A Promise to My Mom: Its Impact on your Business & Family Healthcare Costs, By Dr. Josh Luke

Many of you wrote & commented on my LinkedIn video with my mom from the hospital last week. Thank you. Here is the back story…

My mom is a fighter. Always has been.

A few years ago on Mother’s Day I penned a feature about my relationship with my mom that appeared in the Orange County Register newspaper local editions.

I wrote the story with her consent. Her consent based on a promise I made to her, my mom. The best friend a son could ever ask for.

I was born premature. My trachea and esophagus were not fully developed. I had a feeding tube inserted and had several bouts with pneumonia in my first few weeks of life. Each night doctors would tell my parents to go home for the night and pray that I would make it through the night.

This is the promise I made to my mom. This is the goal I will remain focused on: Raising money for Alzheimer’s research & ensuring Americans have affordable access to healthcare services.

Each night, my mom stayed and fought. She fought in every way she knew how. She slept under my crib. She prayed. She nurtured. And she loved. This continued off-and-on for 12 months.

Mom set the tone. Even before I knew what setting the tone even meant.

My mom is the matriarch of our family and she fought for her causes.

So at a young age I came to understand that whether on a hospital wristband or the back of a baseball jersey, if the last name was ‘Luke’ then prepare for a fight.

That’s just how we roll.

Then, in 2010 mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We knew we had a new fight on our hands. We knew that mom’s gifts and lessons to us would now need to be put to action. And as her youngest son I wouldn’t have had it any other way. A few months after the diagnosis, I took my mom to lunch — just the two of us.

We laughed. We cried. We reflected. I held her hand. I asked how I could support her. And then I committed.

Mom acknowledged that she was aware of her diagnosis and that she had many moments of confusion and even more moments of anxiety and embarrassment.

She had lived an amazing life. She deserved so much better.

My way of fighting for and returning the favor by ‘sleeping under her crib’ is by bringing awareness to the causes that impacted her and led to her premature demise. I committed this to her. We discussed the fight that laid before her, and with my experience in healthcare that I could use the gifts she passed on to me to wage this war.

This war on healthcare affordability and access. This war on Alzheimer’s Disease that is nowhere near a cure.

Soon after I founded a not-for-profit in honor of my mom, and was appointed to the Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association Advisory Board. I then penned a book helping families navigate through the aging process. Proceeds from the book are donated to support Alzheimer’s.

And, in January 2018 when my new book Health-Wealth is released I am hopeful it will bring attention to Alzheimer’s causes. I am a keynote presenter for a living. Even though I am best known for my humor and storytelling, it is the message of healthcare affordability and access that audiences seem to appreciate most. I was fortunate to have access to many well kept healthcare industry secrets in my ten years as a hospital CEO. Now I share these secrets with American businesses and individuals with the hope of making basic healthcare services accessible and affordable.

Thanks Mom. I’ll always love you and fight for the causes you fought for. And per your wish, I’ll use every gift and value you bestowed upon me to accomplish this.

We can’t let healthcare bankrupt the American dream, and its well on track to do that.

In 2017 Forbes Books recruited me to write a book teaching American businesses and family’s how to save thousands annually on healthcare. They were convicted in their belief that I was the ideal person to write this book based on my experience as a hospital CEO, author and faculty member at USC.

It was the confidence those Forbes Books executives showed in me that convinced me to invest in the project, and actually research and write a book on healthcare affordability – which I coined as Health-Wealth.

In January 2018, I will release Health-Wealth: Is healthcare bankrupting your business? 9 steps to financial recovery. This book teaches businesses how to drastically reduce spending on healthcare. In September 2018, I will follow that book up with a new book targeting individuals and families, teaching them how to reduce personal spending on healthcare – and still access the best doctors, hospitals and services. This books tentative title will be Health-Wealth: Is healthcare bankrupting your Family? 5 ways to save $5,000 annually.

And all proceeds from each will go to our not-for-profit that supports Alzheimer’s causes.

This is the promise I made to my mom. This is the goal I will remain focused on: Raising money for Alzheimer’s research and ensuring Americans have affordable access to healthcare services.

We have a long way to go on both.

So as hard as it is to share stories about my mom as her disease progresses to the final stages, I will keep fighting. I will stay true to my word. I will honor my mom by honoring her values.

Thanks Mom. I’ll always love you and fight for the causes you fought for. And per your wish, I’ll use every gift and value you bestowed upon me to accomplish this.

In honor of Vicki Ann Luke.

Here is the link to the video I posted on LinkedIn that went viral.  

Alzheimer’s: A Mothers Day Promise to my Mom, By Dr. Josh Luke

I was born at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in 1972. Doctors scrambled to keep me alive with multiple surgeries as my esophagus and trachea were not fully developed; a feeding tube was inserted in my stomach, and I developed pneumonia.

When days turned to weeks, relatives encouraged my mom to run home and take a nap. But my mom, Vicki, would have none of it. She refused to leave.

Weeks later as we drove home from the hospital, Mom told Dad she would be sleeping on the floor under my crib for the time being. He knew from her tone and forward stare that her mind was made up.

In and out of the hospital for 11 months, while taking care of my two older brothers, my mother continued to sleep under my crib for the first 12 months of my life.

Read the whole article here.

Cal State Fullerton Alum: Is Health Care Bankrupting Your Business Or Family? By Dr. Josh Luke

Six words killed American health care: “Your insurance will pay for it.” Doctors and hospitals repeated this phrase, and we all took the bait. Individuals and businesses all bought in.

And as a result we all chose the big shiny hospital and the high-priced doctor when given a choice. We assumed bigger was better. Well, that’s not always the case in health care.

The truth is, we all paid for it at the end of each year when our company got its annual premium increase from its insurance carrier. A portion of that increase was passed on to the consumer. It was not a question of if, but how much. We choose higher-cost health care as we are led to believe the costs do not impact us as individuals and businesses.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If health care costs grow at the rate of inflation, a millennial could spend 75 percent of her lifetime earnings for health care, according to Dave Chase, co-founder of the Health Rosetta Institute. This is tragic.

So when do we declare the tipping point? We would have already if we knew how. Take note of these significant events that have taken place in the past few weeks. They all are clear indications that America is declaring its tipping point on health care hyperinflation.

1.     Disney Orlando broke from its traditional insurance carrier to contract directly with a health system. It’s likely Disney SoCal does the same.

2.     Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced a partnership to form their own health care company for their U.S. employees.

3.     Apple announced it was partnering with several health systems to give consumers access to their medical records from their mobile device.

Clearly Americans are fed up. Below is a roadmap for individuals to reduce health care costs by thousands annually.

But first, let’s clarify that your high-deductible plan is not just a way for your employer to shift more costs to the individual. That’s only true if an individual does not engage. The formula is simple.

Ask yourself this question: Are you an EHC — an Engaged Health-care Consumer? To become an EHC, follow three simple steps — the 3 P’s: Have a Plan based on Preventive medicine and Personalized medicine.

Below are four specific items that individuals can include in their EHC Plan that will save them and their employer thousands annually.

1.     Local medical tourism – Shop! Just like you would for a car or home. Find a “center of value.” Compare price and quality when you need a medical procedure or test. Individuals routinely save up to 60 percent by simply exploring their options — even on a procedure in which your out-of-pocket is $10,000 — by going to your human resources department and identifying a center-of-value (sometimes called the “narrow-network”) provider. That’s a savings to you of $6,000.

Research shows that the average distance an individual needs to drive to find a center of value is only 35 miles. Also, there is no evidence that bigger is better in health care, as quality scores vary. Don’t assume.

2.     DNA testing: A simple test can show you which medications are effective on your body, and at what dosages, as well as which medications are not effective. Are you or a dependent taking a high-cost medicine? What if your DNA test shows the med is actually not effective based on your genetic blueprint and there is another medication or a generic that would be more effective on your body? DNA tests cost $300 to $1,300, but often your employer will pay for them or you can pay via a health savings account.

3.     Integrative medicine: Integrative medicine was once common in America, with more than 100 university programs nationwide until the 1950s, when Big Pharma used its massive budget to begin persuading Americans that the only way to cure an illness is by taking a pill. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Integrative medicine includes Eastern medicine and natural-remedy approaches that focus on the root cause of an issue to eliminate it, as opposed to just focusing on the symptoms. Utilize both Eastern and Western remedies in your EHC Plan. One of the best companies nationwide fulfilling these needs is Harvey.

4.     Alternative insurance plans: Inquire with your employer about any alternative insurance plans, as they have become very popular. Approaches such as telehealth, direct primary care (for 24/7 walk-in and call-in access to physicians) and remote monitoring techniques have become the norm. For example, a mother whose child wakes up sick could just log on to her mobile device and have a telehealth consult with a doctor within a half-hour instead of having to re-arrange her entire day to try to get a doctor’s appointment and then wait in a germ-infested waiting room.

These are just a few of the proven steps that Americans are taking to reclaim health care on their path to Health-Wealth. Declare your tipping point today.

By Josh Luke