ago

Am not surprised that the guy is not an MD, but instead, a DO. In 2010, the average MCAT and GPA for students entering US-based MD programs were 31.1 and 3.67, respectively, and 26.49 and 3.47 for DO matriculants. As many as one out of every three students matriculating at an osteopathic medical school has been rejected by MD programs.

Simply put, DOs are not known for being the sharpest tools in the shed.

cowboy 2 years, 12 months ago

I would note that not a single point of emphasis from the Doc had anything to do with health care for the uninsured .

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 12 months ago

Despite the mandate, there are still going to be millions of people who can't afford the premiums.

So the result is that it will only reduce the number of uninsured.

jafs 2 years, 12 months ago

Aren't there generous subsidies for those that can't afford the premiums?

And, Medicaid for those that are truly indigent?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 12 months ago

Not sure how generous the subsidies are, and major cutbacks on medicaid seem to be all but guaranteed.

At any rate, the projections from the CBO say even after Obamacare is fully implemented, there will still be tens of millions of people who remain uninsured.

cabocrazed 2 years, 12 months ago

Sycho - have you ever worked in the medical field? Throw numbers if you want but over the past 25 years, I've worked with both in general practice, emergency medicine, and a plethora of other fields. I would actually take a DO over an MD anyday due to the osteopathic aspect. Stick to what you do best - throwing out biased, ridiculous opinions. It's a slap in the face to everyone in healthcare for you to make such stupid remarks.

Bob Forer 2 years, 12 months ago

Looks like the facts got you a little crazed, cabo.

Karrey Britt 2 years, 12 months ago

Thanks everyone for the comments, and I really appreciate those that propose possible solutions. I certainly hope everyone participates in Dr. Van Camp's online chat at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 here on WellCommons. I would go ahead and get your questions in because the chat will only last an hour and we will take questions on a first-come, first-served based. They can be submitted anonymously under wellcommons.com/chats.

parco814 2 years, 12 months ago

It's best to evaluate the author's arguments on their own merits or lack thereof without regard to his identity. But it's also impossible for anyone to ignore his position of professional authority. Some will let that position persuade them, others will be skeptical. I'll take issue with one of his statements about frivolous lawsuits. The court system decides which lawsuits are legitimate and which aren't. I'm not inclined to take the doctor's word on the validity of these lawsuits.

I don't know enough about the malpractice issue to say whether he has a good point about tort reform.

Regarding the religious exemptions for mandated insurance--I don't like it, either, but that doesn't matter. Those who wrote the bill know that there's a constitutional issue on religious freedom and that's that. I agree that scientology's nonsense, but so are lots of other religions, maybe all of them. Interesting that he singled out scientologists.

The doctor does appear to recognize that insurance companies are creating major problems for his peers and their patients. No doubt about that.

I'd like to see more attention to the physicians who advocate for a public option, single payer plan. There are such physicians, quite a few of them. Again, their views aren't better than anyone else's simply because they're medical doctors. But the media attention to the AHCA (a very modest reform initiative, but one that is making a huge positive difference for millions of people) is overwhelmingly focused on opposition to the law.

Those who back a public option/single payer system are pretty much frozen out of the dialogue while voices like Dr. Van Kamp's are everywhere. That's because he's willing to resort to hyperbole, AKA "bullfeathers," calling AHCA "monstrous" and "out of control." Such propaganda rings especially false in Kansas, where the state government is doing everything it can to prevent the law from helping citizens who desperately need it.

For me, the bottom line is that I am not OK with a profit motive being part of helping, curing and caring for ill or injured human beings.

KEITHMILES05 2 years, 12 months ago

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cabocrazed 2 years, 12 months ago

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lucky_guy 2 years, 12 months ago

What I want to understand is why is less government better? If you read one of the dear doctor's charts could you tell why he is doing the procedure he is billing the government for? By the way according to the New England Journal Interventional Radiologists are in the top 3 billers to Medicare. So of course he wants less regulation so he could can bill with less oversight, but you probably can't tell what he did or why he did it.
There is a lot of regulation in healtcare I will be the first to atest to that but that is for a reason, mainly it is too easy to steal from the government and insurance companies for that matter. Sorry Doc, but you have to prove that what you do has worth not just say it.
There is a big Medicare audit going on nationally called RAC audits. Millions of dollars are being clawed back because of bad billing practices and errors. This is happening now with all the oversight and regulations in place, just imagine how much worse that would be with less government oversight.

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