::looks down, ashamed::
Please don’t be mad. It’s been two whole months since my last post….and I’m sorry!! BUT, I’m sure that you can understand between opening an office and juggling a full time job in the interim, I’ve been…busy. But, I’m back, and now I’m super excited to tell you all about my new ideas.
I am a big proponent of proactive medicine. What do I mean? Well, most doctors are used to treating disease…reactively. You have diabetes or high blood pressure? Here…take a pill. My philosophy is a little different. Whereas I am very well trained in how to treat medical conditions (and let’s face it, sometimes there is no getting around that), my true passion lies in preventing disease and helping my patients to understand their risks of different disease states, in particular, heart disease.
So, like any other idea, I had to implement it. Here’s the problem….
Insurance companies do not pay for the vast majority of preventive tests and studies. Why? Well, mainly because they are too expensive and do not prevent disease or death in enough people. I’m sure you will find many many doctors that disagree with my thought process on this one..let me explain. Example #1. A very expensive and lengthy lab test known as a Berkeley Panel. This test is like a normal cholesterol check times 100. While a normal lipid panel gives the doctor the routine LDL, HDL and Triglycerides (confused about these? See my post on them..here), the Berkeley panel lists out advanced cholesterol markers including genetic components, inflammatory markers, particle sizes and special labs that help us to understand if certain cholesterol therapy would even work on you. Basically, it tells the doctor “hey…your LDL is normal, but lookie here…you have a lot of inflammation which may be affecting your arteries. We should keep a closer eye on you”.
Okay..so why doesn’t everyone do this? Well, that can get complicated. For me, it is probably that the vast majority of practitioners do not see a bang for their buck. Meaning that these specialized tests may only prevent a heart attack or major health problem in 1 out of 5,000 people (arbitrary number), which statistically, isn’t enough. OR that the average Joe (or Jane!) may not have the typical “risk factors” that predispose them to heart disease. I don’t know about you…but I wouldn’t want to be that one person.
SO…I created a “package” per se, of multiple tests and studies to help me to risk-stratify a patient’s risk of heart disease and other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. There is an hour long consultation, followed by a half day of testing then lunch with a certified nutritionist (you are what you eat, ya know!). This is a cash pay package as 80% of the tests are not covered by insurance. In the following week, we meet again to discuss all of your results and you leave with a very good idea (and lots of paperwork!) of what your overall health risks are and what you can do to prevent them. (P.S. other health care facilities over the country call this there “executive” package…why should we only be catering to them? SMH).
Dang, I love what I do.
Interested? Contact my office at 954.523.4141…My office manager would be glad to get you started on your way to perfect health!
Oh yeah…follow us on twitter @ChoicePhysician !! (Shameless plug)
Dr. Tiffany Sizemore-Ruiz