What is Carah Medical Arts?
Carah Medical Arts was started as a non-profit corporation by a group of people in our local community. We believe that a grassroots effort is needed to make possible a different kind of healthcare. We ourselves need to create the kind of healthcare we want. Waiting for politics, insurance companies and the healthcare industry to “fix our healthcare system” will not get us there. With the uncertainties of the current healthcare system, we live in a time that asks us to form social structures not around false securities but around the true security arising from interest and concern for each other.
The word “Carah” has several meanings which carry the impulse behind the kind of healthcare we want to nurture in the community. In Gaelic it means “friend”. In Welsh it means “love” between friends and neighbors. In Indonesian it means “the way” and “wise”.
Why is there a need for this?
Our current healthcare system with its focus on the physical body has led to astonishing results in areas such as emergency medicine. However, many people do not feel met in areas of medicine that involve our individuality more strongly. The relationship between patients and health-care practitioners has been neglected. Instead, we are increasingly relying on sub-specialists and technology. This has also led to surging costs, threatening the economic future of individuals, businesses and organizations in our country. Our healthcare system is in crisis.
In response, the Direct Primary Care movement is rapidly growing all over the US. In order to allow time with and easy access to the primary care physician, it is economically supported through memberships instead of insurance billing. It has been shown to lead to significant decreases in hospital stays and emergency room visits, which means people stay healthier. At the same time overall healthcare costs are lowered. That means better care at overall lower cost. Carah Medical Arts is building on this foundation.
Community-supported individual medicine
Medicine needs to be individual in order to be healing. We need to meet not only as “patient” and “doctor” but also as “you” and “I”. A lot flows into meeting each other: our unique experiences, impulses, needs, knowledge and skills; our individual physiologies and biographies. Medicine needs science and scientific results, but a healing encounter also requires listening and speaking, empathy, appreciation for the processes of life, openness and creativity. Medicine then becomes an art. It needs to be practiced in freedom - freedom for patients to find their individual paths of healing and freedom for health-care practitioners to accompany them on these journeys.
Anthroposophic medicine provides a model for this kind of medicine. It takes into account the physical, functional, soul and spiritual aspects of our being. It integrates the accomplishments of conventional medicine with lifestyle adjustments, self-empowerment, natural remedies, and innovative therapies.
This kind of medicine requires time. More time than the 10-15 minutes that a primary care physician spends on average with a patient. Longer visits are not sustainable within the insurance system. If one wants health insurance to pay for one’s medical care, one will get the medical care that health insurance pays for. Insurances also increasingly mandate what kind of care is provided.
Therefore, Carah Medical Arts needs a community of people and organizations to support it. A community of people and organizations who feel a need for this kind of healthcare and are willing to support it, for the benefit of their neighbor and community as well as themselves. A community that balances the individualization of our times with caring about each other, solidarity and mutual support.
We work towards a vision of patients, doctors, nurses, therapists and supporters working together in a healing space. We see this vision unfolding in several phases which will deepen the local anthroposophic medical-therapeutic work through primary care, nursing, therapies, education and research. The initial phase of our initiative includes outpatient Family Medicine services and education. Future phases will unfold as different people with different capacities will join us. Our future vision includes building a healing architectural space that will be a home to this work for the present and future generations.
We work towards the vision of a social organism in which the medical-therapeutic arts can be practiced in freedom; where trusting, long-lasting relationships can be formed on the basis of our universal, shared humanity; and which is carried by community-supported economics based on caring for each other. Through such an endeavor, individual and social health and their innate interdependence are supported and furthered.
This kind of healthcare thus leads to individual health through community support and community health through individual support. This kind of healthcare is wholesome.