What’s up Doc? = Finding the Help You Need
For many of us, finding just the right healthcare provider for our needs can be a very frustrating task. We do ask friends, family, and search online the best we can. Yet, trying out a recommended physician doesn’t always work out. And who knows if your community even has what you are looking for. So, how can you work wellness around the “system” until you have just the right team combination of wellness providers?
First, let’s have a short history lesson. The word, Wellness, means many things to many people. Yet, more than any time in our history, the opportunity to seek, reach, achieve, and sustain wellness is right before us. For the past 150 years, just like rival siblings, both conventional and complementary/alternative medicine have been on a journey together.
In the last 30 years, integrative & wellness movement pioneers have combined the two, paving the way for us all. Five years ago, in a book, The Wellness Revolution, economist Paul Zane Pilzer outlined an emerging $200 billion wellness industry. Today, this industry has grown to more than $1 trillion of the U.S. economy devoted to providing products and services to maintain health, and it's just getting started. Why, you may ask? How has this come about when we are being told today our healthcare system in on the verge of collapse or at best, a major crisis with healthcare costs? The answer—Wellness is much more than clinical therapeutics, curative crisis medicine, and insurance coverage.
One of our nation’s pioneers for healthcare reform and integrative medicine (IM) was the Bravewell Collaborative. Not only did they bring together some of the top integrative leaders in our nation but also established a clinical network, fellowship program, and The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.
The Consortium for academic centers worked for ten years, resulting in more than 56 leading medical universities and health systems joining together to transform both patient care and physician education. According to Bravewell, “One of the most striking, though perhaps predictable. . . is that integrative medicine is, in fact, integrative. It integrates conventional care with nonconventional or non-Western therapies; ancient healing wisdom with modern science; and the whole person—mind, body, and spirit in the context of community.”
With so much effort put into advancing a more wholistic healthcare system, you would think we could find what we need right around the corner. Yes, it is definitely better than it was 20 or 30 years ago when I had to fly to another state to get the integrative care I needed. Yet, there is still so much more needing to happen to help us work around the current system or even transform it.
For the past 30 years, as a patient, lifeskills & wellness coach, I have diligently partnered with these pioneers to bring them to the table to help with our nation’s healthcare reform. One thing is for sure, the pioneers I know will never stop until patients across our nation get the help they deserve, with or without government involvement.
So, here is where I want to offer a few links to speed up your wellness education and connections in Texas and around the nation.
International College of Integrative Medicine, Find a Physician
American Association of Integrative Medicine, Find a Physician
The New Wellness Revolution by Paul Zane Pilzer
Remember, although it may be the trend to use “integrative” or “functional” medicine terms in a practice, it doesn’t always mean that is what you get. Learn as much as you can about what is available not just in Texas but across the nation.
Seek out wellness providers who are genuine listeners, teachable themselves, and ready to help you with the advocacy, skill, 21st century/functional lab testing, and integrative therapeutics you will need to achieve and maintain your highest wellness potential. Get the “lay of the land” with an initial consult.
Don’t be shy to ask questions. Bring notes and articles with you. Get their input on any particular area of interest to you. You will quickly find out if they are right for you. Also, find out if they are willing to actually talk with your other healthcare providers, and make sure you find out how much everything is going to cost before you proceed. Insurance still doesn’t cover much in integrative or CAM practices and there are more physicians leaving insurance behind to set up concierge-type practices. These kinds of practices ask for a flat annual fee for 24/7 service that includes most of the basic testing. Part 5 of this series will focus on “Is it covered by insurance?”