Patient Care Without the Politics

Dr. Christine Munson

For Dr. Christine Munson, the journey into medicine was a somewhat circuitous one. Beginning as an English major, she didn’t settle on medicine until her senior year. Not only did she ultimately discover what kind of physician she wanted to be, she learned a lot about herself and how to effectively communicate with her patients along the way.

“I kind of took the roundabout way here,” explains Dr. Munson, chief of physiatry at Kaiser Permanente's Franklin Medical Offices. “Pragmatically, I had no idea what I was going to do with an English degree, so I started volunteering around places and exploring my options. Eventually, I landed on neuroscience, thinking that I’d go into physical therapy – I just thought anatomy was really cool. But I wanted to know more and not be limited in the ways I can help people.”

“Physiatry, in particular, is so inclusive. We’re trained in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, back injuries, sports injuries ­– all of the things that surgery alone can’t fix – and take into account the psychological, physical, medical and interventional sides of injury to help restore function to people. In a way, it needs a person with a diverse skillset.”

As a physician, Dr. Munson puts her diverse skillset to use building connections with her patients. A good listener and tactful communicator, she gives patients ownership of recovery by helping them understand their options and working together to develop a treatment plan.

“For me, the most important part of the patient experience is for them to understand what’s going on with their health. In medicine, it’s very easy to talk about the patients and throw out treatments without really including them in the decision-making process. Knowledge is the proverbial power. So to put in the time to help patients understand what’s going on with them and their treatment options so, together, we can make an informed decision, that’s really key.”

Although Dr. Munson is a Denver-area native, her decision to join CPMG was less about location and more about the quality of care she’s able to deliver under its integrated model.

“One of my main reasons for joining CPMG was the ability to practice medicine and do what I was trained to do without having to make decisions based on business. I was in private practice before I came here and, unfortunately, there are a lot of politics that interfere with patient care. Here, I only have to focus on medicine and doing what’s right for my patients rather than worry about what rep bought me lunch last or what I can be reimbursed for.”

“Knowing that your doctors are always going to do what’s best for your health? It’s empowering as physicians and patients.”

To learn more about Dr. Munson’s experience at CPMG, read part two of her story.

To learn more about working for CPMG, click here.