Owning an integrated wellness center means that I often see people who don’t subscribe to conventional medicine. All too often, I hear people say, “Well, I don’t need health insurance because it doesn’t cover my choice of treatment.” This is where the debate begins about what insurance does.
For those who live with a chronic condition, as I do with type 1 diabetes, insurance is a must. Without insurance, you cannot get access to the all the healthcare choices that help teach you to manage your condition. Many hospitals won’t offer “their best” if you don’t have coverage. Integrated medicine, in all its forms, rarely has diabetes education that teaches the patient what diabetes is and the mechanics of daily, and lifelong care. Many times naturopaths, chiropractors and homeopaths all believe there is a cure to diabetes through nutrition and this is a lack of education on their side. Diabetes, both type1 and type2 and all the variant forms, is a complicated disease that can sometimes be managed with focused attention on food and exercise, but it always needs the attention that comes from a competent, conventional doctor.
Type2 diabetes has been labeled as a metabolic syndrome, while type1 is an autoimmune disorder. To throw gasoline on this fire, there is new evidence that may move type2 into an autoimmune category. By definition, there is nothing simple about diabetes in any form.
Managing a chronic condition, like diabetes, needs both patient and doctor to be partners. Patients need to be educated consumers and understand what the body needs at all times. When the body is well, what will help preserve that good health? This is a great time to start looking at supplements, the food that you eat as something that bolsters the body’s health and ability to heal it self. But when the body is truly sick, an integrative approach may not be appropriate, we need assistance through conventional medicine, which could possibly require MRIs, cat scans, pet scans, or even a hospital stay. A down turn in health can be not only dramatic, but fast acting where waiting is not an option.
What helped to create a broken system of healthcare is the lack of foresight by healthcare consumers to realize that at some point, no matter who you are, there will be the need for conventional medicine through a hospital, even if it’s just a minor part of your healthcare process. For me, conventional medicine is the backbone to my managing a chronic condition. By staying on top of my annuals (eye care, gynecological care and regular physicals) I also tap into knowing how I’m doing overall. These are really important benchmarks to know for both integrative medicine, as well as conventional doctors.
It also helps to have a doctor in a hospital system, because should something catastrophic happen, like a car accident or emergency gallbladderectomy or appendectomy, and you are admitted in a condition where you can’t help yourself, better to have a doctor who knows that system and can help advocate for you. Without them, the hospital will have to assess your risk of draining their system of care for those who can afford it.
This story on Medicaid speaks to the sense of security that having health insurance can create. In this case, it appears that hospitals give better choices to those who have insurance than those who do not.
The definition of insurance is this: Insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. So what are smart risks in healthcare? When we need healthcare, we want to know the choices and feel assured that we have access to those choices, be it integrative, or conventional. Think about it….