Amber: Hi, I’m Amber Ambrose coming to you from San Antonio, Texas, and this is HealthMakers. My guest today is Dr. Charles Webb, the Founder of Freedom Practice Coaching. Welcome to the show.
Charles: Thanks for having me.
Amber: Tell me about Freedom Practice Coaching.
Charles: Freedom Practice Coaching, I guess, it is kind of what it sounds like. It allows doctors to have the freedom to practice as they know is best for the clients and their freedom to actually enjoy their life. Basically, this came about—we understand that doctors, healthcare practitioners; whether you’re talking about medical doctors, allopathic, or osteopathy, chiropractors, naturopaths, you name it. As a whole, they’re frustrated. They’re frustrated working in a healthcare system that’s broken. They’re frustrated because they’re tied to protocols that are often put together and governed by insurance companies. They’re frustrated because they can’t work with their clients, their patients, in the way they know is a best fit for them to empower them.
Charles: They’re frustrated because they’re not seeing their families because they’re working 50-60 hours a week. They’re frustrated in not knowing what they’re going to get paid because the insurance companies, they didn’t check the boxes right, etc. So, they’re frustrated because the system is broken, it’s been broken. FPC recognizes this. We have empathy. I’m a doctor, I’ve been in that system, and we teach them, we train our clients a system proven to be a better way to run your business. The practice is a business to allow them to start working with their clients in a way they know is best to empower them, not just treat their symptoms; be able to spend ample time with them instead of seven minutes; able to actually work through the work week, enjoy it, and be able to enjoy higher profits.
Charles: That’s important because they can keep their doors open and not worry about having to sell out to the corporate world. So, we teach them a proven system, a better way to practice to allow them to actually enjoy practicing again, but give the patient, give the client what they’ve been asking for, and that’s, teach me how to take care of myself and my family. So, we do this by taking our clients, our doctors, and their entire teams through a curriculum. It’s actually a three-year curriculum that we take them through. It’s very intense, to be honest with you, it’s some work. We teach everything that you would see being taught to build a self-sustaining business, Fortune 500 company if you will, where the business actually works for the doctor; works around the doctor’s lifestyle; works in system so if the doctor wants to take a—
Charles: For example, I just took a trip to Park City with my family, we do every year on a ski trip. Well, my business works when I’m gone. It doesn’t change anything, I don’t have to be there. When I was in practice it wasn’t any different. So, we put systems in place where, over time, those hours they’re putting in builds itself so they don’t have to repeat themselves month, after month, after month. Everything you would see in business from understanding how to educate your community, promote yourself, how to communicate and pre-educate those people coming to you to see that there is a different way as a new breed of doctor. We teach everything from staff training, to running your business with empirical evidence, or stats, instead of emotions.
Amber: Well, and it sounds like when you focus on the business and when you take the pressure of that off of the doctor because they’re empowered with this new information, they’re actually better practitioners.
Charles: Well, they are. So, and the thing is, most doctors, including myself, I went in to practice because I wanted to help people, right? Over time, if the practitioner becomes the only person that is seeing the person, or dependent on them, and they don’t—
Amber: That’s a different type of relationship.
Charles: We’ve got a problem. Because the ceiling is on that doctor and he or she is constantly in front of the patient, who is going to run the business? Who is the CEO? If that is the case, then that’s what you want as a practitioner, you don’t want to escape that, then we’re going to teach you how to find a CEO.
Amber: To run the business side.
Charles: To run the business. But we know that most doctors, even those that say, ‘Hey, I love to see patients,’ but would you like to be in a position where you see them because you love to not because you have to.
Amber: It seems like the patients are also frustrated.
Charles: The patients are frustrated because the patients have been taught for years that as you get older you are going to have health problems and you’re not in control. So, you’re going to need this system, you’re going to need something for your boo-boos, for your aches, for your degeneration, and you’re going to be required to take medicine for the rest of your life. That’s what’s been educated and taught.
Amber: And you’re going to need to come to see me every time.
Charles: Every time. And you’re going to have to have insurance, and it’s going to cost a lot, and if you don’t have it then you’re just a fool and you’re not taking care of your family the way that you should. And, by the way, your insurance won’t cover everything. You have to meet your deductible, which is now $5,000, etc. So, they’re frustrated, and they’re frustrated that they go to a doctor that they trust, and again, I’m not blaming the majority of doctors here. It’s the system. They go in, they wait, they wait, and then they see the doctor for seven minutes and they walk out and wonder, ‘Did he or she listen to me? Do they really know what’s going on with me?’ Or, was it just a quick, how can I get you—I’ve got to move otherwise can’t keep my doors open. If I see you longer than eight minutes I’m not going to get paid.
Amber: You’ve gotta turnover.
Charles: I’ve gotta churn and burn to keep this thing going. So, again, I feel for the doctors. The majority of them went in with the intention to help people.
Amber: I don’t think you go through that much school for no reason.
Charles: It’s the system. And so, people are falling into a broken system and they do recognize that if everyone has health insurance, because this has been touted as fixing the problem, if everyone has health insurance that’s going to fix all their problems. No. It’s going to fix only the problem of big pharma and insurance companies making more money. Right now, there’s over $10,000 per man, woman, child that goes—last year, over $10,000 for healthcare costs. And we’re way down the list when it comes to how healthy our country is. So, as long as we tell people that you have this umbrella that’s going to save you called insurance, they’ll have a tendency not to take action. My hypothesis would be if you took insurance away, or made it catastrophic, ok everyone has catastrophic, so you don’t lose the form, but outside of that it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself. If you get sick, it’s going to come out of your pocket.
Amber: That changes the dynamic so much.
Charles: Now we have a healthier country and that’s just my hypothesis. I can’t prove it, but I’ve been in practice long enough to see those that have some accountability and skin in the game take better care of themselves.
Amber: Absolutely, that makes sense. So, just listening to you it sounds like you might not be the biggest fan of the Affordable Care Act.
Charles: You listened. It’s very clear that the Affordable Care Act, again, what are we trying to do? If the model doesn’t change from treating the end point of disease, then we’re not going to change the health of the country.
Amber: Like treating the symptoms and not the source.
Charles: Treating the symptoms. Why can’t we say that insurance covers those types of actions, treatments, protocols that work to prevent the end point of disease? Why can’t they come up and say, ‘We’ll put so much in for health membership. We’ll put in educational classes on nutrition,’ things like this. Certain supplements, whole plant supplements that we know have been shown to help support blood sugar issues, cardiovascular issues, things like this.
Amber: Evidence based.
Charles: Evidence based. Why can’t we do that and why can’t we reward people that have shown that they’ve stayed healthy by doing these things, reward them with a smaller premium, etc.? Why can’t we do that? Well, the people at power obviously don’t make as much money in that model, so there’s my answer.
Amber: There you go, very honest. I appreciate it. You have a personal way in that you got into this business. You had, it sounds like somewhat of an epiphany. I don’t know how long that took to unfold but it started from your own model and your own practice.
Charles: I did. I was in practice, I started in practice in December of ’87 and by ’96, that model, the insurance model, burnt me out. I was successful, I saw a lot of patients, I had a lot of practices, I took those practices into a public company and I said, I’m done. I had money, and that was ok, what can I do now? I stepped out because I didn’t feel like I was being a doctor. I felt like I was being a technician and I felt like I was working for insurance companies, which I really was in that model. So, I got out and—
Amber: I’m seeing the freedom part of where we’re headed here.
Charles: That’s right. So, I’ll tell you something, and I’ve told this story many times and I wish I could fix it, I didn’t really get to see my daughter grow up; Amanda. I was never going to let that happen with my son. My daughter is 31, my son is 13, and I didn’t really, that relationship was never the kind of relationship it should have been because of my bondage to my practice. She missed out, I missed out. There’s too many doctors that I see every day that are missing out on their kids and that’s not right. So, when I got back in I told my wife, ‘I’m going back in but this time I’m not going to follow the protocols that are governed and apply to me that this is what we’ll pay for therefore this is what you must do.’ So, I knew that going in the model I was going to educate my clients the way that I lived. I’m a healthy guy, I’m an athlete, so I was going to teach my clients how to eat right, how to exercise right, how to avoid the end point of disease. If they were on medications what can we do over time to help them get off those medications? What can we do for them to take this into their household and work with their spouse and their children and everything else.
Charles: So, I really dove into this new model called functional medicine, which really teaches practitioners to go upstream, find out where the imbalance began and correct that. I knew that doctors as a whole didn’t understand how to bring this into a model because a lot of it is also cash. We don’t have to depend on insurance. I stepped out and said, ‘How do I help other practitioners?’ I built a very, very successful practice here in San Antonio, and got a name, and it went around and got a lot of attention and people asking me, ‘Hey, can you teach me this?’ In 2012, I started Freedom Practice Coaching to really show doctors that are frustrated in this broken system there is a system proven to be a better way to run your practice, to enjoy life, to know that when you go home you’ve done the best you can for that person that trusted you.
Amber: Thank you so much for joining us today.
Charles: Thanks for having me. I really enjoy sharing the message and I appreciate this time.
Amber: You’re a great storyteller so that makes my job easier. Once again, this is HealthMakers. I’m Amber Ambrose and we’re in San Antonio, Texas today. Thanks for watching.
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