NASS On Spine

August 01, 2017

Q&A With Matthew Maxwell, MD

1. What is your hometown and where do you currently live?

I was born and raised just outside of Seattle, WA. I currently live in Chevy Chase, MD, and practice in the DC metropolitan area.

2. What is your educational background?

I received my undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Tulane University in New Orleans. I received my medical school training at the University of Chicago Medical School, followed by residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After completing residency, I pursued a Sports Medicine Fellowship with specialized training in Interventional Spine in the Department of Orthopedics at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.

3. Tell us a little bit about your practice/specialty …

I have an outpatient practice affiliated with a local health care system. My patients visit me for various musculoskeletal conditions, often making initial contact for spine related complaints, but then seeking care for other issues such as hip and shoulder disorders.

4. How long have you been a NASS member and why did you join?

I have been a NASS member since residency. I joined NASS to be part of an interdisciplinary organization that integrates work from many disciplines and translates that work into comprehensive guidelines, policy and advocacy.

5. You recently attended the NASS Advocacy Fly-In in Washington DC with other physicians and politicians. What was that experience like?

I enjoyed the opportunity to share my experiences with colleagues, spine and otherwise, gaining a broader frame of reference in understanding health policy and the evolving landscape of our national health care system. I would say the same for my experience discussing relevant issues with members of Congress, as it provides the opportunity to view our current system and professional practices from a less indoctrinated, and sometimes less insightful, point of view.

6. Why are you interested in health care advocacy? And why is it important?

I have found the opportunity to engage in advocacy rewarding on a personal level, as it also allows us as a medical community to share our experiences with those who control health policy. I believe many of those in government do sincerely want to improve health care and recognize the limited prism through which they view these critical issues which affect all Americans, especially those who try to provide quality medical care. It is important because we are the only ones who can relate to them the daily obstacles that we, as providers, and our patients, as consumers, encounter each and every day.

7. Social media is becoming more prevalent every day in our world. Do you use social media at all professionally and if so, which platforms do you prefer?

Over the last year, I have taken to using Twitter to spread information which I consider helpful in the management of sports and spine related injuries. I find it helpful to quickly disseminate material which can promote a more active lifestyle and help individuals manage symptoms with behavioral approaches, including tips for maintaining a healthy diet and an appropriate home exercise program.

8. What is your opinion of the way the health care industry is currently covered in the media?

It is unfortunate that little attention has been given to the relative financial success of hospital systems and insurance companies in the current system. In contrast, physicians continue to struggle with increased administrative burdens, network consolidation, and regulatory and compliance hurdles. While physicians are generally still held in high regard by the press and population as a whole, it seems that blame is increasingly being placed on physicians for issues out of our control, such as increased use of EMR, decreased time in office visits and delays related to administrative processes. I believe that the media could provide a more balanced perspective on these pervasive issues.

9. What do you do for relaxation in your down time (example: hobbies, sports, travel)?

When time allows, I enjoy working on carpentry and other projects at home. For my latest project, I am refinishing our deck and play area in cedar and flagstone.
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