After my first series of posts hoping to motivate us that we need to focus on our own personal health care reform, I found an interesting article concerning a movement in America promoting Lifestyle Medicine as part of the final government health care reform proposals. Lifestyle Medicine, (and I had to google it to get the exact definition) means that doctors treat sick patients with lifestyle modification (pushing more exercise, better nutrition, stop smoking techniques, stress modification tools, as some examples) RATHER than just treatment with medicine alone. If more doctors and health care professionals used Lifestyle Medicine, rather than giving medicine alone for those sick, could we, overtime, have more productive, healthier population and save money? The answer is yes, and saving perhaps $930 billion! “Net health care expenditures could be reduced by $930 billion over 5 years, according to analysts from the Cleveland Clinic.” (See the link to the following interesting letter on the topic):
However, Is Lifestyle Medicine In either the Senate or House Health Care Reform Proposals?
Yes and No…
There has been provisions for preventive programs in both the Senate and House Proposals, yet, of course, this it is not enough to help change the way illness is treated in America . Quoting from the above letter, ““Prevention” therapies as written into current health care bills are public health and community based wellness initiatives, or payment for early detection of disease with mammograms, colonoscopies and other screening tests. As the Congressional Budget Office recently indicated, early detection without treating the major underlying causes of chronic diseases—our lifestyle choices– may actually add to costs.” As it doesn’t appear that Lifestyle Medicine, or treating diseases by changing lifestyle will be part of the final health care reform plan, we MUST take control of our own personal health reform by helping our doctor to help us prevent and treat our own illnesses with other ways besides a prescription for medicine! Even by reading the provisions for the preventive programs, I am not optimistic that much will change with how doctors treat illness. And if Lifestyle Medicine or preventive medicine is not taught in medical school, and if more and more people become insured, how will doctors handle using this type of medicine to promote preventive care? At the very least, how will doctors, who will probably be oversaturated with new patients that are now insured handle even addressing any lifestyle issues? Here is an example, and I would love to hear if any of you have experienced the same thing: You wait an hour in the waiting room, waiting to meet that new doctor, you fill out all the forms, the long forms on your medical history and current lifestyle…and…the doctor doesn’t even look at it! I bet at least half of you have had this happen to you..let me know what you think by commenting… Now, next time that new doctor doesn’t read your form you filled out…take that form and show it to him and gently point out your areas you need help with. A good doctor will be receptive to this gest.
The final health care reform proposals will certainly lack this Lifestyle Medicine component, so we need to promote our own health reform by adapting our own lifestyle…I am laying the groundwork to help all of us do that..keep tuning in!