UTC alumna Dr. Pamela Ross is featured in the new documentary film Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare set to premier Friday. An official selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Escape Fire has already earned Best Director and Best Documentary honors from the Newport Beach Film Festival and several other awards.
The film “tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system? American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20 percent of our gross domestic product, within 10 years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs – almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65 percent of Americans are overweight and almost 75 percent of healthcare spending goes to preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.”
Dr. Ross, a medical doctor and founder and CEO at Holistic Medical Consultants and associate professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Virginia Health System, appears twice in the film. She is shown as she studied under Dr. Andrew Weil in his Integrative Medicine Fellowship in Tucson, Az. She was also captured in her day-to-day emergency physician practice and as she worked with patients who have no access to primary care doctors.
“It was a great scene that I have discovered makes audiences laugh and goes on to provide more insight to the difficulties patients experience in managing their own health,” Dr. Ross explained.
Dr. Ross agrees with film’s premise, that healthcare in America needs a lot of improvement.
“America is a place where a person can lose their home to medical bills. I don’t believe this is what health care should do to anyone. At the end of the day, how can a doctor feel good about helping people only to find out that the person has gone bankrupt over the cost of medical care? Or when there is not enough time for doctors to spend with patients to get to the bottom of their health problems?” Dr. Ross questioned.
The film will open in Nashville on Friday at the Belcourt Theater. It will also premier on iTunes, and Video on Demand on Friday.
Check out the Escape Fire website to see additional theater locations that will show the movie beginning Friday.