SeeThru Spotlight: Dr. Beth Haynes, Executive Board Member and Medical Director of the Benjamin Rush Institute

Edited by Adi Y. Segal

This week we feature Beth Haynes, MD. Dr. Haynes is an Executive Board Member and the Medical Director of the Benjamin Rush Institute. She also sits on the executive board of the Dr. Joseph Warren Institute and is the Founder and President of The Black Ribbon Project. She is a ardent advocate for physicians.

What drew you to a career in medicine?

My interest in both education and medicine stem from wanting to do something that would help maximize human flourishing. I wanted to work with individuals and help them have the best possible life. I realized it takes education; it takes health; and it takes an understanding of the science.

Describe the biggest change that you’ve seen in healthcare.

Watching the loss of autonomy for physicians and patients, and the increasing intrusion of third parties physicians struggling against third parties into the practice of medicine.

The majority of doctors, patients and policy makers view the current model where healthcare plans pay for everything as the only way it can be. The vast majority don’t realize there are other ways of paying for care. The whole mind-shift to “someone else will pay” has disempowered both patients and physicians.

Beth Haynes, MD of the Benjamin Rush Institute

As a provider, what do you view as the biggest challenge for patients today?

Finding a physician that’s fully your advocate and getting them to think outside the box for how you pay for and receive medical care. Also, it’s hard for a lot of people to find doctors just to get in to see them.

Another major challenge is just shifting the mindset that a third party payer is the best way to pay for day-to-day medical needs. When I was growing up, we had a system where we paid cash for what we needed. With this came increased control and empowerment for patients, and reasonable cost of medical goods and services. So the biggest challenge may be trying to understand that there are other, better, options for paying for care.

How does this correlate with the greatest obstacles providers are facing?

Most doctors still practice within the insurance model. With shrinking reimbursement coupled with increased costs of submitting claims, the only way to cover overhead and bring in adequate revenue is to see more and more patients during shorter and shorter visits. Both doctors and patients miss out on the person-to-person connections. Medical care is like working in a factory. The whole factory-medicine mentality is really a problem for everyone.

Why SeeThru?

SeeThru is one effort of trying to bring back price transparency to the healthcare marketplace.

What made you pursue a BA in Environmental and Outdoor Education? And how did you go from that to medical school?

It’s almost like I never left education, because a lot of medicine is education.

As an undergraduate I created my own major, and while taking my Anatomy & Physiology course I got hooked. In particular I remember being totally captivated by the molecular mechanism of actin and myosin in muscle movement. I wanted to know more about the body at that level. That pursuit eventually sparked my interest in medicine.

I also noted that during the semesters when I played varsity volleyball up to 40 hours a week, I could handle a heavier course load than when I was exercising less. This further sparked my interest in the connection between the mind and body, between exercise, the immune system, stress, and physical health.

Rapid Fire Round

a) One Fact People Would Find Surprising About You? I have seen medicine from the perspective of the patient in a couple of ways. After a climbing accident, I was quadriplegic for 45 minutes. In another instance, during a laminectomy, the femoral artery and vein were transected and I had to be transfused with 60 units of blood.

b) Favorite Spielberg Movie? E.T. or Raiders of the Lost Ark

c) What is the strangest thing you’ve eaten? Sea Urchin

d) MAC or PC? My computers are PC, but I have an iPad that I love and an iPhone.

Nathan Carroll is a medical student and MBA candidate at Rowan University. When not buried in the books, he is usually training in martial arts or playing with his dog. He can be reached at