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Coronavirus

Sharyl Truty MD & Arlene Aquino APRN of Balanced Physician Care in Jacksonville, FL give you their medical perspective on the Coronavirus

The “NetFlix and CostCo” of Primary Care

How would you benefit if your relationship with your doctor was described as “Netflix meets Costco?”

Direct Primary Care, or DPC, is a new way of providing primary care that is making good on its promise to help people stay healthier and spend less on healthcare. Dr. Kirby Farnsworth, owner of Simply Direct Health, shares the story of what attracted him to choose DPC over traditional primary care models, how he can provide many medications at or near cost, and why referring physicians love it just as much as patients.

This conversation is brought to you by P3 Inbound

Health Cost Sharing 2020

The very concept for and purpose of insurance is to protect one against unpredictable and large expenses, such as damage to your vehicle from an accident, or to your home from a hurricane. In health care where there is no transparency, most health care costs are unknown. Health insurance gradually morphed to provide “coverage” for everything, from the routine care such as doctor’s visits, ancillary services (laboratory and radiology) and prescriptions to the catastrophic needs when one gets hospitalized or requires emergency surgeries.

Direct Primary Care solves the routine care dilemma by making the cost of health care and ancillary services all transparentaffordable and predictable with the all-inclusive monthly membership. In so doing, Direct Primary Care renders health insurance irrelevant for most routine needs. Then by removing the routine care from traditional health insurance, the cost for such is dramatically lower, as in the case of most health cost sharing plans. These plans perfectly pair with a Direct Primary Care membership to deliver you a health care solution that is better than most traditional insurance offerings, yet cost half as much.

Unless you have chronic medical conditions that truly require the care of a specialist physician and expensive medications, these health cost sharing plans will be just what you need. Most medical conditions that are currently managed by specialist physicians can be cared for by a Direct Primary Care physician who is not spending time running from room to room seeing 25-30 patients a day as in a traditional medical practice. That practice setting favors referrals for almost everything due to time constraints and network referral pressure.

When we could not find any solutions online comparing various health cost sharing plans, we decided to do it ourselves, and have revised it annually to reflect the changing marketplace. It is our hope that this updated 2020 version will help you find the perfect health cost sharing plans for you.
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-courtesy of ochna health

Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is right around the corner and you may be making some important decisions for you, your family, or even your business. Here are some tips to think about when purchasing health insurance.

Whether you purchase your insurance through the state, government, employer or directly from vendors, this can be a daunting process. There are often many choices, with slight differences that are difficult to decipher. Beyond that, because price transparency is such an issue in healthcare, it is often hard to plan or budget for future costs when there is no way to find out how much these services actually cost! Below, I’ve tried to outline a couple tips while going through this process.  

Nothing is free!!:   Many patients get a large portion of their health insurance paid for by a third party (employer, government, etc). This creates the notion that health care is cheap or free in certain situations. Please remember that although you may not pay much in monthly premiums or out of pocket costs for your insurance, your employer is likely paying an exorbitant amount for health care services you may not even use. This cost has gone up considerably in the last few years

Know your family:  Unfortunately, because this can be so complicated, many patients simply select the most inclusive insurance options, which are also the most expensive. Sit down and review what medical services you and your family have used over the past few years. What medications do you require monthly, if any? Do you see specialists, and why? Do you know of any bigger health expenses that may come up next year (like planning for a child or an elective surgery)?  Or do you just really need a good primary care physician who has time to address all of your medical needs? (Hint: the answer for almost everyone is yes!)
 
Understand premiums and deductibles:   Just to review, a premium is the amount that you (or a third party) pay monthly for the privilege of being insured. The deductible is the total amount of out of pocket costs you and your family can incur during the year on top of the monthly premium you already pay. The lower your monthly premiums, the higher your out of pocket costs may be… though you still might save money this way! For instance, for a young family of 4 buying insurance from BCBS, the monthly premium for a $2,800 deductible plan is about $500 more a month than the $12,000 deductible plan… that’s $6,000 extra in monthly premiums over the course of the year!!! Why would anyone pay that much extra when good primary care can cover 85-90% of issues that will ever come up?  Even the $2,800 deductible plan listed above leaves a family paying out of pocket for much of their costs in a year. Those costs are often inflated because of insurance and the amount is completely unknown to the patient prior to utilizing the service (try to think of another purchase you make where you do not know the cost prior to buying?!?).
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Consider Medical Cost Sharing or Healthshare:  Healthcare Sharing, or Groups, are non-profit organizations of like-minded individuals that pool their money together every month to help each other with serious medical costs. They are NOT considered insurance. They work great with Direct Primary Care.The majority are Christian based ministries except for Sedera Health (sedera.com). The Christian based Ministry groups usually require members to adhere to moral and ethical principles that result in lower healthcare costs; such as not smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol, no extra marital sex, and no illicit drugs. Since these plans are not insurance, they can restrict or refuse Approval, i.e. exclude for pre-existing conditions. Sedera Health is different. It does not require you to adhere to moral or ethical principals and is not a Christian based. These health sharing plans can provide catastrophic healthcare protection (like health insurance should be doing) for significantly lower monthly costs.
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So, if you have a relatively healthy family, ask yourself why you (or your employer) pay so much more in premiums for, what should be, cheap and comprehensive primary care services. And wouldn’t you want an affordable, budgetable, transparent monthly fee that will cover most everything that will come up during a given year including keeping you out of an expensive urgent care and or even worse, the emergency room.

 

  •  If you do have some chronic medical concerns, think about the specialists you are seeing and the different medications you're on.  Is YOUR Primary Care Doctor putting all the pieces together?

 

  • Is you current doctors taking your finances into consideration when prescribing and ordering expensive medications/tests without thinking about it?

 

  • Is you current doctor part of a hospital system and only recommending specialists "in the system"?

 

  • Does your doctor expedite changes in your treatment plan and save you trips to the office?
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If the answer is a No to the questions above or you're just unsure, it’s probably worth making a 15-20 minute, Meet & Greet appointment here at Balanced Physician Care so we can discuss how our practice will work with your medical and insurance needs. The best part is, the consultation is free!  (Schedule your visit here or give us a call at 904-930-4774
BPC Logo

115 Professional Drive Suite 104

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

904-930-4774

www.BalancedPhysicianCare.com

IV Therapy 101 – Part 3

The 6 Symptoms of a Hormone Imbalance

Natural hormone production can be disrupted for many reasons whether it be increased stress or a medical condition like hypothyroidism. A hormone imbalance can also be part of the natural aging process when men and women reach andropause or menopause. No matter the cause, a hormone imbalance can lead to numerous uncomfortable symptoms, that are best treated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) programs. However, in order to help people who experience a hormone imbalance it is important to be aware of the common symptoms to look for.

Men

1. Fatigue

There are many reasons why energy levels can start to decrease, but often times daily fatigue is due to a hormone imbalance. For example, it is common during andropause for cortisol levels to increase while DHEA decreases, which places extreme stress on the body. Fatigue can also be a byproduct of other symptoms brought on by a hormone deficiency such as depression or difficulty sleeping because the body experiences extreme “wear and tear” without being able to properly recover. Men may report feeling the need for frequent naps during the workday or will feel as if they have “lost their edge” due to the fatigue brought on by a hormone imbalance.

2. Low Sex Drive

Another common symptom that occurs with a hormone imbalance is decreased libido because testosterone levels begin to decline while estrogen levels begin to rise significantly. Because testosterone is the foundation of sexual health in males, low levels of this hormone along with high levels of estrogen can lead to a loss of overall libido. This “double-strike” in male hormone production can contribute to erectile dysfunction as well. Men may report either difficulty maintaining or getting an erection as well as a loss of interest in sex due to a hormone imbalance.

3. Weight Gain

Many men experiencing a hormone imbalance have difficulty losing weight or experience an increase in body fat despite exercise and proper nutrition. A hormone imbalance contributes to this issue because of the role the body’s chemical messengers play in regulating digestive function, fat storage, and metabolic rate. The ability for the body to breakdown and metabolize fat declines substantially with age, due to lack of hormone production and regulation, which is why males will report an inability to lose weight or an increase in body fat, especially in the mid-section.

4. Trouble Sleeping

In men, testosterone contributes to the production of serotonin and melatonin which signals the body to sleep. However, low levels of testosterone can interrupt this process, which contributes to feelings of insomnia or difficulties getting a restful night’s sleep. Many men may report feeling “unrested” despite a full night of sleep or state that they have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can also trigger other symptoms during andropause such as depression, irritability, fatigue, or trouble with weight loss.

5. Lack of Focus

An often overlooked symptom of hormone imbalance. It is common with older age for people to have a hard time concentrating. However, a disruption in the body’s natural hormone production can lead to trouble with mental clarity which consists of forgetfulness and difficulty focusing. Men may report “brain fog,” or trouble focusing on important tasks such as projects at work.

6. Mood Swings

​One of the most important symptoms of a hormone imbalance is trouble with mood regulation. High-levels of cortisol and low levels of DHEA & testosterone can lead to symptoms such as irritability, bursts of anger, anxiety, and depression. Many males overlook these symptoms as products of a hormone imbalance; however, during the aging process these uncomfortable emotions can occur due to lack of hormone regulation.

Women

1. Hot Flashes

Perhaps the most common symptom for women to experience because of a change in hormone production. Considering that estrogen and progesterone regulate body temperature, it is not surprising that so many women feel this uncomfortable symptom when hormone levels begin to decline. Hot flashes can also produce feelings of nausea, dizziness, or a flushed face. Hot flashes can also produce difficulties when it comes to sleep, exercise, and more as it makes these daily activities uncomfortable.

2. Fatigue

There are many reasons why women will feel fatigued, but lack of energy in women is mostly due to the other symptoms they experience because of a hormone imbalance. The biggest culprit is hot flashes. When hot flashes strike, it makes it hard to get a restful night of sleep for most women. Mood issues like anxiety and depression also go hand-in-hand with menopause, and are notorious for disrupting sleep and causing fatigue. Although a disruption in certain hormones like cortisol and DHEA can cause women to feel tired, many of the other symptoms they experience contribute to daily fatigue.

3. Low Sex Drive

Similar to men, many women will experience low libido during menopause or due to a hormone imbalance. Because testosterone is the foundation of sexual function in females, low-levels of this hormone along with low-levels of estrogen can lead to a loss of pleasurable sensations, which in turn decreases libido. Women may report either difficulty feeling pleasure during sex as well as a loss of interest in overall sexual intercourse due to a hormone imbalance.

4. Weight Gain

One of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance for women is weight gain, mainly because normal thyroid functioning is disrupted. For women, the thyroid and the hormones it produces, are essential for regulating metabolism and digestive health. With menopause or increased stress, the thyroid can be affected which ultimately makes it harder for women to lose weight. An overproduction of hormones could also contribute to significant weight gain despite exercise and proper nutrition.

5. Mood Swings

One of the most noticeable symptoms, along with hot flashes, of a hormone imbalance in women is trouble regulating mood. Overproduction of certain hormones, such as estrogen, can lead to symptoms such as irritability, bursts of anger, sadness, or increased anxiety. Many females overlook these symptoms, which puts them at an increased risk for mental health complications due to their existing susceptibility to such health issues.

6. Trouble Sleeping

Women, just like men, need various hormones to regulate sleep patterns. For example, testosterone contributes to the production of serotonin and melatonin which signals the body to sleep. Without these hormones, women might experience insomnia or difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. Hot flashes can also contribute to difficulty sleeping because women constantly wake up feeling uncomfortable or cannot fall asleep due to these disturbances.

Hormone Replacement Therapy programs can effectively relieve these symptoms & help people feel amazing. It’s important to get people suffering from these issues started with HRT so that they can optimize their health and live better!

Book Your Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Consultation with Dr Sharyl Truty today by calling 904.930.4774.

 

  • Article by Ashley Bierman - Afinity Physician Network 4/2/2019 

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