Those among us who are familiar with the Bible will recall that Jesus Christ himself was an active member of the health care community as he travelled about the Holy Land.
It is reported that he practiced within multiple medical specialties, and his works as both an ophthalmologist and a neurologist are recounted within the verses of the Gospels.
But what if Jesus had been practicing medicine in the therapeutic environment we're familiar with today?
In today's conversation we'll be tagging along with Jesus as he takes a few calls at his HMO's Customer Care Center--and by the time we get done you should be able to bring a whole new take to those discussions you've been having about why reform matters.
"...a blind man, Bartimaeus...was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
...Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you."
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."
"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight..."
"Thank you for calling Customer Care. This is Jesus. How may I help you?"
"Hi, I was recently treated by you in Jericho for blindness--"
"Can I get your account number, sir?"
"Oh, yes. Is this Bartimaeus?"
"Yes it is."
"So what can I do for you today?"
"Well, I went to check my mail, and I found a bill from you for 42,554 shekels for the eye treatment, and I don't understand why you want me to pay this bill."
"Well, give me a second while I look that up...ahhh, OK, I understand what happened. You see, I did perform the eye treatment, but your policy requires you to be referred by your Primary Care Physician for any specialist treatment and pre-approved by someone here at Customer Care before we can be liable for any costs of care, and the computer says that you didn't do any of that first...so, I apologize, but we won't be able to make any adjustments to this account.
Is there anything else I can do for you today, Bartimaeus?"
"Well, how am I supposed to pay this bill? I don't have this kind of money. Can't you perform a miracle or something to help me out here?"
"Well, sir, I can't do that, but what I can do is transfer you to our Collections Department, who can help you make payment arrangements..."
Needless to say, the call went downhill from there.
"Here a great number of disabled people used to lie--the blind, the lame, the paralyzed...
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked..."
"...so you say you were lame and I made you walk, and now you're getting calls from a collections agency that wants to garnish your ass?"
"Yes, Jesus, that's correct."
"Well, it says here that that back in Tishri of 12 AD you had severe boils and lesions, which is a preexisting condition. Now when I asked you if you wanted to get well you never disclosed any of this, and I don't see it anywhere in your application packet, either.
Your policy requires you to inform us of any medical treatments you received before you became a policyholder, and because you failed to make a true and complete statement in your application we have to reject this claim.
I really do apologize, but we won't be able to make any adjustments to this account."
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
--1 Peter 5:1-4
"We didn't know what to expect when he came here, but in just a few months Jesus has shown us what can happen when the Son of God is a Customer Care Representative.
His average call volumes are more than double those of any other rep, and when you listen to him take calls...well, when you hear him tell someone that they won't be getting their benefits...it's almost like he has some divine power over the customers or something, and that's why today I've gathered you together to announce that Jesus is going to be transferred from the call center to the Executive Training Program.
Additionally, because Jesus did not adjust a single claim in favor of a customer for the last three months we're also giving him the "Employee of the Quarter" award, which means he gets three days off with pay that he can take anytime he wants, a check for $500, and, of course, Jesus gets to use the parking space right by the front door for his Hummer.
We expect really great things from Jesus in the future, and while we will miss Him here at Customer Care I think we can safely say that with Jesus running the show this company is going to remain profitable for decades to come."