Our Own Health: Conversation and Comprehensive Treatment
Patients tell me one of our country’s big problems is the state of our healthcare system and comprehensive treatment. There are often long wait times and short, hurried time with the doctor. In this Fresh Muse blog tonight, I want to be one of many who focuses on ownership. The question becomes, “What can I do to maximize my chances to be healthy?”
A physician used to try to solve a patient’s problems using only conversation, the exam, and experience. With the invention of the CT Scan, MRI, and other medical tests, there is now more dependence on them in the diagnosis process. However, these tests sometimes are misleading. For example, there is no consistent correlation between the severity of back pain and the severity of abnormalities shown on the film of a back. Some people without back pain may have a scan that looks terrible. The CT Scan and MRI are perhaps now used too often because people expect them. As read in the Neurology paperback called “The Man Who Tasted Shapes” by Richard E. Cytowic, M.D., physicians are often bound to machine and lab tests to get reimbursed because insurance companies do not pay a physician to only use their training, experience, and be a Sherlock Holmes. Insurance companies often have a limited reimbursement system that doesn’t necessarily include common sense or experienced treatment development.
Having medical insurance–is essential to protect against bankruptcy due to a major health situation like cancer or a hospital or surgical emergency. However, this current model doesn’t really solve our problems long-term.
We can take pride in living a life of personal fulfillment. Low stress and anxiety, healthy foods, physical activities, and friends help also. Should we take ownership for doing what we can to live the life we want to live ? Must we depend on insurance whims and let them dictate what we do? It can seem daunting, depending on the situation. An insurance company I know refused to pay for physical therapy for living pain-free with mild scoliosis, but would pay for surgery, a much more expensive and invasive option. Is it a good idea to get the desired treatment even if the health insurance doesn’t cover treatment? Is it worth waiting months to get an answer of whether insurance will pay for something when our health is at stake? (My wild idea is insurance companies should have to take the Hippocratic oath as they often come between the patient and the caregiver).
As a dentist, I like to develop comprehensive plans and treatment, using modern technology and materials when appropriate. To me, this is best done by making conversation the highlight of each visit. If you liked reading this, share it with others you know. If you have questions about how you can get what you want, give us a ring–it’s what we do.