Borish shared vision of future of health care

June 10, 2012


I recently read your article regarding the death of the great Dr. Irvin Borish. I, as a staff writer for the Opti Courier, and my wife, Lillian, had the privilege of interviewing him. His birthday was on January 21, and in 1998, on that very date, we met him in his home near Boca Raton, Fla. Many facts have been published about his life and times, but I feel compelled to reveal some of his thoughts that hitherto might never have seen print.

Dr. Borish predicted that health care would no longer be delivered in the traditional, completely personal, service mode.

He had a concept that he had been promoting for years. “Grouping and merging is the answer,” he exclaimed.

The problem is best summed up by the following, priceless, story recounted to me by Dr. Borish.

“The mayor of a small town in Maine was showing an out-of-town friend the sights of his local countryside. The friend commented that he noticed that there was no sign of people in the town offices, schools and stores. The mayor explained that it was time for the potato crop to be picked. It seems that the one industry and product of the town was growing potatoes, and at harvest time everyone participated. The mayor also offered that since potato crops were very unprofitable, the town was very poor and desperate. So a few years ago they sought advice from the state capital department of agriculture. An agent examined the soil and advised that the climate and soil were perfect for growing broccoli. And it would be very profitable to grow broccoli since they would harvest three crops each season. Confused, the friend said, ‘I don’t see any broccoli fields. What happened? Why aren’t they growing any broccoli?’ The mayor responded, ‘Because it gets in the way of growing the potatoes.’”

Elmer Friedman, O.D., past editor of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association Journal, past president of the Optometric Editors Association

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