Some of you have heard the saying- It’s Who You Know that is important. In terms of health and wellness, I believe Who Knows You is far more important. Most diseases and ailments today are treatable and some reversible with early detection. For example, early detection and proper diagnosis of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s are crucial. In my profession, I see patients regularly and often have known them for months. That means that it is easier for me to notice subtle changes in personality, behavior and even physical function. Because I have solid relationships with primary care and other specialists, I am also able to share that information with them for the benefit of the client. I
In this day and age of rapidly changing insurance providers, Who knows you, also becomes more important. There has been talk, especially with the Affordable Care Act, of having “medical homes”. Medical homes are supposed to be the start point where one provider manages your care and refers you out to specialists as needed. Often times, the medical home is at a primary care physician’s office. There, your physician or nurse practitioner see you annually and when necessary. They have all of your important health records for continuity of care. For women, they order and review your annual mammograms and depending on the results, may send you to an oncologist for further testing and treatment. Similarly, for men, they may administer PSH and other annual tests. You could be like Ben Stiller who’s physician ordered the PSH test and due to elevated levels was able to detect prostate cancer very early, provide treatment, and now Mr. Stiller is cancer free. Thus, these people who have a long standing relationship with you can save your life and increase the probability of a long, healthy life.
Medicare Enrollment is coming soon. You may have recieved notice from your insurance company that they no longer have your plan. When choosing a new plan, please review the list of providers to be sure that your key primary providers are on the list. If you have need of specialists, be sure that they too are on the list. Ask what the copays will be for those specialists if any and any diagnostic tests. It is not just about the deductible and the monthly payment. Know what you are getting and what that means to your regular visits to the doctor or how you use medical services. Do you want to keep things the same, or do you need more services such as psychological testing and/or psychotherapy. Is there a wait period for those? Is there an additional cost and/or waiver? Unless you are moving to a different area, try to stay with providers that really know you, are competent, are well trained and up to date on developments in their area of expertise, and have a good working relationship with you. Ultimately YOU are in charge of managing your care and keeping YOUR health history (procedures, diagnoses, medications, etc.) so that you receive the best care and do not fall through the cracks.