Over the last century, the role of physicians in society has evolved rapidly - and not always for the better. From an unrealistically lofty pedestal, the physician (with whom God would occasionally seek advice) once dispensed mostly unquestioned ignorance and superstition to grateful supplicants. Today, some would reduce that physician to a clerk, meekly dispensing only the pre-digested "protocols" judged "cost-effective" by government or industry to "clients" assigned by those who pay the bills. Patients are not well served by either extreme.

The staff of Heritage Family Medicine will at all times seek to demonstrate the following values:

1. The Patient Comes First. Above our own convenience, sense of order, personal desires or personal enrichment, the needs of patients must come first. Period.

Practical Applications: We will work through lunch, stay late, miss social obligations if necessary, to attend the medical needs of patients who have honored us with their trust. It also means that the most well designed daily schedule may sometimes be sacrificed - causing some patients inconvenience to meet the unplanned necessary need of another. We will never sell, recommend, or promote treatments, programs, or products for the sake of our own economic gain. Excellence is the only acceptable standard.

2. Whole Person Care. The motto of Loma Linda University Medical School is: "To Make Man Whole." We seek to emulate the healing ministry of the Great Physician in addressing the needs of patients in body, mind, and spirit.

Practical Applications: We will remember at all times that "the ankle sprain in room 2" is connected to a WHOLE person and remain sensitive to all other needs while attending to the simple or mundane. We will inquire regarding emotional, sexual, spiritual and family health in the course of routine care - offering, but never insisting, on intervention If helpful.

3. Integrity. We will tell the truth.

Practical Applications: If the diagnosis is threatening, we will speak with kindness and compassion, but will not hold back. If we know of substantial risks to our recommendations, we will inform the patient. If we know of another professional or institution likely to provide a safer or more efficacious service than our own, we will recommend them.

4. Respect. We will help patients make their own best choices while protecting their dignity and their privacy.

Practical Applications: We will seek to educate our patients both during the office encounter and by appropriate referrals to other sources of reliable information. We will enhance patient comfort by avoiding unnecessary exposure or gowning, leaving them in their own chosen attire, when possible. We will adhere to our policy: "Your Rights to Privacy and to Access."

5. Reliable Knowledge. We will remain current in our understanding of medical science and its skillful application.

Practical Applications: All practitioners will retain certification by the relevant professional organizations, consistently exceeding minimal standards of continuing education and performance reviews. We will remain open to the insights and techniques of other disciplines, including such alternatives as acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic, etc., where reasonable evidence suggests the potential to benefit a patient. Conversely, we will be frank to expose the bogus, the scam, or the dangerous.

While holding ourselves to the highest standards of performance, we will never forget that as humans, we will fall short of our ideals. We will make mistakes - and if knowledge could impact your care, we will tell you. We will employ systems wherever possible to minimize such errors. We will not be offended if you "double-check" us.

6. Responsible Stewardship. The average U.S. physician "directs" in the annual expenditure of about three million dollars. Neither individual patients nor the national economy can afford careless expenditures.

Practical Applications: We will be prudent and conservative in our own care and in our recommendations for technical and consultative services. We will practice "evidence-based medicine" where practical and always ask "what potential difference to the patient's well being could this choice make?" We will inform patients if recommendations may be costly. We will reduce costs by seeking direct relationships with our patients whenever possible - looking to them for payment rather than to third parties. We will enforce our financial policies consistently, enabling us to maintain lower fees to the benefit of all patients.

7. Employee Excellence. Employees will both demonstrate and be recipients of the values herein enumerated.

Practical Applications: We will hire and retain only the best available - persons with a passionate commitment to excellence. We will solicit their suggestions and encourage their professional growth. They will be compensated fairly and share in the success they help to achieve.