A Growing Problem under the Old Plan

More and more of us find ourselves struggling to reconcile the high prices we are paying for health care insurance with the frustratingly limited care we are able to get from our doctors. This frustration isn’t only felt by the patients, either. Many doctors are finding their hands tied by restrictions placed on them by the insurance industry regulations and definitions. Today, many of us are finding that we might be able to receive treatment for a defined disease, but the proactive care that could prevent the disease from developing isn’t covered by our healthcare plan.

An Innovative Solution

In response to this disparity, Functional Medicine, sometimes referred to as concierge medicine, has been carefully researched and designed to allow doctors the freedom to better serve their patients by eliminating the third party. The recognized and lauded benefits of Functional Medicine are rapidly becoming more available to both doctors and patients.

1- The money you pay into your healthcare goes directly toward your care and not into the coffers of an insurance company.

Functional Medicine allows you to pay for your services as you choose them and when you choose to access them. You decide when to pay for preventative care instead of making regular payments to an insurance company who in turn decides whether or not to pay for your care after you have become ill.

2- Your doctor and her staff get to know you personally.

For those of us who have made the switch to Functional Medicine, this may be one of our favorite benefits. Our doctor has more time to spend with us. This time is comfortable and unrushed, allowing our conversations to be comprehensive. The doctor and her staff have the time to fully understand our symptoms, so that together we can develop an appropriate course of preventative or diagnostic treatment.

3- Preventative medicine is encouraged and supported.

Within the Functional Medicine model you will find that preventative medicine is embraced. You and your personal physician will work together to develop healthful nutrition plans and exercise programs. You will have unhurried consultations to discuss your health concerns, options, and treatment preferences.

4- You can visit with your doctor when you need to see him.

Under the current healthcare system, your doctor is probably only available during the business day. However, many of us find that we get sick on the weekends or in the evenings. Functional Medicine opens up the availability of doctors. Your personal doctor can provide with the option of calling, emailing or visiting with him when you first feel sick.

5- Blood tests, hospital care, ER visits, and other care is coordinated and directed by your personal doctor.

Many of us have had the unsettling experience of going into the hospital for treatment or testing without the company of our regular doctor. Unfamiliar staff, nurses, and doctors then have the responsibility of directing your care based on notes and limited information. Within the Functional Medicine model, your personal doctor will be on hand to supervise your care and to consult with the other healthcare professionals concerning your treatment plan and preferences.

A Valid Concern and a Traditional Response

When first exploring the option of Functional Medicine, some people worry about the high costs of emergency care and the ongoing treatments for conditions such as cancer or serious injuries. Other people simply aren’t comfortable with the idea of changing from an insurance-based healthcare model to a doctor-patient based model.

Fortunately, the administrators and developers of Functional Medicine organizations recognize these concerns. Many patients who pay for the advantages offered through Functional Medicine are also putting money aside in a healthcare savings plan or have opted to purchase an emergency health plan. Many of the doctors providing Functional Medicine are still aligned to a degree with the traditional healthcare insurance companies. If you find that you are facing long-term hospitalization, your preferred doctor can still be a participant in your care.

Drawing Your Own Conclusions

For many of us, the choice has already been made. Functional Medicine offers us the chance to determine our healthcare and treatment methods through ongoing communication with our preferred doctor and without the interference and restrictions of a third party. Functional Medicine has opened up a new and brighter path amidst the frustrations and restraints found under the typical healthcare model.

You may have found that your healthcare and treatment options have been limited by insurance policies and faceless officials who haven’t even talked to you. If this bothers you, then Functional Medicine might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Author's Bio: 

Lauren Hill is a contributing writer for the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), the national association of physicians who provide “concierge medicine,” fee-for-service, and other forms of private healthcare delivery. To find out more about the services they offer, go here.