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  • Ingri Pauline

The Healthcare System: Part 2 :: What kind of GP is best?

Finding a personal and family doctor is an important task. It is also difficult. If you have medical insurance, you may be limited in your choice. This is frustrating but you may want to think of alternative options that are out side of the box. Insurance be damned, getting the right doctor can actually save you time, heartache and money.

How often do you see your doctor? Because it is such a hassle, most people only go when something is wrong. They don't want to deal with insurance companies and make phone calls and deal with appointments. We are so used to getting charged for unnecessary test when we are at the doctor or we just assume we are always going to get bad news. This can be dangerous. Ideally you go to the doctor once a year for a check up and check in. If you change your oil in your car and send it in for a tune up, you need to treat you body machine the same way.

I highly suggest shopping around for a doc you like and respect. One that has been practicing for 10 years but less than 30. Call ahead of time and ask if they take you insurance. If they don't, ask what they charge for cash visits. You might be surprised.

From the New York Times

Most doctor visits range anywhere from 60 to 120 bucks. Listen, the ONLY person you shouldn’t have an issue handing 100 dollars to is YOUR DOCTOR. Let’s say it is about 80 dollars. Can you afford 80 dollars? Once a year? The chances are you can. So screw the insurance rules and go to a doctor you trust and pay them cash to take care of you.

I hate to say it, but this will get you a lot better treatment in the office. If they deal with insurance, they are going to have to wait 6 months, make 6 phone calls and be taxed for 6 months of outstanding bills. You can probably even get a discount for paying cash.

Cash patients get the doctor full time and attention. Also, you are showing respect for work it takes and knowledge required for being a doctor. This is money well spent.

Chiropractor, DC

If I had my way with how the medical system is run, everyone would have a monthly visit with the chiropractor and that would be their gateway into the medical system. I fully believe in the value of adjustments because I have felt it myself and seen athletes and lay person lives transformed because of regular chiropractic visits.

They are knowledgeable about the body and diagnosis like MDs, but do not typically advocate the use of pharmacology unless it is a last resort. Chiros are like trainers and Naturopaths in that they are trained that with the right stimulus, the body can heal itself.

Ideally, you have a monthly session with a chiropractor and get to talk to a health professional for 15 minutes a month. Also, you will develop a good repore with your doctor this way. This doctor will know your habits, your family, your work situation, your values and trouble areas. THIS is what you want a doctor to know. A good chiropractor will know many great specialists in the area. They can give referrals, recommended reading material, and order diagnostic tests.

Chiros are great because they view the body as one functioning system and treat it that way. They also don’t get a kickback from hospitals or pharmacy groups. They can’t order a battery of expensive tests and medicine and charge your insurance.

If you want to do yourself right, get on the chiropractic train. Most insurance policies cover 12 visits a year and most offices sell packages of 12 visits for about 50 bucks per visit. This is most definitely a worthy investment.

Naturopathic Doctor, ND

Another wonderful person to have in your health arsenal is a naturopath. This are doctors that have gone to med school. Instead of pharmacology, they have studied herbal medicine. They can still test and diagnose the same as an MD, but the treatment leans to the natural medicine.

This is the doctor you should see before you go to an MD. Most ailments do NOT need heavy chemicals or drugs. You should be suspicious of quick fixes given out by MDs. Quick fixes often come with a host of side-effects.

Working with an ND take more patience but it is healthier for your body and better to deal with ailments that are non-emergencies.

Private Px & Concierge Doctors

I am a big fan of private practice and concierge doctors. If you haven't gathered by now, I think that doctors should compete for our dollars. These practices are proof that it works.

Again, the doctor can focus on the care of the patient. There is no crazy amount of insurance paperwork, no pressure of long lines of patients to see, no Big Partma quota to meet. In private practice, the good doctors will spend 15 or 20 minutes of uninterrupted time with each patient instead of six while filling out paperwork.

Also, because the parents are paying cash, there is more room for the doctor to treat who they want to, how they want to.

Many people think of doctors as greedy and money hungry. Large institutions keep those kinds of people in and protected.

In private practice, greedy and uninvolved doctors filter themselves out. Becoming a doctor is a lot of work and debt. No one becomes a doctor unless they want to help people. If the doctor is getting paid cash by middle class and upper class folks, the price is negotiable for people in need.

It is quite common for private practice doctors to treat poor people on the side for very little money or free. My boyfriend got paid in flan and pineapple cake for months while treating a little old Cuban lady who was on a very fixed income.

I believe doctors should have this right to help without getting hounded on my insurance companies for filing incorrectly. Private practice and concierge doctors are happier, have more time and are more free to treat their patients as they see best. This is the doctor I would want on my side.

So who are you looking for?

The ideal general practitioner, chiropractor or naturopath runs their own practices ir is a partner. They know many people in town. They have been practicing for more than 5 years but less than 30. They have decent reviews. The waiting room and office is clean and the staff seem happy. Their personal office is filled with recent books on diet and nutrition and the doctor seems to have a reasonable degree of personal fitness.

The doc takes vacation and is easy to smile. You feel comfortable in front of them. You do not feel judged and can therefor tell them the truth of your feelings, habits or health issues. They are likeable but you also respect them. They have no problem saying no to you and taking the bull by the horns.

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