Blog | Allan Besselink Allan Besselink | Official Site Of The Smart Life Project, Smart Physio, Rhubarb Diaries, And Mobius Intermedia http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog Sat, 27 Aug 2016 09:41:19 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Evolution Or Revolution? http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1313-evolution-or-revolution http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1313-evolution-or-revolution 20151221_003102The physical therapy profession is at a crossroads in the United States.

Over the past couple of decades, I’ve watched our profession go into a disconcerting holding pattern. The struggles of 2016 are strangely reminiscent of those in 1996.

We are now faced with what appear to be some difficult questions at this juncture in the history of our profession, and one is very simple. Are we going to accept evolution, or is it time for revolution?

In case you just tuned in, there are a lot of issues at stake in the world of physical therapy. There is a huge demand for physical therapists, but payments per visit are decreasing. Patient access continues to hover at 18 states, having been 15 states two decades - and two educational transitions - ago. In the vast majority of states, a patient still doesn’t have the right to see a physical therapist freely and of their own volition without some permission slip required at some time during their episode of care.

Yes, there is a huge incongruity there - but it gets worse.

Our profession continues to throw more money and evidence at the legislative process in the hope of gaining a voice of reason, but it’s simply not providing a return on investment. Why? First of all, the legislative arena is about money and votes and rarely about evidence. And when it comes to dollars and cents, the reality is that we don’t throw as much of it into legislators’ pockets as those who want to control us.

Our profession took a bold move in updating our vision statement … to one that, quite frankly, confuses most clinicians, let alone patients. Besides the confusion, it is laughable that “transforming society” requires a permission slip to do so.

We’ve become the victim of evolution.

We’ve become our own worst enemy by perpetuating incremental strategies and being satisfied with our little “victories”. We’re doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Some call that insanity. Oh sure, we’re feisty in our words and evidence, but we remain subservient and passive in our actions. And you know what? It’s killing our profession - slowly.

We can choose evolution - or we can choose revolution.

Evolution is a slow, gradual process. Revolution is not.

Evolution is for those seeking to maintain the status quo. Revolution is not.

Martin Luther King, Jr. noted that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Therein lies one of the major problems. We’ve been silent about the things that matter to our patients and to our profession - civil liberties, freedoms, competition, and utilizing evidence and innovation to improve the health care system as a whole - for far too long.

Are we going to own our profession - and have behaviors reflective of this - or are we going to be forever defined by those outside of the profession?

I, for one, refuse to perpetuate the insanity. It’s time for a change. To quote the Wizard of Oz, “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore”. 

Revolution sounds like epiphany and acts like disruption when you choose to own your profession and to stand up for it while no longer allowing others to decide your fate.

Revolution is saying no to Big Medicine’s stranglehold on our profession and the illegal monopoly that is pursued (and maintained) on a daily basis.

Revolution is in being an equal in the market place to promote competition and to have the capacity to create new business models that can optimize care while cutting costs.

Revolution is demanding accountability from our legislators, especially when their backroom actions subvert their constituents.

Revolution is no longer accepting non-evidence-based standards of care and making our peers know we simply won’t accept it anymore.

We live in a country in which our civil liberties should never be over-run by the monopoly of the few. I demand the capacity to make choices related to my health. I demand the right to compete on a level playing field that is patient-centered and devoid of illegal monopolies disguised as “gatekeepers”.

If you’d like to stay within the status quo, then just keep doing what you’re doing. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy driven by passivity. As they used to say on television, “this is only a test of the emergency broadcast system. Return to your regularly scheduled programming already in progress”.

The revolution, however, will not be televised.

If you’d like to change the health care world, and you - as I - truly believe that the profession of physical therapy can be the agent of change to do so - then it’s time for something different.

But are you ready?

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:33:22 +0000
The Homeostasis Of Writing http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1312-the-homeostasis-of-writing http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1312-the-homeostasis-of-writing IMG_20141026_170941_683Life is all about balance. It revolves around the principle of homeostasis: the regulation of variables so that internal conditions remain stable.

Writing is but a subset of my world, but homeostasis certainly applies.

Some background is probably hugely valuable right now - otherwise you might think I have well and truly lost my mind in my extended absence from the pages of this blog.

Just over a year ago, I had an epiphany of sorts. Suffice it to say that I made the conscious decision to become a better writer and to refine my writing skills. When I researched the writing practices of many of the great writers of our era, I found that they all said virtually the same thing: you need to write every day.

On November 20th, 2014, I started on my daily writing adventure, accruing at least 500 words per day. I am now well over 400 consecutive days and 320,000 words. My daily writing time has proved to be a time that I look forward to every day, a time to reflect and compile thoughts, both personal and professional. With that has come an improvement in my ability to put ideas into sentences, and to do so succinctly and, hopefully, eloquently.

The downside, however, is that when you spend your time writing, you don’t spend your time editing. There’s a problem here. It’s that thing called homeostasis.

There has to be a balance between the writing and the editing. This is much like human physiology, a homeostatic process gone awry. My secretory vesicles are producing copious quantities of writing hormone, but there has been no feedback “editing and sharing” loop to balance it out.

Part of the charm and power of writing comes from sharing it with the world, in some form or another. Our words have the potential to resonate, and even if that is with just one other kindred spirit, then it was worth the effort. However, it can’t resonate if it isn’t available for public consumption. If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If words are written yet never shared, can they ever resonate?

Everything in life demands balance, and writing is no exception. Writing is great - but if you’re not editing, refining, and ultimately sharing the gift with someone, then it’s not serving as full and vibrant a role as it could potentially serve. Writing gives us the capacity to share, and editing (and publishing) does exactly that. Isn’t sharing our gifts something unique that we can offer the world?

As you can tell, however, I’ve not done a good job of sharing recently; the pages of this blog have been, admittedly, lacking.

To all of you who have been supportive readers over the years - my apologies for the silence. I’m alive and kicking. It’s just time to put the editor’s hat back on, hit the “publish” key, and balance out this writing homeostasis. There’s lots of stuff percolating over here as you can probably imagine. There always is.

Truth be told, I’ve missed you all. So here’s to an exciting 2016 ahead, to resonance, and to changing the world - one word at a time.

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 18 Jan 2016 06:22:51 +0000
The Deafening Silence http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1311-the-deafening-silence http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1311-the-deafening-silence IMG_20140613_185811_989Silence. It’s one of the most beautiful things we experience in life. It’s also one of the most painful.

It might be difficult to imagine how one word can run the gamut across what appears to be the continuum of our lives. It spans the great divide between pleasure and pain, between beauty and agony, between love and loss.

Silence can be succulent and sensational. It can also be painful and power-hungry.

It’s time for all of us to break the silence on silence itself.

If we are comfortable within our own skin, silence can be absolutely delightful. It may give us time for quiet reflection or to find serenity in the moment.

A moment of silence can be a way of acknowledging the passing of someone important to you. It may provide us with peace at a time of great anguish.

A moment of silence - up to 10 seconds, in fact - may also be the time required for someone to hear what you are saying, process it, and respond accordingly. Try waiting that long for a response. It feels like an eternity.

If we can be so lucky to have a special someone in our lives, then sharing silence with that person can be ethereal and a moment of sheer beauty. The words left unsaid can be absolutely stunning to us. They may seem almost unnecessary.

Sadly, there is also a downside to silence. It can be used as a painful tool, at a time when words really should be said. We may listen intently to our partner for words to emerge - first 10 seconds, then 2 minutes, then 6 hours and beyond - and yet we hear nothing but our own heart trembling with consternation and anxiety. In moments like this, silence betrays our trust.

Silence can be used to hide from the vulnerability and openness found in the spoken word. Silence can allow us to abdicate our self-responsibility and provide us with a means of self sabotage. And, let’s face it: it can be a button that is pushed with your partner, knowingly and willingly, that simply isn’t constructive.

It’s tough to live Covey’s mantra of “seek first to understand, then to be understood” when someone is silent.

It can provide us with some of the hardest, and yet most valuable, lessons we will learn over time. Much like many things in life, oftentimes the one thing that is our benefit or our greatest strength is also our burden and the bane of our existence. Silence fits that category well. Silence is two sides of the same coin. It can be sheer beauty - or sheer agony. It’s a fine line between the two.

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Fri, 10 Jul 2015 03:02:25 +0000
Learning How To Live http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1310-learning-how-to-live http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1310-learning-how-to-live 20150129_180437All it takes is a quick look in the rear view mirror of life to get as much hindsight and perspective as you can handle. I’ve found that what I see there is oftentimes crystal clear - in retrospect.

When I gaze back at the year 2014, I find myself looking at 365 days in which I was face-to-face with love and loss, frustration and friendship, challenge and consternation.  It was the Year of the Dichotomy. I swear it’s on the Chinese calendar.

With great adversity and challenge comes great awareness. That’s my story, and I am sticking with it. In no particular order, here are a few things I learned along the way.

When times are tough, we may feel the need to focus on survival, plain and simple. We can only draw upon our resources so much before we feel a little (or a lot) drained. We feel like we are only making withdrawals, and the deposits are few and far between.

Sometimes, the best we can do is to live day-to-day. When life gets really tough, when the hurts seem to mount or the mountains to climb seem Everest-like, we might find that living moment-to-moment is an epic accomplishment because that’s all we have in the tank that day.

Take care of today - tomorrow will take care of itself.

Our basic survival mechanisms, however, somehow remain intact. Eat. Work. Sleep. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. But how much "living" do we do? How much do we challenge our thinking? How much do we push the envelope of our beliefs? How much do we allow ourselves to face the raw emotion and vulnerability of a life lived on the edge? How engaged are we in being “the best me I can be”?

One moment at a time.

Does time pass us by unbeknown to us? Do we live in the moment, losing ourselves in the purity of it, appreciating it, embracing it, sucking every last ounce of feeling out of it?

Be present.

It doesn't have to be going to exotic places, or experiencing life at the edges of our planet. It could be simply facing life, alone or in partnership, and taking the moment and wrapping our arms around it.

Fully. Completely.

As we head down the road less traveled, hopefully we don’t become cynical or jaded. We can gain insight and levity from every twist and turn on that road - if we let it happen. If we are open to reflection and to learning, if we can keep our heart open to what could be, we have the potential to make great strides, to fill up our tank when the day gets dark.

Keep an open heart.

Some days, that is an easier task than others. Some days, it is so easy to lose sight of that - as many of us will do.

Now.

That’s all we have. Sadly we have to be slapped in the face by life repeatedly to realize it. There is no guarantee that tomorrow exists. Now is all I can ask for, or so I’ve learned.

For all the complexities of life, it gives us some pretty simple lessons. There is a beauty in each and every day. There is a peace to be found within. Dig down deep and find it. Share it. Live it.

No worries, my friends. We are just learning how to live.

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 22 Jun 2015 02:29:18 +0000
Patient Access To Physical Therapy And Groundhog Day http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1309-patient-access-to-physical-therapy-and-groundhog-day http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1309-patient-access-to-physical-therapy-and-groundhog-day Groundhog Day Selfie with Punxsutawney Phil 2015When Punxsutawney Phil - the legendary groundhog - leaves his burrow on February 2 every year, he looks for his shadow. If he sees his shadow,it predicts another 6 weeks of winter ahead. That’s a pretty lousy thought when you live in a northern state.

If you are a patient, or a physical therapist perchance, in the state of Texas, there is a similar phenomenon that takes place every two years. It’s the physical therapy version of Groundhog Day.

Imagine emerging from the state capital and looking for your shadow. If  you see your shadow, it entails another two year wait to introduce yet another bill to address the same issue all over again. You have to start over from scratch.

Groundhog Day came early this year. Usually, it takes place on a day they call Sine Die: the last day of the legislative session. The session ends and all bills left pending - which typically includes a patient access to physical therapy bill - just fade away into the ether.

Special interest groups in Texas are like the blazing sun. They cast the shadow of campaign contributions over just about everything. And when they want a shadow, they make it so.

Every two years, physical therapists in the state of Texas invariably see their shadow, forcing the legislative equivalent of 6 more weeks of winter - two years at the Capitol - upon us.

HB 1263 died in Calendars Committee. Although it was voted out of the Public Health committee, it never saw the light of the House floor. You barely heard the whimper of its demise. You certainly didn’t see any legislative backlash on it from constituents or a scathing editorial or press release. It was as though it all took place in the dead of night.

In the words of Ernest Thayer in “Casey At The Bat” …

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.

So here we sit. Again.

For another 2 years, a patient’s civil liberties will be limited. They will be unable to freely, and of their own volition, make a choice related to their own health care.

For another 2 years, a physical therapist’s trade will be restrained in the state of Texas by a legalized monopoly disguised as things like “patient safety” and other disingenuous crap.

Punxsutawney Phil is a lucky groundhog. A 6 month wait sounds downright appealing these days.

Physical therapists around the state will be proclaiming that “we got a little further this time than last time”. Sadly, I find no reason for celebration in Mudville.

Winter has been in full effect for decades in Texas. It’s about time for a change in the weather.

Photo credits: Anthony Quintano

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 01 Jun 2015 03:17:24 +0000
Why HB 1263 Matters http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1308-why-hb-1263-matters http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1308-why-hb-1263-matters State Capitol at nightIn the state of Texas, the debate is upon us once again. HB 1263 - Patient Access To Physical Therapy - is to be heard in the House Public Health Committee on April 7, 2015.

It is time to push aside the fear-driven dialogue and logical fallacies that have clouded this issue for two decades.

Here are just a few reasons why this bill is so important to the health - and liberties - of all Texans.

1. Freedom of choice: A patient should have the civil liberty and the freedom to make decisions related to their health care - based on their own volition and free will.

Last I looked, the Declaration Of Independence defines “unalienable rights” as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Health - and choice - are implicit to those rights and freedoms.

2. Who better to decide if a patient is appropriate for physical therapy than a physical therapist? As it stands right now, a patient requires a referral from a physician, chiropractor, or even a dentist, for treatment. None of these referral providers have any training in physical therapy.

Doesn’t that make it difficult knowing when it is “appropriate” or not?

3. Patient-centered care, Part I: Patient-centered care requires patients having the ability - and ownership - to make choices related to their care.

In 2013, the PEW Research Center found that 59% of US adults have looked online for health information in the past year, with 35% of US adults having used the Internet to self-diagnose a medical condition they have. Guess what? A total of 41% of “online diagnosers” had their condition confirmed by a clinician!

We don’t seem to be too concerned about safety issues with patients seeking self-diagnosis online - and you certainly don’t need a referral to use the Internet.

4. Patient-centered care, Part II: You don’t need a referral to be seen by any number of licensed and/or unlicensed practitioners. Throw hot stones on the patient, poke them with needles, wave a crystal over their forehead, no worries …

… but by golly, don’t let them be treated by a physical therapist, the experts in movement, exercise and function [insert sarcasm here].

5. Costs and the market: A free market forces all providers to bring their best skills and outcomes to the table for the benefit of the patient. Competition is always good.

The payers, be they the insurance providers or patients directly, will all benefit from better outcomes, more efficient use of health care resources, and ultimately, lower costs.

We’re not in the year 1950 anymore. The health care landscape is changing. The burden of proof isn’t on why patients should have access - the data to support this continues to grow on a daily basis, and has for two decades.

The burden of proof is on those who say that patients shouldn’t have access. Please tell me how it can be acceptable, in this day and age, for patients to have their civil liberties limited in a state that prides itself on the same? And, while we’re at it … where’s your data?

Let’s move into the year 2015. Over 10,000 Texans agree, having signed a petition in support of HB 1263.

The public hearing is to be held on Tuesday, April 7. Stop by the Capitol and drop a card of support via the House Witness Registration kiosks, preferably before the hearing begins at 8:00 am.

Demand that the Texas Legislature give Texans the right to choose.

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 06 Apr 2015 04:16:24 +0000
The Flow Of Running, The Flow Of Life http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1307-the-flow-of-running-the-flow-of-life http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1307-the-flow-of-running-the-flow-of-life Go With The Flow [Sign]Running has a way of bringing some of the simple things in life back into focus.

Last month, I finished my 11th 3M Half Marathon. It was a beautiful day to experience the joy of reaching another finish line. Far more important, however, are the lessons learned along the way to those finisher’s medals. You never know when those lessons will make an appearance or provide you with an epiphany of sorts.

I vividly remember one day in December, a day on which I had scheduled a routine long run in preparation for this event. I awoke to a temperature of 40 degrees and rain.

I will admit that the thought of running was becoming less and less appealing by the minute. I just don’t do well running in the cold, damp weather. The weather forecast was for much better weather the next day. I crossed my fingers and pushed the long run back a day.

On that particular day in December, it was really ok to just let it go for today and see what tomorrow would bring.

The following day was, fortunately, a beautiful day for a run: 60 degrees, sunny, minimal clouds. It was as perfect a day as you can get for late December.

In times past, I would have stuck to the plan regardless of the circumstances. Discipline, right? Strength, yes? But was all of that just an attempt to validate myself as a “runner”?

Lesson duly noted.

Now, the task was to get out the door.

Inertia - “the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction”.

We rarely think of inertia in the context of our daily lives. Although it was a great day to be running, I found that inertia was making its presence known.

Through the first half mile, then a mile, then a mile and a half, the struggle persisted. My mind was trying to find ways to abort the mission. It was seeking excuses. It was rationalizing. It wanted to stop.

History was on my side that day. In times past, there has been a magical moment, not one that you can predict on a watch or a mile marker on the road, when the inertia shifts slightly. Just relax and let it happen. And it did - yet again.

Lesson duly noted. Again.

One moment, you can be struggling, and the next moment, you are caught in the exquisite state of flow. It repeats throughout a long run, or a long bike, or a long swim. It is rarely planned or predictable, and oftentimes inconsistent.

Just like life, as I always like to say. Running - or any sport for that matter - provides us with a microcosm of the world as we know it.

Sometimes we struggle. We fight the inertia of our day. Sometimes we find flow. Sometimes we are in it, we push, and we fall out of it. Sometimes we can be so focused on maintaining it that we lose "it" along the way.

Sometimes we have moments of greatness. Sometimes we face great physical and/or mental challenges. All along the path, there is the task of "managing" the powers that be, be they wind, gravity, soreness, inertia … or work, family, friendships, relationships, love.

Sometimes we feel the need to “be” the person that we were, or the person that we want to be, instead of simply being “me” right now.

Running has, at times, given me the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of life - while simply putting one foot in front of the other. Over and over again.

Just like life.

Photo credits: Dave Dugdale

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:42:58 +0000
Own, Disrupt, Transform–Or Else? http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1306-own-disrupt-transformor-else http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1306-own-disrupt-transformor-else 20150104_173233The phrases resound throughout the annals of social media regularly. Owning our profession. Disrupting PT. Solving PT. Transforming society. It all sounds great, doesn’t it?

As much as I agree wholeheartedly with the premise underlying all of these phrases, I fear that they are becoming nothing more than hollow words, platitudes upon which we hang our professional hats while our profession is defined by those outside the profession and not from within.

Physical therapists would probably agree that in a clinical environment, you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you run. The same applies to our professional woes.

Nothing of value comes easily. However, the ramifications of the failure to do so are even worse.

You have to own before you can disrupt. You have to disrupt before you can transform. If you put things in the proper order, the long-term potential is huge.

Self Image: Before we can own the profession, we must address our self image. We are a profession in need of a cognitive behavioral intervention or two or ten.

A prime example is perpetuating the myth of direct access in all 50 states. I keep asking how Texas fits that definition. I keep asking if anyone has asked a patient lately. While it sounds good, it is a blatant fallacy to a consumer. This is self-sabotaging behavior, a hallmark of low self image.

Another example is the logical fallacy of access being useless if we aren’t reimbursed. Reimbursement isn’t a necessity before access - it will become a secondary effect of it. Autonomy is autonomy; how you are getting paid for it is a separate issue. This is yet another self-sabotaging behavior.

While we’re at it, we also need to own the harsh realities of our legislative world. Simply raising more money won’t win the battle - not when you are working against lobbying powerhouses that will ALWAYS have more money in the legislative coffers. Period. While whining about the need for more money, we fail to make a concentrated effort amongst consumers themselves. Consumers equate to votes for, or against, legislators. Again, self-sabotage.

Just Say No: Owning the profession then evolves into a need to stand up and say “no” - to those who continue to define our profession from outside. As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you will believe in anything”. We talk a lot about our value, but then we won’t stand up for it when push comes to shove.

You need to have enough people within the profession that will stand up for what they believe in. Sadly, I don’t think we are anywhere close to critical mass on that yet.

Disrupt, Solve, Transform: Ownership is critical before you can even ponder disrupting PT or solving PT. How can you disrupt when you don’t own what you are trying to disrupt? And even if you have found some sliver of answers for any of this thus far, then how are we ever going to transform society with what we have left?

Or Else? Yes, we need to crawl before we can walk, and we need to walk before we can run. Right now, the profession is in the crawling stages, full of talk and lovely platitudes and meetings full of hope and light. We are experiencing some serious developmental delays. There are some hard choices to be made. There will undoubtedly be some short-term pain before we attain the long-term gain.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” (General Eric Shinseki)

If we don’t own it soon, if we don’t have the courage for Vision Now, we will forever lose the ability to disrupt. Transformation will become an afterthought. And so will we.

Photo credits: abesselink

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Fri, 06 Feb 2015 06:06:26 +0000
Civil Rights And Your Health http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1305-civil-rights-and-your-health http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1305-civil-rights-and-your-health MLK's houseSome twenty-odd years ago, I stood outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, reflecting on the tragic events of April 4, 1968. I have looked out over the National Mall and Reflecting Pool from the Lincoln Memorial, imagining what it must have looked like on August 28, 1963. Fifty-two years later, his words still have the power to bring me to tears.

Today, we remember and honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for civil rights and for freedom.

Many of us think of “civil rights” in terms of equality. But it is so much more than that for all of us, regardless of race or gender. In Texas, we hear a lot about property rights and the right to bear arms. But perhaps more importantly are those unalienable rights, those rights that we all share and the foundation upon which we all live, as noted in the Declaration of Independence.

Have you considered your health as one of those civil rights?

It might not be an obvious link at first. Step back for a moment and consider the following.

There is no better place to start than the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Follow that up with the Bill of Rights, and more specifically, the Ninth Amendment:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Just to clarify, the Bill Of Rights Institute notes …

“The Ninth Amendment implicitly refers to natural rights, which the Founders believed all people were born with as the gift of God or nature.”

And this brings me to health.

Health is an integral part of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Health is also an issue of self-ownership, perhaps one of the most important of the “natural rights” of the Ninth Amendment. We talk of patient-centered care and the inherent values contained within. We talk of informed decision-making and patient empowerment.

All good stuff, indeed. All principles that we often take for granted.

But legislators have created arbitrary limits to a patient’s freedom of choice in which a patient cannot choose their health care provider freely and of their own volition.

In Texas as in most states in the United States, you simply don’t have the freedom to choose ANY provider for your own health care based on your own informed decision-making about your health. When it requires the legal permission of a third party - one who may or may not have a vested interest in your choice - then it’s no longer a right.

You can’t go halfway on “unalienable rights”. You have them or you don’t. Period.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (MLK)

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day in which we celebrate a man that had such a profound impact on civil rights, let us remember the most elemental, unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While we’re at it, how about the natural right of self ownership along the way? That extends to making choices about your own health and health care.

With this in mind, I challenge legislators nationwide - and specifically, within my home state of Texas - to put patients and their unalienable rights first and foremost.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” (MLK)

Life is health. Self-ownership is paramount. A patient’s right to choose is a constitutional issue, not a lobbyist issue. Let us not forget King - not just for equality, but for what he represents to all of our civil rights – including our health.

Photo credits: drquoz

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:34:05 +0000
Think Big, Act Big http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1304-think-big-act-big http://www.allanbesselink.com/blog/smart/1304-think-big-act-big BIG BENWelcome to 2015. Once again we find ourselves on January 1, the start of a new year, with a blank slate in front of us. It's that arbitrary date when you sit down and formulate plans for the year ahead and resolve to make any number of changes in your world.

With any luck, these resolutions won't fall by the wayside by week's end.

New Year's Day can also be a time for a ton of platitudes. We talk a big talk when the New Year arrives.

You'll undoubtedly throw lots of big ideas out there today, plenty of big hairy audacious goals for the upcoming year. Great resolutions lie ahead. But are you truly ready to make 2015 remarkable?

Talk is cheap. Sure, we talk a big talk on New Year's Day, but then our behaviors reflect something far smaller.

We think big. We act small.

Given that our behaviors and actions are undoubtedly consistent with our self image, what does that say about each of us?

How often do you spend more time and energy seeking permission to change the world instead of asking forgiveness after you have done so?

How often are you more worried about ruffling some feathers, or being concerned about what everyone will say if and when you do?

How often are your decisions based on the absence of negatives rather than the presence of positives?

Are you thinking big? Perhaps more importantly, are you acting big?

Seth Godin has written about the importance of artists and of creating art:

"An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo ... Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn't matter. The intent does ... Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” 

I once read the phrase "If you're not pissing someone off, you probably aren't doing anything important". You know what? Go ahead. Piss someone off, not because that's the primary goal but because when you create art, when you change the world, someone is, without a doubt, going to be upset by a challenge to the status quo. There will be someone whose self image will no longer be validated by the status quo.

I am always reminded of the words of a good friend and mentor of mine - "Never let yourself regress to the mean". Instead of raising their game, many will simply regress to the mean and take you with them. One thing our world doesn't need is more regression.

Think big. Act big.

Do it now. You can change the world and, better yet, it will be a better place because of it.

Photo credits: Never House

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ab@allanbesselink.com (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Fri, 02 Jan 2015 01:16:12 +0000