Begins at Home!

C. Everett Koop, Former Surgeon General of the United States

said it best: 

"It stands to reason that any community should get the health care system it demands.  Like politics, existing health systems derive their life from local sources."

(exerpt from De-Spamming Health, Forward)

Our Published Opinions

We encourage lively discussion and debates- and we expect followers to be stirring the local community "pot" in order to engage leadership and make meaningful change.  The articles posted below are examples of what Dr. Felsen shares with West Virginia.   They have been categorized for easy identification:

  • Medical Science/Evidence (Cadeuses Icon)
  • Local Reform Efforts (Home Icon)
  • Financing/Costs (Dollar Sign Icon)
  • General Interest (Question Mark Icon) 


Reappearance of health brigades

Gazette-Mail, December 15, 2017

In early November, Senior Life Services of Morgan County launched the “Bath Brigade”, a program to provide a bath at least once a week to primarily homebound elderly folks. In an informal survey, these individuals, largely women, indicated this was the service they most coveted.

Fear of falls, disabilities, embarrassment over a family member assisting them bathe, and failure to qualify for certain home health benefits contributed to the situation. The consequences were not only a loss of self-esteem but dermatological and other avoidable medical conditions. READ MORE.

Local communities have a dog in the health care fight!

Gazette-Mail, November 12, 2017

I was thrilled by the opening commentaries in the October 19, 2017 issue of JAMA. Nearly 10 years after publishing my book, “De-Spamming Health, Reforming the Health System from the Bottom-Up”, top researchers and policy wonks appear to realize that if we are to escape the deadlock, and truly reform health care, it must start at local communities. READ MORE.

Health status and care “under the bridge”

Charleston Gazette-Mail, November 5, 2017

Recently, 15 state governors declared they do not want the flexibility to manage the health care funds their taxpayers send to Washington to assure a large segment of their state’s populations receive the care needed to maintain their` health status. They trust the federal government – largely through government health insurance interventions – will assure such health status. That shocked me as callous and cruel - instantly reminding me of examples of how much more determines health status – including my experience “under the bridge”.  READ MORE

Reform equals “spending more” cacophony

Charleston-Gazette, July 27, 2017

My hopes for any meaningful health reform further dwindled recently when I heard Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, as part of a TV panel, revert to political talking points rather than health care analysis. An excellent writer, I always appreciated his health care policy analysis, even though I frequently disagreed with some of his conclusions.  READ MORE

Meaningful Health Reform - hijacted again!

Gazette-Mail, June 28, 2017 

If improved health status of all Americans and containing health care expenditures are the goals of health reform, enacting the AHCA, or retaining the ACA, will make little difference.

What matters is the capacity and capability of local health care delivery resources and systems, success in preventing risky health behavior and health threats, making insurance “true” insurance and elimination of duplication, waste and low productivity. In the current debate there is little substantive discussion of these factors. READ MORE

ACHA Versus ACA Debate – More Garbage And Aberrant Focus.

Charleston Gazette, May 13, 2017

The Maslow “hammers” are again out in force looking for health insurance “nails”.  Ostensibly, the nation’s health reform goals are to improve health status, access, quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness for all Americans - but the hammers only see “health insurance” nails to pound. READ MORE

“Medical Cannabis”, Now what?

Gazette-Mail, April 12, 2017

The medical profession was strongly opposed to the legalization of “medical cannabis” based upon the complex and difficult situation implementation has created in many other states like New York and the move by California physicians to support full legalization in lieu of “medical cannabis”.  READ MORE.

ACA repeal is about one thing – money!

Charleston Gazette-Mail,  March 12, 2017

A friend - befuddled by multiple media articles and news segments about repealing and replacing the ACA - asked me what it was all about.  I answered, it is simple, money. The solution – how to save and redirect it – is very complex. Rather than balanced analyses, most media accounts have involved hyped distortions and exaggerations focusing on one of many interdependent issues at play.  READ MORE

Snake Oil Resurgence 

Gazette-Mail, February 25, 2017

Not since the 1930s, has the Nation witnessed such a repudiation of allopathic and osteopathic medicine and embraced snake oil salespersons of all sorts. The irony is that this occurs as there is tremendous support for accelerated investment in genetics, immunology and precision medicine - as witness by actions such as a passage of the 21st. Century’s Cures Act.  READ MORE

Myths about psychoactive substances and public policy

Charleston Gazette-Mail, February 10, 2017

Media reports regarding psychoactive substances - and public policy addressing their promotion, restriction and use – have flooded the public. Psychoactive substances are raw, refined, synthesized and/or adulterated physical and biologic matter with analgesic, hypnotic, sedative, euphoric and other nervous system effects when ingested, inhaled, and/or absorbed. Public policy is often forged from myths. READ MORE

Health reform – lessons from the election

Gazette-Mail, January 20, 2017

Social philosopher/author Norman O Brown and social biologist/author Edward O. Wilson eloquently describe the cornucopia and cyclic nature of human society. When my book,” De-spamming Health – Reforming Health Care from the Bottom Up” was published in 2008, a few close friends opined the “cycle” was not right to attempt to change the prevailing health system reform paradigm. Lessons from the recent political elections suggest the cycle and paradigm have shifted. READ MORE 

“Let’s dispense with the medical pot argument”.

Charleston Gazette-Mail, November 26, 2016

West Virginia is broke. Sin taxes – whether on tobacco, alcohol, gambling or cannabis – help fill potholes. Legislators and citizens must decide whether any potential personal, family and societal harm from legalizing the availability of these substances and activities is worth the cash. Let the debate be transparent and honest.  READ MORE

Are the pot gods crazy?

Charleston Gazette, October 10, 2016

Reviewing a September 22, 2016 “Neurology Today” article by Susan Fitzgerald entitled National Board Offers Guidance for Doctors Prescribing Medical Marijuana”, all I could think about was the 1980’s South African movie, “The Gods Must Be Crazy”. The Federation of State Medical Boards has issued guidance to physicians regarding the prescribing or recommending of “medical marijuana”, the equivalent of instructing Xi and his tribe on how to use the Coca Cola glass bottle the Gods have given them.  READ MORE

More on Zika – what’s the plan?

Charleston Gazette, August 4, 2016

A few days ago, mosquito pictures flooded newspapers and television as the media reported that Florida appears to have confirmed the first cases of Zika spread by local mosquitoes. In the Sunday, July 31, 2016 Washington Post, Sonia Shah’s feature article stressed that economic conditions have resulted in thousands of foreclosed, abandoned homes with swimming pools constituting a serious mosquito Zika transmission threat. READ MORE

Zika – a leadership failure

Charleston Gazette, July 21, 2016

As a warrior in the early days of the HIV/AIDS assault, science, resources and effective protective and treatment interventions were far from ideal, as is currently the situation with Zika.  READ MORE

Let's turn healthcare over to the IRS

Charleston Gazette, May 12, 2016

Our government wants us healthier and, by doing so, hopes to contain health care expenditures.  It postulates the major reason we are not healthier and overspend is that our doctors have been motivated to keep us sick to maximize their incomes by providing the highest possible volume of “fee for service” sickness services. Thus, they assert the outcome “value” of services is directed at maintaining sickness, not health or wellness. Allegedly, that is all to change.  READ MORE

$10 E-cigs and condoms are not prudent public health policy

Charleston Gazette, February 9, 2016

Condoms, e-cigs and cannabis products share some common characteristics. They are available in various flavors and colors, marketed as having certain health benefits and condemn by some as medically and socially unsafe and harmful. READ MORE


Denying medical services – who decides?

Charleston Gazette, April 22, 2016

Is the country at the precipice of a major shift regarding who and how permissible health behaviors and receipt of medical services are determined? Although his reasoning is specious, columnist Dana Milbank in the June 30, 2014 Washington Post contends that because of a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision, certain citizens “can now be denied contraception…required under Obamacare.” Although untrue, the phrase “required under Obamacare” piques inquiry.  READ MORE

Celebrating West Virginia’s hidden health heroes

Sunday Gazette-Mail, September 27, 2015

This past weekend was a warm, wonderful trip down memory lane. I watched and listened as doctors, nurses, administrators and others from West Virginia’s major population hubs and remote villages demonstrated and described how they were improving health delivery for the populations they serve. They came from private medical practices, community health centers and former free clinics. Some received additional reimbursements or grants to assist their efforts; some did not.  READ MORE

Docs, delis and outdated data

Charleson Gazette, June 26, 2015

Recently I received a prompt reply from a member of the West Virginia congressional delegation regarding my concern over the pending federal imposition of a massive increase in the volume and complexity of health data (ICD – 10 implementation) required to be reported by physicians. I feared it would drive small physician practices out of business or lead to their inability to care for Medicare and Medicaid patients.  The response stated the current data required was “outdated”.  My reaction was, “outdated, as decided by whom?”  READ MORE

Maybe it’s time for marriage to have a spiritual and civil divorce”.

Charlesto Gazette, August 19, 2015

Spiritual and civil marriage have been growing apart for some time. Trial separation has not been working out. In light of the recent SCOTUS decision, it would be prudent to hasten the divorce for the sake of civil harmony and justice. READ MORE

Accessing WV Health Care – Are we preparing for the changing mega-trends?

Charleston Gazette, December 9, 2014

At a recent medical meeting, the CEO of a large medical institution in a WV community of 100,000 stated that 75% of the citizens did not have a primary care physician.  Although suspect of the accuracy of the number, if not correct today it soon could be. Are we planning for such a change?  READ MORE