Christmas Presents or an MRI

None of us want a lump of coal in our stocking this Christmas, but there may be some unusual Christmas wishes on many of your lists. Of course, there will be bicycles, games, and other toys as well as the various clothes items for your yourself and others. But how many are wishing for a CT scan, an MRI, or other “elective” test since their high deductible has not been met by the end of the year on their insurance plan? How many don’t have insurance and are wishing for enough funds to pay for some health care need?

Regardless of what is on your list, you will have a difficult time finding someone who doesn’t think our healthcare system is broken. For those who suffer from illnesses requiring medical attention, they frequently face uncertainty not only in diagnosis or therapy, but also uncertainty in what their treatment will cost. For those who enjoy good health at the moment, they wonder not only if it will continue, but also whether their insurance will cover their future needs. For physicians who are trying to provide relief and healing in this system, they ask them selves not only how they can continue in the rat race, but also how they can live knowing that the “system” daily forces them to compromise something. Finding agreement on how we can repair the system is however near impossible. This has left many adding healthcare needs to their “Christmas wish lists”.

Sanctuary Medical Care and Consulting will not satisfy everyone’s opinions for how to repair the system, but it can help with some of those “unusual” items on your list related to health. For those who are seeking relief both from their suffering and from the financial burdens their suffering entails, it offers hope through Biblically Wholistic Direct Pay Care. The primary practical goal of Sanctuary Medical is to apply Biblically Wholistic care to each patient it encounters. This means taking sufficient time to assess and address not only the physical aspects of illness, but the spiritual, emotional, and relational aspects of the illness as well. By doing so, the full scope and depth of suffering may find restoration and healing. Thirty minute to one hour visits over time allow a relationship of covenantal trust to develop as the physician comes to know the patient as a whole being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). (“Covenantal trust” refers to a relationship between patient and physician monitored by God so that a patient’s best interests are kept in view.) Furthermore, given sufficient time with patients, many costly tests may be avoided through old fashioned diagnosis. When the tests are necessary, they can often be arranged for more affordable prices.

Unhurried visits and relationships of trust can only develop in the setting of Direct Pay Care where third parties such as insurance companies or the government exert limited influence on primary care clinical decisions. Americans have grown dependent on a system of insurance to pay for regular primary care which has resulted in third party payers gaining more and more control over individual’s healthcare. Consider car insurance. Do we buy insurance for unexpected fender benders and stolen cars or do we buy it for the expected oil changes and tire rotations? We do not “insure” the latter, but put aside money for those known future expenses. Why buy insurance for known health expenses like check-ups and regular visits?

Direct Pay Care means that physicians receive payments directly from patients, payments which are more affordable as the 30 to 40% administrative costs of healthcare provision are removed by excluding insurance from primary care. No more financing insurance company employees to process and review claims for care. No more need for physicians’ offices to staff multiple employees to fight for payment of services already rendered. No more hassle for patients arguing with their insurance company over benefits and coverage. That leaves money being spent primarily on patient’s care, not bureaucracy.

Direct Pay Care, also known as Direct Primary Care, private medicine, or concierge medicine, grows across our nation as the best hope for restoration of trusting physician-patient relationships. However, it is only an economic model and thus will only go so far. It needs Biblically Wholistic Healthcare practiced by Christian physicians with a worldview shaped by the Bible if it is to bear 100-fold fruit.

On the other hand, Biblically Wholistic Healthcare needs Direct Pay Care in order to fully express itself. Fifteen minute visits every three or four months will never be sufficient to address a person as a whole being. Neither can a Christian physician properly care for the complex health issues faced by our increasingly stressed population. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, nutritional deficiencies, depression, toxic exposures, autoimmune syndromes, diabetes, and other debilitating illnesses require an approach practically impossible in the current system of short visits and multiple referrals. Without the time provided by Direct Primary Care, physicians must resort to more costly testing in order to find a diagnosis. These complexities require personalized care addressing the whole person by one who has taken the time to understand a Biblical view of health (seeing each person as a whole being created in the image of God and thus made for relationship with the Creator). Sanctuary Medical Care and Consulting brings this approach to bear on each patient’s suffering, offering the best of conventional medicine combined with the best of God’s natural remedies and delivering this care in one’s own home through old-fashioned house call medicine.

Consider giving yourself the gift of whole person healthcare this year and maybe you can mark the MRI and CT scans off your list. Then you can focus on the more enjoyable gifts of the season, not to mention the blessings which are the reason for the season. God bless…

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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