THE ANSWER

Yesterday, I promised to give you a gift today that would help you improve your medical care and wrest control from the insurance companies.  You can skip to the end of this article for your present or read on.  I suggest that you read the entire article first. 

Recently, one of my readers wrote the following:

“We were just discussing this at work.  The first consideration in medical is the expense and the hospital liability, rather than the patient. Also frustrating is that we all have teams of doctors that seem to never come together to talk about a patient and how best to treat the patient.  They all just do their specific part.”

Let me address this reader’s concerns line by line. 

“We were just discussing this at work.  The first consideration in medical is the expense and . . .. Expense is often the first concern of patients as well as doctors.”  

While patients pay a fortune to the insurance company to cover their care, they pay a pittance to the family doc or internist responsible for their care.  Patients, after reviewing their EOB (explanation of benefits), would often comment that I got ripped off (indeed I did).  Some would offer to pay the balance that my office was forced to write off.  By contract, we could not accept it.

“The first consideration in medical is the hospital liability, rather than the patient.”

Liability is a huge concern both for the patient and the doctor.  Malpractice insurance costs your doc tens of thousands of dollars.  We live in a litiginous society. Just look at the TV commercials where the lawyers tout the fact that their clients pay only if they collect. Bringing a frivolous lawsuit costs you nothing and, since defending against a frivolous suit can cost $50,000 or more, many docs will cut their losses and settle even though they did nothing wrong.  The cost of medical liability drives the cost of medical care in the U.S.  Even worse, the cost of practicing “defensive medicine” adds even more expense.

“We all have teams of doctors that seem to never come together to talk about a patient and how best to treat the patient.  They all just do their specific part.”

The Bears have a head coach who’s responsible for coordinating all elements of his team’s game.  He is a highly paid, respected (some years) individual.  Your family doc or internist is the head coach of your team.  He/she is not highly paid.  In fact, he/she receives nothing for the coordination of care that is so sorely missing in today’s medical world.

After a ten-hour day seeing patients, I would spend 2-3 hours on the phone with patients and specialists coordinating care and another hour or two reviewing letters from specialists:  yes, fourteen to sixteen-hour days were the usual.  The electronic medical record actually made the situation worse.  No longer to I receive succinct written correspondence.  Instead, I would have to review a 5-6-page document and glean out the pertinent facts.

Here’s your present.  FIND A CONCIERGE DOC!  In other words, hire a head coach who is responsible for your care and who is paid to manage your team. While you pay huge sums of money to your insurance company, they do not have your best interest in mind.  They do not pay your doc to manage your care.  Most pay for a 6-minute visit.

I loved my concierge practice and patients.  Most were not rich.  All believed that personally investing in their care was worth it.  I had Concierge hours set aside so that I would not be rushed.  My assistant coach, Ewa, carried the concierge phone and was available, like me, 24 hours a day. (Our Concierge patients loved her.) I never heard a complaint!  Practicing medicine with a group of patients who were truly dedicated to “Living Wellthy” was not only emotionally rewarding, but fun!

Currently, a new way of providing care is growing.  “Retainer” medicine and “Direct Primary Care” practices cost less than Concierge Medicine and offer savings on lab work and prescriptions as well as easy access to your doc/head coach.  Dr. Dan Di Iorio has established a hybrid practice in Barrington.  For more information on DPC click on his name and review his web site.

Have you ever heard, “You get what you pay for!”  It’s a lie.  With insurance, you don’t get what you pay for.  Often, you get f..ked.  With Concierge Medicine, you get what you pay for and it’s worth it.

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