As many of you know, we have stopped taking all medical insurance, leaving some patients concerned and frustrated that they can no longer use their insurance card at our clinic. Below we outline why you should not hesitate to pay out-of-pocket for your medical care if you need an experienced specialist on your healthcare team. We also review why our phone and video consults work.
Your doctors who take insurance are not experts in dysautonomia.
You go from one doctor to the next, your primary care physician, cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist and perhaps others, and you are still sick and not getting better. At most, your doctor has heard of POTS and maybe even has a few other patients like you. Or your doctor has never heard of POTS until you showed him a few articles on the subject. Maybe they believe that you are really sick or maybe they think that POTS is a wastebasket diagnosis or a new fad, like gluten-free diet, because they’ve never heard of POTS when they went to medical school. Or perhaps your doctor thinks that you are anxious and stressed and just need to relax, exercise and go back to school or work. Maybe your doctor even prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications for you. You know that something is physically wrong with you, but you give the doctor’s plan a try anyway. You go back to work or school, push yourself through the fatigue and pain, only to end up back at home, sicker than ever. At this point, out of desperation, you take the antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications as prescribed, but you are not getting better or you feel worse from the different side effects these medications can cause. Do you go back to your doctor or do you find a specialist with experience and expertise in your disorder who can get you on the path to recovery?
“I don’t have the extra money to spend on a doctor’s visit.”
We have heard from some of our patients that they’re in financial hardship. We understand the economical impact of a chronic illness. Our rates are very affordable, and are much lower than what other fee-for-services providers charge. Furthermore, we do offer financial assistance to patients in need. Clearly, it is worth investing financially in your health: it’s the most important asset you’ve got, with a return for your dollar far greater than paying for your iphone, ipad and that Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino you can’t live without.
“Why paying out-of-pocket for specialty consults is better than seeing my health insurance providers?”
Your health is your most important asset. When you get sick with an illness that doesn’t resolve quickly, the last thing you want is to be stuck with doctors who don’t understand your condition. By going back to the same doctors, you get stuck in a pattern of illness, frustration, misdiagnosis and wrong treatment. Not only you waste your time, but you also waste your money by paying copays, co-insurance charges and payment for the wrong medication. You also spent your precious energy at the doctor’s waiting room, and if you can’t drive, your family member or friend needs to take time off from work to take you to the doctor. By going to the doctors who take health insurance, but are not specialists in your condition, you are not saving – you are overspending financially, physically and emotionally. This is why it is important to work with a specialist in the field.
“What services does my payment for a consult include?”
When you see your doctor as part of the insurance network, you know that the duration of the visit would be anywhere between a few minutes to 30 min at most. That short interaction with your doctor allows your doctor to see as many as 30 patients per day. While the volume that a doctor sees must increase to counteract the low reimbursement fees for your visit, the quality of the visit inevitably declines. Thus, even a specialist can no longer provide a comprehensive review and treatment plan for a complex patient. The system is designed to deal with the most common and known medical conditions, not with dysautonomia or other complex disorders. At Dysautonomia Clinic, you get a full hour of doctor-patient interaction and a detailed evaluation by Dr. Blitshteyn. You can prepare questions, which will always be discussed during your consult. In order to prepare for a consult with you, Dr. Blitshteyn reviews some of your records and important diagnostic tests, a service free of charge to you. Also free of charge is a detailed consultation report that outlines your history, your diagnostic tests, Dr. Bltishteyn’s impression of your health problems and recommendations for further diagnostic test and treatment options. The report is usually e-mailed to you within 2-3 days after your consult. Additionally, you can e-mail to us with a short follow-up question, which is also free of charge. We ask that you discuss your response to treatment and/or your test result and other questions that you may have during your follow-up consult.
“What if I have an emergency? Can I get in touch with Dr. Blitshteyn?”
First, if you are feeling very ill and think it’s an emergency, please call an ambulance or to go the nearest emergency room for care. Second, Dr. Blitshteyn is available on an emergent and urgent basis. If you are hospitalized and doctors have no idea how to treat your autonomic disorder, you and/or you doctor can schedule a consult with Dr. Blitshteyn on the same or next day. Over the years, we have had quite a few patients with POTS or syncope contact us from different locations, including overseas, to seek guidance for treatment in the ER, hospital unit, intensive care unit or a maternity ward.