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The Parable of the Talents November 7, 2011
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Bob Blumm, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA Past President, ACC About the Author
Bob Blumm, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA Past President, ACC

The world of finance and the general economy took a surprise down spin a few years ago when the infamous Bernie Madoff admitted to the fact the he could no longer pay his investors’ refunds as his Ponzi scheme had finally run dry. More than 19 Billion Dollars was invested in his huge opportunity to guarantee large dividends on a yearly basis whereas seemingly he and a few others were the recipients of this promise. Charitable institutions bought in, fund managers, hospitals, religious institution, and, in general, people with a dream that soon sounded too good. As early members pulled out, there was just not enough capital to reimburse the investors, and his sons had to turn states evidence on him. He received a 150 year jail sentence, but the greater damage is the he destroyed people’s ability to trust. They had trusted him with their entire financial future, and this misplaced trust created a bankruptcy situation.

The parable about the talents related to a rich man that gave three servants a large sum of money and told them to invest it wisely as he was going on a long journey and would return to check on their accomplishments. He gave one person 10 talents, another five and the last person received 1.  A talent was an amount of money so let’s call it a million dollars. The guy with the ten million bought a slew of Starbucks shops and people came in large numbers to purchase this superb $4.00 coffee and with his investments he doubled his 10 million, which became 20 million. The fellow with 5 million bought many Dunkin donuts enterprises and he charged two dollars for his coffee and 99 cents for his donuts. He managed to double his money and now turned the five million into ten million. The last servant, when approached by his benefactor who had trusted him, had placed the money in a safe mattress because he was concerned that his master was a hard taskmaster and was petrified of losing the money. The master’s trust was certainly misplaced as fear and lack of imagination and creativity he did not even bring it to a bank with a minimal interest rating. This fellow lost it all and his one million went to the person who had made 20 million. This entire parable related to trust. What would these people do with their life and with his money?

How in the word does this make a connection with the PA and NP communities? I have sat on many admissions boards and have listened to the earlier members of the professions unfold their plan as it seemed like they would be looking to change the landscape of medical care in America by finding rural areas that needed their services or they would work with the geriatric populations. Years later we discovered that our trust was slightly misguided as they went into surgical specialties, large inner city and suburban practices and gained a reputation for being excellent providers. So, it’s true, they didn’t follow the dictates of their early game plan but they did use their training for the good of the people and entered new fields that embraced them with open arms. There was a small group like the guy with one talent, who took that medical knowledge, shifted careers like gears on a five speed and entered Law school or became creative in the field of Coding and broke down services to their multiple lower denominators to increase insurance reimbursement. This too is part of the American dream in that you can do and become anything as a citizen and the people who became affected were those that trusted their initial mission statement and those that lost the services of what could have been a good medical provider.

There are many who, like the ten talent person, have expanded their roles, have gone on medical missions, and have volunteered in disasters, functioned from their hearts not their pocketbooks. They are seen in oncology units, geriatric units, research, pediatrics, family practice. Some have become experts in mental health, in every sub-specialty of surgery, they placed their lot in learning cardiology and neurology and endocrinology so that they would be around to care for the baby boomers who would be utilizing all of their services. There is also the small number who joined the nation’s military so that they could both care for and actually be “in harm’s way” because they had strong nationalistic pride. I support all of my colleagues, PAs and NPs alike for your commitment, dedication and trust. You are making this a better health system and a stronger America. Let’s hope that our trust is not misplaced on a legislative level by losing what we have all planned on for our futures, Medicare and social security. If these stay intact we can feel the cozy blanket when we hit the cold days.


Bob Blumm
Robert M. Blumm has received national recognition as a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). He is the past president of the Association of Plastic Surgery Physician Assistants, and was past-president of the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, past president of the American College of Clinicians and NYSSPA, as well as Chairman of the Surgical Congress of the AAPA. In addition, Bob received the John Kirklin MD Award for Professional Excellence from the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants. Along with his associate, Dr. Acker, Bob was the first recipient of the AAPA PAragon Physician-PA Partnership Award.  He has been a contributing author of three textbooks, written 300 plus articles and is a sought out conference speaker throughout the United States.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.
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