Choose Health, Choose Life

Mountain Health Functional Medicine

Choose Health, Choose Life

Today’s Healthcare

Why it is failing us!

This topic comes up in so many conversations throughout the week, “Why am I not getting better?  Why is my health not improving?”

Ask ten friends, “Are you happy with your health care?’

I suspect, you know the answer to the last question, but few really understand why one’s health is not getting better.  Many blame the problems on “OBAMACARE”.  This is what the media wants us to focus on.  There is big business directing this country’s opinion of health care in this direction.

In our country, we have developed an idea that health is simply the absence of symptoms.  If one feels okay, then that person must be healthy.  Right?

We all know better when we sit down and really think about this statement.  If the idea of good health means the lack of symptoms, then what about the teen ager who is getting minimal to no exercise, eats fast foods for most of his/her food intake, and drinks sodas several times a day?  Or what about the middle aged man or woman who never exercises, works 60+ hours a week, in addition consumes multiple cups of coffee during the day to stay awake and has several cocktails at night to go to sleep?

Just because these folks described above have no pains, are they really healthy?

The other problem which has occurred in American life is the layered healthcare we perform.  What I mean by this, is when one does have a problem come up, say blood pressure elevation, that person goes to the doctor and is placed on a medication to treat the blood pressure.  Soon, another problem arises.  This could be a separate problem, or one related to the blood pressure elevation, or even the blood pressure medication.  Now, after visiting the doctor, another medicine is added to the blood pressure pills.  And as additional problems arise, additional medications are prescribed in addition to the previously prescribed drugs.  Soon, one is on multiple medications for multiple single issues.

This approach does nothing to address the cause of illness.  Rather it focuses on the symptoms of the illness.  With such a focus, the only logical course is progression of the underlying illnesses.

This is very much the “natural course” of diabetes in adults in the country.  An adult presents with an elevated blood sugar.  A medicine is prescribed.  A diet is recommended as per the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association.  All doctors know that in time with such a patient, the likelihood of that patient being placed on additional medications to control the elevated blood sugar is extremely high.  And in such an approach, all the associated manifestations of diabetes will only continue to occur.

Next our insurance and payment system in this country is set up in a manner which is counter productive in getting people well.  In the “Fee for Service” model, the clinician only gets paid when the patient comes into the clinic for an examination.  There is insufficient payment for interactions between the doctor and patient outside of a  clinic visit.  So what does the doctor attempt to do?  That’s right!  Follow-up clinic visits so as to keep the revenue flowing into the clinic.  Above I mentioned that a common belief in this country is if one is feeling well, then there is health.  In the “Fee for Service’ model, once the patient begins to feel better, their tendency is to stop coming into the clinic system for health care.  Why should that person continue to pay money, if they are doing better? 

So, in this “Fee for Service” model, good health is never completely achieved.  And communication between doctor and patient is never optimal, because the only profitable means of communication for that doctor is a face to face encounter in the clinic.  Many times, a phone call, or a text message, or an email could achieve the desired health outcome of both parties, but these are not reimbursable.

So, what must one do to get better health?  How must the medical profession change to give better health care?

Better Health

Care is Possible

         For better outcomes in health care, both the patient and doctor must electively step outside of the traditional medical care box.  Staying inside of the old box, doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome is foolish and a waste of time.  The desired outcome will never occur doing the same old stuff.

          For the medical practitioner, he/she needs to realize who is driving our health care.  The practitioner must realize the power of the  pharmaceutical industry has in controlling healthcare.  Americans consume over 50% of all prescribed medications in the world, yet we make up only 5% of the world’s population.  More money was spent by the pharmaceuticals last year in marketing to the lay people than was spent on research and development!  Only two countries in world allow the pharmaceuticals to market directly to the consumer – the United States and New Zealand.

          Reversing illness is not in the interests of our pharmaceutical companies, nor is it in the interest of our hospital systems.  How profitable would an partially filled hospital be?  How would the shareholders of the pharmaceuticals be if people could stop their expensive medications?

          The consumer needs to learn about the controlling forces in health care.  Not only the pharmaceutical and hospitals, but the insurance industry is calling the cards in health care.  They promote  the fee for service model as it inhibits the ability of the doctor-patient to achieve wellness.  Insurance has stripped the responsibility of health from the consumer.   The consumer now believes if he/she has health insurance, he/she will be saved in an emergency.  Not true.  Last year, the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country was due to medical reasons.  Over 75% of these people had health insurance.  Then, the consumer believes they can do anything they desire (eat what they desire, avoid exercise) and if they do get sick, insurance will get them well.  No insurance will not get the consumer well.  Insurance will help that person get put on medications for the rest of their life and will not help investigate the cause of the illness, nor  provide payments for services to reverse that illness.

So What Do We Do?

          So what does the consumer do?  Get out of the box.  Stop expecting to get better by doing the same old thing, over and over and over.

          Begin by taking responsibility for one’s health.  Health is a skill set which can be learned.  It’s not the absence of symptoms, and it is not found in a pill.

          The consumer needs to learn the value of health insurance.  Health insurance needs to be treated as we treat our car insurance or home insurance.  Geico does not pay for the up keep of your car.  It does not cover washing of the car, new tires and rotation of the tires, nor is gasoline covered.  Allstate does not provide for mowing of the grass, painting of the house, or cleaning.  Both car insurance and home insurance is designed for catastrophes – wrecks, hail storms, fires, etc.  This is the role of health insurance, catastrophes.

          Next, the consumer needs to find a provider is interested in helping that person reverse their illness and risk factors for illnesses.  This cannot be done in a twenty minute office visit.  It cannot be achieved in the present “Fee for Service” model of health care.

          The major goal of all Functional Medicine providers is helping you regain your health and vitality.  Functional Medicine focuses on correcting the root cause of illness.

          In traditional medicine the goal of treatment is focused on symptom resolution.  Look at all the TV ads of medications.  Never is there the mention of disease resolution or cure, but rather symptom resolution!

          As I stated above, in diabetes the focus is on giving a medicine to lower the glucose.  Functional medicine practitioners know that most of adults with diabetes have insulin resistance as the cause of the diabetes.  If care is given to lower the insulin resistance (through life style changes, nutritional intervention, hormone balance), then the sugars come down naturally whereby diabetes medications can then safely be stopped and sugars are maintained in a normal value!

          If one has pain in the foot and is taking aspirin after aspirin for that pain.  The answer is not more aspirin if the pain is from the person standing on a tack.  The answer is simply to get off of  the tack and the pain will resolve on its own.  This is the approach of a Functional Medicine  physician.

Where to Now?

          This is the simple part.  Go to www.functionalmedicine.org.  Locate the nearest functional medicine practitioner in your area.  Call and see what must be done for you to get enrolled in that clinic’s health promoting programs.  Call today.  It really is not hard work and the benefits will far exceed your expectations.

          Thank you.

          Roy Hall MD

Mountain Health Functional Medicine

2110 Overland Ave, Suite 101A

Billings, MT 59102

406-969-6310

www.RoyHallMD.com (email – roy@royhallmd.com)

Problems Amenable to

Functional Medicine

Arthritis

Diabetes

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Inflammatory Bowel (Crohn’s, Ulcerative colitis)

Hormone Imbalance

Thyroid disorders (hypothyroid, hyperthyroid)

Graves or Hashimoto’s

Parkinson’s Disease

Obesity

Multiple Sclerosis

Osteopenia

GERD

Autoimmune Disordrers

Hypertension

Coronary Artery Disease (heart disease)

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Depression

Anxiety

Autism

Chronic Pain

Cancer

Endometriosis / Fibroids

   
 
 

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