Healthcare for a time of uncertainty

May 10th, 2017

Healthcare can fail in a number of ways: it can fail to find a treatment, it can fail to find a diagnosis, or it can fail to be accessible. I’ve built my practice around the treatment of people with complex or confusing illnesses—people for whom the medical system has failed. I’ve had patients who simply could not figure out what was wrong with them. I’ve had patients who knew their diagnosis, but could not afford or tolerate the treatment. I’ve had patients who had many diagnoses, but no combination of treatments that worked for them. The one thing that is common to these people is that they are uncommon. If there is an 80-20 rule in medicine, they are the 20 percent. Their illness (or illnesses) do not follow conventional wisdom, nor do they respond to conventional treatment. Most importantly, they do not fit in the mold. They are outliers. Medicine in our country has become streamlined to treat the mainstream, and so these people needed to find someone who is not.

In the coming weeks, months, years, we will be faced with a single fundamental change to our healthcare system. The mainstream is no longer part of the stream. The vast array of preexisting conditions that are valid for denial of insurance may force people who have responded well to conventional treatment to stop getting it. It seems that the trick to getting affordable healthcare is not needing it.

For those who require active management of their health, be it through medication, physical therapy, dietary supplements, or dietary restrictions, what was once routine may become far from it. It is now not enough that we treat our illnesses, rather, we cannot afford to get those illnesses in the first place. For those who are lucky enough or hard-working and vigilant enough to be free of chronic maladies, this speaks simply to prevention. But what about those who are not?

Treatment of chronic illnesses is in many ways akin to shuttling from room to room in the same building. First you go here, get medication A, get therapy B, dietary restriction C. Next, you go there, get medication M, get therapy N, restriction O. Sure enough, you then find yourself back in the same room you started in, with A,B, and C. The cycle is never-ending, but it works. It works, and it’s familiar, and so why risk change? Now, many people will not be able to afford to stay in that building, and so the question is, is it possible for them to walk out, or will they be kicked out? That is where I come in. Those of you who are familiar with my approach know that my goal is to give you a way to walk out the exit door of that building.

In light of the forthcoming changes to our medical system I will be focused increasingly upon preventive care. It seems counter-intuitive that prevention be the solution to chronic illness, but it is.

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