The world of medicine has become increasingly more complicated over the last few years. You used to go to your primary care physician and he or she would send you to a specialist if necessary. You then did what the specialist recommended. Insurance has become more expensive, physician groups more competitive and the criteria for surgery has become vaguer. How do you navigate this with spine surgery? You didn’t go to medical school and yet you are making medical decisions that affect your future.
Sometimes it would be nice to sit back and have someone spend the time to explain exactly what is going on with your spine, and what would be the best thing to do. You’re in pain and everyone has a different plan for you. Your doctor wants an MRI; your insurance company says no. What we are seeing in the medical world at the moment are the insurance companies directing physicians on how to treat patients. Consults to chiropractors, pain management specialists and several weeks of physical therapy. Then they will ok an MRI. Though one or more of these treatments will usually be necessary, we often see patients that have been getting conservative care for months but have no idea what their diagnosis is, what their plan of care entails, or if they even have one. What is the solution?
You need an advocate; someone who has your best interests at heart and who has ways of navigating the health care system for less expenditure of your time and money. If you have a plan, you have goals and alternatives. If physical therapy does not make a difference in two weeks, it may be time to try something else. If you are going to a chiropractor three times a week and the benefit is temporary, is it worth it? Patients need someone to oversee this care and assist them in making a medical decision that is good for their spine and good for their wallet. You would not sign a life changing contract without a lawyer or run a complicated business without an accountant. They are your advocates.
ShimSpine can be your medical advocate. Though we do not take health insurance, we can easily be the ones to save you money, and having a Board Certified Spine Surgeon overseeing your care will keep you from getting lost in the labyrinth that is present day spine care. We have negotiated contracts for everything you will need such as x-rays and MRI’s. (Should you actually need them) We understand that physical therapy and chiropractic care, though frequently helpful, are still businesses, and businesses want to keep their customers. We will make sure you are getting appropriate and timely care. We do not profit from any of these things so there is no outside influence. We are a surgery office that uses surgery as a last resort. We are not working for a radiology company, a surgery center or any therapeutic businesses. We are working for you. You will get a definitive diagnosis and a plan approximately 6 weeks earlier and not waste your time or money on things that will not help you.
So often we hear “if I just had one person I could trust, my stress level would be so much lower”. This is our goal. A timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and a return back to your life.
Article by Catherine Nicholson based on over 30 years as a Registered Nurse and 15 years as a practice manager in a spine practice.