Shredding Beliefs by Akhil Golla

With one week left of service, it’s time to comply to HIPAA rules and shred all insurance applications I have submitted since the start of the year. As you can imagine, this can be a pretty sentimental process. To me, each application has a story behind it. From my very first application I fumbled with as a new member to my recent submissions as a self-proclaimed Medicaid expert, I have stories of patients, their struggles, their identities, and their hope to overcome barriers. I reminisce on the diversity of cases as I hear the shredder make its buzzing sound. Each memory evokes a different emotion.

Aww..The pregnant lady with diabetes that came back to show me her new baby. 

Aghh…the patient whose application took forever to get through County Assistance.

Haha….I loved that guy, always brought me some food…

Man.. the loving husband that cared for his wife of 40 years with cancer. Some true love there..

Smirk…that grandma told me I was cute and felt my biceps…is that harassment?

Oh. I got yelled at by that lady, I messed up…I didn’t really consider what she was going through…

While each application tells a story of my patients, they also show a story of how I progressed through this year. This year for me has been one of growth and taking responsibility for myself. In learning how to “adult,” one of the most important things I did this year was take the opportunity to question beliefs that I held to be true that I previously did not question. Before this year, I see that most of the things I did was not because I strongly believed in them, but because someone else told me it was the best option. One of those beliefs was my goal being a doctor in the imperfect medical field.

Truthfully, this year has me disillusioned about going into medicine. Being in health insurance I got the interesting perspective of how money impacts treatment and compensation. I was in the nick of the work in the clinic seeing how the doctors, nurses, insurance companies, pharmacies, the government, consultants, medical device companies, and patients navigate through this horribly complicated system. No one seems too satisfied. The medical system is not only motivated by the will to do good; there is an underlying greed that I have had to come to terms with.

I believe while I may be a little disheartened by what I saw of the healthcare field, I am uplifted by the amazing patients I interacted with at Health Center 2. The positive outcomes of my patients far overshadowed the negatives I saw within the field. While I admit the cliché “ignorance is bliss” is correct, I constructed a new saying for myself: “With truth, there can be action.”  Now that I know the position of power I will hold in the future, I can work to correct some of the inefficiencies to prioritize positive outcomes over the system’s negative pull. This process, eye-opening as it was, has given me a greater purpose. With all my applications shredded and my beliefs of the medical field changed, I wait for my time and chance to create progress in the field. But first, let’s tackle medical school.