I liked her. She was my new PCP (primary care provider) with my new insurance. She was 3 minutes late. Probably not her fault. Most likely coming in from another back-to-back scheduling. She was kind, calm and attentive.
She listened as I rattled off a bit about my health history, the supplements that I take, the referrals that I needed to see my ongoing specialists.
It’s always a trip, being a healthcare provider and entering as a patient. I have to put on my patient hat. Have my questions ready and punch list ready to go. I have to be methodical in how I use the time, the short 20 minutes (17 minutes with the late start) that I’m going to have with my doctor. The Hippocratic Oath holder in my life. My doctor, my physician. Defined by Webster as a person “concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments” That’s a lot for us to cover in 17 minutes – don’t ya think?
As a cancer survivor, she is my gateway to the specialists who will monitor my body’s cellular shifts. The specialists that will assure me the cancer is not coming back. And she is the one person who turns the light back to me and asks me how I’m doing?
I have to admit, wearing this hat is not comfortable. There’s a part of me that feels guilty as I look at her through the virtual screen. I realize she’s doing the best she can with the parameters that she’s given to be a doctor, in this age of COVID, in a virtual framework, talking to me from her bedroom, with her headset on, with many screens open and clicking away as she fills my referral for the dermatologist. I check it off my list and hurry on to the next topic.
The part of me that feels guilty, is the part of me that calls out the inadequacy of this very system day in and day out. The lack of personal connection in the modern conventional medical system is staggering. A system that pushes people through so they can quickly switch gears for the next scheduled arrival.
She even said it herself. At the 18-minute mark (really the 15-minute mark with the late start… but who’s counting). She looks at me with this face that says, “I know we could easily talk for at least another hour,” but instead she tells me that “we have two minutes to wrap up our conversation because “blank, blank” huge medical system allows us all of 20 minutes to have these sessions.” My timer was almost up, so we went over what we had covered. She read back to me the referrals she got lined up. Then she winced as she asked me, “any other questions?” Knowing that she wasn’t going to really have time to answer them. I had a couple questions to ask, “Do I need to schedule a follow up? When will I see you again? Will we get together to review the labs we ordered?”
Again, she winces, “We’ll send you the results. If there’s an issue we’ll contact you.
Otherwise, I like to see my patients once a year. So I’ll see you in January of 2023.”
As we disconnected the virtual call, I felt that sinking feeling of navigating the medical system alone. Even with all the tools that I have. As a Functional Diagnostic Practitioner, I could have ordered these labs myself but needed the referrals and had an inkling that some would be covered by my insurance. It was my responsibility to wait for a call from the dermatologist, to schedule with the gynecologist, to go to get my labs drawn, to make my way into a hospital that’s full of COVID positive patients just to get some basic foundations covered. Even though I had nudged the question of getting a functional thyroid panel done (more as an investigative test to see her response), she of course said there was no access to “those” labs. She briefly acknowledged that there are other ways to look at things, but they don’t provide “those” tests. They don’t review them and they would not be ordering them for me.
The sinking feeling was quickly replaced by reinvigoration. A reminder of why we do healthcare differently within Radiate Wellness. It reminded me of the need of hundreds of thousands of women out there that are setting up appointments just like these every day. That leave with the same sinking feeling … this is what they get? Maybe plus the medications and surgery referrals for their 500+ dollars that they’re paying a month for their insurance premium. And that’s just their insurance. Not to mention if they have a husband, multiple children, or current diagnosis… the ridiculous climb of the insurance bill that they’re paying month after month.
When new clients ask me if we take insurance, I am happy to say yes. I’m happy to say that some of the dollars that you put towards your health insurance, if you have an HSA or a FSA, can go to cover our visits or the cost of programs that we run. That they can use that account to access woman-centered, functional health anywhere in the United States.
It’s unfortunate that I can’t take their Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser policy, etc. That their 500+ dollars a month towards that premium will not be able to go towards our services.
I like to believe that we’re making our way there. By being able to use an HSA or FSA towards our services, there is a twinkling acknowledgement that nutrition and health coaching has a place within the medical system. That we are being acknowledged as viable practitioners, who help to move the needle and help our clients get results. Our services aren’t cheap. We provide payment plans to offset the financial commitment and help make it a little bit easier to break off each month.
But the most important fact is … we get results. We walk with our clients every step of the way during our 6 Month Functional Reset to ensure that by the end of those six months, they have gotten the results that they came to us for.
Between the time that I spoke with my new PCP and the time that I will see her again, we would have had 24, hour long sessions with a client. 24 hours of care, specifically directed at their bio individuality. 24 hours of care, accessing labs that they can’t get from the regular providers,
getting functional data that helps us to understand what are the HIDDEN stressors that are getting in the way of their bodies functioning optimally. 24 hours of going through how they’re sleeping, how they’re eating, how they’re moving, how they’re supporting their whole-body system.
How do they feel? What is their quality of life? 24 hours versus 40 minutes.
You can see why we are able to get the results that we do.
No, we do not practice medicine. No, we do not diagnose and no, we do not treat. What we do is empower you with data and support and a deep sense of comfort that you have someone in your corner. A deep sense of comfort that someone is there to provide you with a closed loop system, sending test kits directly to your home and knowing that you will have an in-depth session to review them … whether they’re good or not. So that you understand what is going on with your health and how your body is functioning.
I thought about this when she said “we’ll be in touch if there’s something wrong.” Where is the education and prevention in this? Where is there even time for education in this model? There’s time for quick prescriptions, surgery referrals, making sure your meds are filled and your symptoms aren’t unbearable.
Instead of feeling guilty for admonishing this broken system of healthcare, I shook it off and allowed myself to feel proud of designing an online functional nutrition practice that puts our clients at the center of the conversation. One that puts their needs, their desires, their goals, at the heart of everything that we do. Not because it’s easy to buck the system, but because there is such a better way to do healthcare.
So, if you have an HSA or an FSA that you are paying into that just got rolled over into the new year, make the most of it. Use it towards healthcare that works. Use it towards functional testing and bi-monthly sessions, where your practitioner gets to know you, so that you too can get results you are after. There is no reason for anyone to live with chronic symptoms and chronic conditions that can easily be turned around with dietary and lifestyle changes based on your data. There is no reason for anyone to only have access to 20 minutes at a time with a practitioner that is supposed to be their lifeline. Radiate Wellness has created a simple and elegant approach to healthcare. Providing our clients with data and support for their body’s needs. Because we believe that you deserve the health you seek.
Look forward to chatting with you soon.