By Jessica Williams
The healthcare system in our country has been broken for a long time – from managed care to government regulations, from ever-increasing health insurance premium, to high deductibles. Most small private physician practices were unable to keep up with burdening government regulations, low reimbursement from insurance company and high office overhead. As a result, they have been “bought out” by mega-health care systems.
It often takes weeks to get an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP) and months to see a specialist. The family doctors who know your whole family, as in the good old days, are hard to find these days. Waiting in your doctor’s office for 30 minutes to one hour beyond your appointment time is no longer a surprise. Your doctor is only allowed to have 15 to 20 minutes to see you, including the time to complete entering information into his or her computer for electric medical record. Now, you need some good news, yes, the good news is that there now are many Urgent Care centers in our local communities.
Now, you are sick. What should you do to seek medical care? What is your best option for all considered, including your pocket book? In general, that will depend on your medical condition. If it’s just an acute common condition such as cold, mild sinus infection, mild strain or sprain or a small cut that requires suturing, your local Urgent Care facility would be your best bet. You don’t need an emergency room (ER) in a hospital where you might have to wait for hours. ERs are for acute serious medical conditions such as chest pain, shortness of breath or trauma. On another hand, if you have been sick or not feeling well for a while, trying to treat yourself with over-the-counter medication to save on cost (this isn’t recommended), but not feeling better, you need to make an appointment with your PCP and put your name on their waiting list, hoping for a cancelation. However, if your condition gets significantly worse while waiting for your appointment, you need to call and let your PCP know what is going on with you. Hopefully, your PCP might try to get you in on an emergency basis. Alternatively, you may receive a referral for a specialist or emergency room depending on how urgent your condition. A call from your PCP to a specialist physician could make a big difference on how quickly you will be seen.
In another scenario, you have been sick for months or years, you have been seen by your PCP and multiple specialists, you have done all the relevant diagnostic tests, but all the tests come back normal. You are told that there is nothing wrong with you! However, you still feel miserable. That is the time to consider alternative options. Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the options.
In today’s world, we have a lot of modern diagnostic technologies. It is hard to imagine these marvelous technologies even twenty to thirty years ago. Even so, this doesn’t mean we can detect every possible problem. For physicians and the healthcare industry as whole, our goal is to eliminate or reduce suffering. If our patients tells us they feel sick and miserable, we need to help them even without any abnormal findings from laboratory studies or diagnostic imaging. This help should aim to address the causes of their suffering, not merely temporarily mask what they are suffering. There are options if we as physicians keep an open mind. Chinese Herbal medicine is one of them.
Chinese Herbal Medicine takes a holistic approach to medicine with focus on rebalancing and supporting the body to improve and heal itself. Chinese medicine has been developed and practiced for thousands of years by ancient Chinese practitioners. It is a personalized medicine with diagnosis and treatment based on each patient’s response to what’s causing the problem. It uses natural material as its pharmacy. It has been practiced from generation to generation in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore and other Asian countries. Over recent decades, it has become a vibrant part of the healthcare system throughout the world.
So, whatever health problems you have, making the right decision to choose the right healthcare facility is an important step. This will enable you to get better effectively while considering cost, time and energy. The goal is to recover quickly from whatever you are suffering and survive the current dysfunctional healthcare environment.
Dr. Jessica Williams, M.D, is an internist and the owner of the INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE PHYSICIAN CENTER. Her office is located at 4300 Devonshire Rd, Harrisburg, PA. She practices Functional and Chinese Medicine, helping people with Chronic Complicated Medical conditions that have failed to respond to conventional medicine. Dr. Williams can be reached at 717-540-8594, firstname.lastname@example.org or YourMDhealth.com.
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