Human Kind: The Search for Well-Being part 2

Airs Sunday, January 12 at 6 p.m. The clash over who gets health care coverage and who pays — which resulted in the 2013 government shutdown — is just part of the story. According to the CDC, more than three-fourths of U.S. medical costs are attributed to largely-preventable illnesses related to our lifestyle behaviors (what we eat, whether we exercise, how we manage stress, if we smoke).

Yet visits to the doctor are often too brief to get a handle on these complicated problems. An NPR/Robert Wood Johnson/Harvard poll shows about 3 in 5 patients are unhappy with the rushed pace. Frequently they come away with prescriptions to treat symptoms, rather than a solution to underlying causes. And it's increasingly hard for time-stressed physicians and nurses. 

To get to the root of this, The Search for Well-Being examines the emergence of “integrative medicine” for which clinics are now widespread at major hospitals throughout the United States, including parts of the Veterans Administration, which operates the nation’s largest health care system. The aim is to provide effective, low-tech care for the whole person: mind/body/spirit. Many integrative clinics offer acupuncture, teach meditation skills for stress reduction and provide health counseling. Some of these services are newly covered by the Affordable Care Act and Medicare.  SEGMENT 1: Our new documentary project, “The Search for Well-Being” begins with a visit to America’s busiest trauma center in Baltimore, where patients receive both emergency care and natural treatments to soothe the challenges of serious illness. SEGMENT 2: The problem of rushed medical visits, now standard nationwide, can strain both doctors and patients. The story of a Calif. woman who was misdiagnosed with MS, until a different doctor had the time to listen and discovered the error.