As clinical director at Blue Umbrella Medical Center, I sit down with every patient to listen totheir health concerns and help create a treatment plan. Having worked with so many over the years, patients are consistently telling me that they have been dismissed by multiple physicians and told, “there is nothing that can be done” or “you are just getting older”. What is astounding is that for the vast majority, there are viable treatment options that are easy, effective, affordable, non-invasive, require no down-time, and even covered by health insurance. So, the question is, why have they not been told about these options?
First off, many physicians who operate in the world of insurance have extremely limited time with each patient. Many PCPs and family doctors are only being allowed 5-7 minutes with each patient due to poor reimbursement rates. While this is enough time to address minor concerns, complex chronic conditions require far more time. My experience has been that most chronic health concerns (anything that has been going on for longer than 90 days) appear to be untreatable until you dig deep enough to find the root cause, and this simply can’t bedone in 5-7 minutes. These are great nurses and doctors who are not being given the time and tools they need to be able to do their job the way they want to do it.
The second issue is that many solutions require changes to the patient’s lifestyle. When the answer is to change the diet, improve exercise, quit smoking, or address some other destructive daily habit, those recommendations cannot be covered appropriately in the narrow time frame allowed by health insurance companies. Even if your doctor or nurse knows this would make a difference, they simply cannot do more than offer superficial recommendations. And over the years, even when they do devote the time a large population of patients fail to follow through with their part, so the provider doesn’t want to risk their schedule getting behind (i.e. the other patients getting mad and the staff frustrated) for nothing. This has conditioned many of your healthcare workers to not engage and leave their patient with the message that nothing can be done.
Lastly, many highly effective treatment options struggle making their way into the mainstream medical model. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions to make their treatment options foremost in the minds of providers and patients alike. It is very difficult for some of these newer therapies to get their message out therewhen they do not share the same marketing budget. Furthermore, because these treatments are less understood, they require more time for explanation to the patient when time is already an issue Most providers get frustrated by patient skepticism and revert to their old ways.
The truth is, there are options out there and patients should never give up hope. Keep searching, have an open mind, and with your efforts, the results can be quite amazing!
Dr. Jae Hitson, Clinical Director at Blue Umbrella Medical Center–www.blueumbrellamedical.com