Dr. Rugge Patient Story

John Rugge, MD, is not only the founding Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Headwaters Health Network, he is a family practitioner. He told this story at a recent EASE event…

“My patient is 52-year old man who divides his work life between logging and construction.  About three years ago he developed atrial fibrillation which was apparently “isolated”—with no other evidence of cardiac dysfunction.  At a check-up visit in late December, he mentioned being a little more short of breath walking up hills and I arranged an echocardiogram.

On Friday, I brought him in to let him know that compared to his baseline study of three years ago, he was showing a significant reduction of his ejection fraction indicating worrisome progressive weakening of the myocardium.  In other words, heart failure.  His first response was to say, ‘Thank God.’

‘Thank God?,’  I asked.

‘Yeah,’ he replied. ‘Last month, I finally got health insurance with full coverage.’

‘Obamacare,’ he added.

‘On the Exchange?’ I asked.

Yeah,’ was his reply.  ‘And it was a snap.’

You have no way of meeting this gentleman, but this is what you have done for him.”