Dr. Robert Townsend is a Working Physician
and specialist in pain management and addiction therapy. His first experience with healthcare came at age 19 when he started working as an EMT on ambulances in 1981. Working his way up through EMT Specialist and Paramedic, he worked rescue in Lansing, Michigan while attending Michigan State University. He continue to work in medical school in Florida doing ICU and Critical Care transfers and as a monitor tech. He is clearly the candidate with the most familiarity with the challenges of modern healthcare.
The challenges facing doctors now are very different with the coming of mega insurance companies. No longer can doctors keep their practices small, do house calls, and keep their charts in their heads. The need for documentation, both for medical and legal reasons, is huge, and Dr. Townsend was an early adapter of the computerized electronic medical record (EMR). He has even developed his own specialty EMR for his field to make sure documentation is excellent. This lead to better overall care and legal documentation, which has been successfully defended in court to the benefit of patients.
Addiction is a major crisis in Michigan- Dr. Townsend is very familiar with this field and the needs of patients. His feeling on the subject is that addiction is a medical condition that requires treatment, and supports the use of the funds for the ‘War on Drugs’ be repurposed from prosecution and incarceration to treatment and returning patients to productive society. The majority of people addicted to Heroin developed their addictions not on the street, but in their doctors’ office. This is because ‘pain management’ doctors tend to over use short acting narcotics when long acting medications would be more effective and less addicting.
Pain management has been demonized and poorly accomplished. Too often chronic pain patients are viewed simply as addicts, and they are frequently treated improperly with short acting narcotics. Patients are forced to choose between narcotic and non-traditional approaches (both of which may be effective). This over use of short acting narcotics leads to continued suffering and addiction. A physician that clearly understands both addiction and pain management (like Dr. Townsend) would be a valuable asset to the Legislature when it comes to crafting patient oriented laws and regulations.
Dr. Townsend supports universal healthcare. Too often, uninsured patients are forced to get care for even minor complaints from very expensive hospital emergency rooms. Hospitals are forced to absorb the cost of this care on the local level, and cannot recover them based on simply ‘raising their prices’. Insurance companies pay the bills, and they dictate the prices as a result. They do NOT take into account uninsured care when they set their prices for the hospitals. Hospitals are the major employer in many small communities in Central Michigan, and this uninsured care impacts their hiring, services, and even their ability to exist in those small communities.