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This site is about what medicine should be; a path for everyone to evolve personally to the point that we can save ourselves, the species, and the planet.
Recent comments by new patients: "My physician is really good. I read this information, and I'm coming to you because you're even better." "Wow. I could listen to you forever." I am honored to be at this sacred task. You will love zooming around this site. Please tell your friends.
I am trying to do the most good for as many people as I can. I am not here to nickel and dime you. I empower you to take control of their health through good sleep hygiene, positive thinking, relationship building, ending bad habits, exercise, diet and a sound medical regimen for each condition. I consider the impact of their spouse, family, and job in your health care. I invite you to give up shame and fear as motivators in your life, and act consciously to improve your health and feelings about yourself and others. I am happy to review and investigate alternative therapies you may have been trying and tell you their risks and benefits from an unbiased, logical viewpoint. To this end, I will never sell products to my patients. What I am hoping to provide is the warm personal care common in my grandfather's day (he was a general practitioner from 1934 to 1975), but which seems less and less common today. I provide the care that I would want from a physician: he will see me when I am ill; he guides me toward healthy life habits without being overbearing or arrogant; he does not insist on seeing me when I am not ill, but urges thorough preventive screening; he makes sure all my questions are answered in understandable language and that I am well informed about health issues. I am trying to improve on every aspect of practice. Your feedback about how you like my site, office and practice style is very important to me. Each statement I make in the brochure about medical facts are backed up by good medical studies, and I will be adding full references and hyperlinksto these.
Why am I in practice by myself? The overhead is higher but I prefer this to a group practice where other physicians and not the patient's wishes dictate the style and pace of practice. Many new physicians must “produce” an exhausting quota demanded by senior colleagues or face not being rehired; you probably don't want to be rushed through as part of of somebody's “quota,” you just want excellent personal care, time to explain your situation and have your questions answered.
Directions: Come South on York Road from 695, Towson or the Towson Bypass. There are stop lights at Burke, Aigburth, Cross Campus Parkway, and Sister Pierre Dr, then a flashing light for a crosswalk. We are in the Coldwell Banker building (7402 York Road). It is the first building on the right after the flashing light. Parking is available both in front and in back of the building. We are in Suite 301, which can only be accessed from the front of the building. There is an elevator at the north end of the building. Come North on York Road passing Northern Parkway. There is a light at Stevenson Lane. We are in the Coldwell Banker building (7402 York Road).It is the fourth building on the left after Stevenson.Parking is available both in front and in back of the building. We are in Suite 301, which can only be accessed from the front of the building. There is an elevator at the north end of the building.
Tests done: We do physical examinations, electrocardiograms (EKGs), urinalysis, glucometry and microscopy, although not X-rays given the modest size of the building. Patients are sent to either LabCorp or Quest for blooddraws.
Problems cared for: I am happy to see patients aged one to one hundred and five years old; I see younger patients for vaccinations and uncomplicated problems, although I tend to refer infants with complicated problems to a pediatrician, and the youngest patient I have admitted to the hospital was 14; I am certified in adult medicine and not pediatrics. Some patients really want me to see the whole family. I care for routine gynecological problems and all adult and geriatric conditions. I am familiar with accident and workers compensation situations through my previous work as the Occupational Health physician at GBMC.
Availability A>: I am always available for emergencies and questions; my cell phone number is listed below and is on the answering machine after hours, although during business hours the office number is the best way to reach me. My home number is listed below, and is in the telephone book. On an occasional basis, I sign out to another solo physician, so check the office message for instructions if I don't respond. Enter your number using a touch tone phone [tones, not clicks, when you listen to the signal sent].
My background : I have a German, Norwegian and Finnish heritage. I was born in Boston but have mainly lived in Baltimore since I began going to Towson High. I received a Maryland Merit Scholarship. A B.A. degree in Biology followed at Johns Hopkins University. Because my parents had moved out to Seattle, I became a resident of Washington State and so I went to University of Washington School of Medicine, recently ranked 7th among all medical schools in the country. I received my M.D. degree there in June of 1989. My brothers live in Baltimore, so I returned to do my Internal Medicine residency at the Union Memorial Hospital, and graduated from that program in 1992. I am the proud father of Cliff, Sean, Morgana, and Orion, b1990-98. I have keen interests in preventive medicine, cardiology, neurology and gastroenterology because of many excellent mentors in these areas, also in geriatrics, family practice and psychiatry because of training experiences since 1985.
Scheduling of visits and tests with the help of the staff: We can fit in urgent visits the same day, and after hours I can meet patients in the Emergency Rooms of Saint Joseph and GBMC, and admit patients to those hospitals if necessary. We provide a reminder call the day before your appointment.
Prescription refill policy: As long as there is adequate follow up for medical conditions, prescriptions can be refilled over the phone. A follow up appointment will be arranged so that the patient can be seen on the prescribed therapy. I am not in the business of denying medicines if a patient cannot be seen. Patients who pay for their own medicines are often provided with samples from the office. There are no narcotics in the office.
Lab results: If normal are available over the phone, abnormal labs that require discussion will be handled by Dr. Houk.
Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, August 1995, through 2005.
Medical Director, Baptist Home Nursing Home 2/94 to 11/97, also attending patients at Manor Care Towson, Meridian Cromwell, Pickersgill, Holly Hill Nursing Homes and Heart Homes of Lutherville Assisted Living.
Participant in Doctor/Lawyer Partnership Against Drugs students seminars since 3/94.
Internal Medicine private practice in Towson, 7/92 to present.
Attending in medicine at Greater Baltimore MC, Saint Joseph MC, Sinai Hospital.
Employee Health Physician for Greater Baltimore Medical Center, 10/92 to 8/ 99.
Emergency Room Physician, solo overnights for Saint Joseph Medical Center, June- October 1992.
Internal Medicine Residency, Categorical, Union Memorial Hospital 6/ 89-6/92,
M.D. 6/89 University of Washington, School of Medicine, 8/85 to 6/89
B.A. in Biology 5/85, The Johns Hopkins University 9/81-5/85
1981 graduate of Towson High School P>
References: 1900+ active patients, and Raymond Wittstadt, M.D. 583-0160, Brian Kahn, M.D. 337-0555,
Interests: family time with spouse Pamela and with children Cliff, Sean, Morgana and Orion, b.1990-8; daily commuter running [formerly bicycling]; hiking, gardening, archery, canoeing on the Eastern Shore, classical guitar, flutes.
Thank you in advance for referring other family members and friends to me. I appreciate you thinking about me. And bless you, it may save the person's life. Over the years, I have been really surprised at the poor quality of care that patients receive elsewhere. I guess this is because physicians who have been in practice for a long time become set in their ways and are not keeping up with new health research. The major task presented to me in college at Hopkins and in medical school were learning how to learn.
I learned the scientific method, statistical analysis and epidemiology thoroughly. I had to discern what was significant, and apply the resulting knowledge. To keep up, I review articles, and I read the Scientific American CD ROM text of Medicine. I am willing to run or review computer searches to answer your questions about new remedies. I have found proof in the current literature that certain procedures do not work, but specialists are still offering them based on their 1983 texts, and because they are biased by the profit they make. I am cautious, but hopeful about applying new therapies. I am thorough in screening for treatable diseases. I am saddened that people are behind in health screening when I meet them, but I am proud to be the one to get them caught up. I have kept an eye on how I can do people the most good, and so developed my philosophy of promoting self-esteem, stopping smoking, exercising daily, eating well and treating common diseases. I owe much to my own teachers; it was once said that 'if I have seen far, it is on the shoulders of giants.'
I believe medicine is what each physician makes it each day. So when people say, medicine is changing because of changing insurance schemes, don't believe that that is happening here. I treat people the same without regard to their insurance, and I have tried to participate in a large number of them so if your insurance changes, you can stay with me. The exception is I won't participate in closed HMOs that own the doctor or risk pool HMOs that make the doctor pay for part of the care outside his office. I also have avoided being purchased by a corporation or hospital so I can practice the way you and I want. I can take more time with you when you need it. I don&t see patients every 7.5 minutes [in Kaiser] or 8 minutes [in Care First] so stockholders can get rich, like HMO- employed doctors must. I won't be fired if I don't. I am asking every patient and every doctor to refuse to participate in risk-pool and closed- panel HMOs on moral grounds and also because one's life is at stake. The Maryland Committee to Defend Health Care points out that every for profit HMO must have as their first legal duty to maximize profits for their stockholders, and so could never have your best interests at heart. If your employer offers limited choice in insurance that is becoming more and more costly, consider going on strike if your demands for better insurance choices are not being met, or changing to a company with better insurance choices. That HMO patients are dying twice as fast of heart attacks as fee for service patients is just the tip of the iceberg. People can die of a fatal choice of insurance. Having learned that, you can successfully ask your employer for better insurance. Your referral of another patient is all the more important. If my practice is successful, you have preserved your freedom of choice of physicians. If you do not actively refer patients, it is not inconceivable that I would have to sell the practice and become an employee of whoever is buying, and treat you just as they say or get fired. If you'll thank me by sending someone you know, please know that it will be well worth it for them and that my ongoing efforts to learn and apply medical knowledge will be fruitful. Bless you.
The following was published in 6/19/ 93 Sun titled,
Dear Baltimore Sun Editor,
I am responding to Dr. Richard C. Reynolds' opinion of 2 June 1993. Dr. Reynolds was correct in stating that part of the problem is that young doctors enter practice with debt that often influences their choice of what and where to practice. They are forced to think of what was a calling as an investment. The system demands that thinking; a recent example is that medical residents lost, for 18 months, their right to defer loan payments while in full time education. On a take home pay of $1500/month they were expected to come up with $1000/month loan payments, leaving $500 a month for rent and a family of four. The only answer was to moonlight in addition to 75 to 100 hour work weeks. Some colleagues spent only a few nights a month in their own beds. Such inhumane workweeks are at least as severe as being drafted for public service.
As for the comment, “Physicians tend to practice in the affluent communities where they like to live...” This may be true in general, but there are others such myself, who continue to rent downtown. [I purchased a home in Lutherville in 1995.] I am happy in pleasant but not particularly affluent neighborhoods. To set up my own practice I had to rent with no prospect of buying a chateau by the lake. I abandoned none of my patients from residency but became a Medicare and Medicaid provider. I located on a bus line in Towson so they could reach me. I commute sixty miles a week on my bicycle [I've run since 12/96] and have no need for a “Beamer”.
Tis a joy to be simple, as the Shakers used to say.
Dr. Reynolds suggests that young doctors needed to be drafted to do public service to learn the “lessons” of alcoholism, drug addiction and family violence not available in medical school curricula. These problems were continuously in my face as a volunteer, a student and a resident. As a college student at Hopkins I volunteered at Union Memorial Hospital and saw a woman whose only visitor was the boyfriend who had broken her jaw on his fist. As a medical student, on call at two A.M., I held the purulent arm of an moaning IV drug abuser as my resident debrided his injection site of dead and infected tissue. As a resident I stood alone in a room full of family members, some drunk themselves, trying to convince a patient that his fifth a day habit of gin was destroying his liver. I can tell thousands of these stories. Colleagues my age (30) can probably tell millions. Maybe Dr. Reynolds' medical education was not like that. I am proud to have served in the trenches of medicine. I planned on it since I was seventeen and first saw downtown living conditions through the window of a school bus on its way to a play at the Kennedy Center. I deliberately chose a downtown residency so that I could help the people in the most need, and see the most varied and severe illness.
I think that the medical system is in its present condition because of diffuse greed. This is understandable in a society that began with a frontier, seemingly unlimited resources and a scarce population. Doctors train hard and want to make a good living. Patients come demanding specific high tech tests recommended by their neighbors who had them done. Lawyers are there to take a piece of the very big compensatory pie when medical outcomes are not perfect. Some third party payers take money from corporations promising to provide the required health care for less money and promising to make more profit for the stockholders, squeezing $400 a month from an older couple and leaking $25 a month to the primary care physician; the rest carpets their offices and pads the wallets of executives [the top-paid HMO CEO got $13 million in cash and $65 million in stock options for 1995 for finding new and clever was to keep patients from access to care. Patients should be aware that the primary doctor sometimes pays to send patients to a specialist, and the HMO can pay poorly unpredictably. This discourages the participation of excellent physicians]. However, some HMO/PPOs are part of the solution and not the problem; they are humane on an individual basis and carefully promote preventive health to their members. [ With the mergers of the last five years, I have become less convinced that any HMO could have a patient&s best interest at heart, because they are better defined as corporate profit generators than health maintainance organizations. Some HMOs are falling apart and have contract clauses that will force doctors to care for patients free of charge if the HMO goes bankrupt.] Some doctors do provide services to patients who cannot pay. Some lawyers and doctors do help educate children on drugs in the schools. That there are these types of civil behavior still in the system gives me hope. But it will be a be a snowy day in summer when all the powers that be simply step aside and watch revolutionary change sweep through health care and destroy the status quo; we are already seeing each trial balloon released by Ira Magaziner popped in early ascent. If we want to make medical care available for all people we should not draft doctors. We should employ nurses, midwives and physicians assistants who can do most preventive medical care and treat most common medical conditions easily enough with written algorithms and the availability of a physician&s advice. No one but God is going to convince a specialist to be retrained as a generalist and provide care in a ghetto; they will dodge whatever “draft” Dr. Reynolds proposes in the name of fair redistribution of medical care. I hope one day to pay to put a medical student through school so that she can be freer to think of medicine not as a business investment, but as the calling that it is.
Healing the World
7402 York Road Suite 301, Towson, MD 21204
Phone: 410-296-5200 Fax: 410-296-5263 Cell Phone: (410)598-1145 Home Phone: (410) 561-9981