I’m a Primary Care Consultant: Standing in your corner

A square peg does not fit in a round hole. Most people understand this. I think we all have situations when this applies to our lives.

Several years ago I realized I could be more effective as a physician if I chose to practice medicine outside of the conventional framework. There were few practice models that allowed me to treat my patients the way my heart was leading me to. In fact, most integrative and functional medicine practitioners have had to adapt their own models. These are very personalized ways of treating illness that aren’t easily replicated for all patients. Nor are they supported consistently by current insurance industry regulations and practices.

The other thing that affects integrative and personalized medical practices is that all physicians aren’t the same! Some doctors thrive on a hectic pace and being on call. Others need more time with their families to maintain optimal level of patient care. Many love having a large practice full of partners to collaborate with, while some, like me, love being a solo practitioner. And we all have a wide variety of different reasons and personal gifts that attracted us to medicine in the first place.

Deep in my heart, I resonate with the “Marcus Welby” approach to being the go-to physician for my patients. I love family medicine and thus chose that as my original speciality for residency training back in 1995. After many years of practicing in a large conventional group practice I now operate as a solo practitioner; therefore, I think it is important further explain the shape of Lake Travis Integrative Medicine.

We operate in a unique way. In some ways we are square pegs when compared to most types of medical practices, even those in similar modalities. This even includes typical family medicine, integrative medicine, and functional medicine models. I truly practice a blend of these three things infused with my own personality and gifts. And unlike some “alternative” offices, I don’t demonize nor do I glorify most any approach, food/diet, test, or lifestyle. I look for what I think will work for each of my patients.

My office gets calls daily from prospective patients who want to establish themselves in my practice and consider me their Primary Care Provider. This goal can be confusing if the details of what this means to both sides aren’t fully understood. There are some things about Primary Care that my practice does quite well. Other standard expectations for a PCP, depending on your past personal experience, are things I simply don’t do.

I technically cannot be a PCP the way that insurance companies define a PCP, as I am not on call all the time. I can advise on primary care issues during regular business hours if we have an active and current relationship (meaning that I’ve seen you in the last 6 months).

I need all of my patients and prospective patients to understand some of the policies and conditions – boundaries, if you will – that may be different from other models of care that they’ve experienced. I truly want you to know what you can expect from me as your physician.

Here are some of the following differences between Lake Travis Integrative Medicine and most conventional Primary Care practices:

1. We do not fulfill an insurance company’s requirement for an in-network Primary Care Physician. (We are not in-network with any insurance plan.)

2. We are a cash-based practice and do not bill insurance companies.

3. We are not available for same-day emergency appointments.

4. We do not have a 24-hour answering service and do not take calls after hours or on weekends. If you need to be seen urgently or have a medical emergency you must visit an ER or Urgent Care center.

5. I am an integrative medicine specialist, not a conventional Primary Care generalist. This means I have several years of special training that most PCP’s don’t have.

6. I work for you, not your insurance company, so my role is not to simply be a gatekeeper to specialists for insurance purposes. I work collaboratively with any specialists you consult as needed, and can also make referrals to specialists that I trust. My hope is that our work together helps you need less specialists.

7.  I may occasionally charge for things some large practices do not. Since I don’t have a large staff to triage or offer between appointment advice, when you need something from us, it usually involves me. If you haven’t seen me in more than 6 months, or you need a complex issue addressed, there may be extra charges for care coordination, research for your medication refills, or other kinds of medical management services.

Given all of the above, I am what some people call a PCC (Primary Care Consultant). For people who need the role or services of a more conventional PCP, I strongly encourage you to keep that provider within the requirements of your insurance coverage. Many of my patients do this and see me as a consultant for the issues that need the deepest consideration, such as chronic illness, genetic testing, or non-conventional treatments that insurance doesn’t cover anyway.

The PCC model is a way to celebrate and sustain my gifts and help me continue to advocate for you and your health. I work hard to help my patients and personalize their care. I simply couldn’t do this in the conventional medical clinic setting.

As a holistic-minded physician I don’t hyperfocus or hypertreat any one condition or use any one method. For instance, you may come to me for bioidentical hormone balancing; however, I take your whole health into consideration. How will taking natural hormones affect your chronic illness or pre-existing condition, or your gut health?

I look at the whole picture of your health in relation to all of the conditions in your life. My mission is to help you find sustainable ways to empower your own health so that your needs for a physician at all are less.

Dr. Julie was wonderful! She listened, she got me, and we made a plan to move forward! The office is a calm, pretty, organized space and I felt very welcome!

My approach is not a quick fix. But there are times we all need a physician or a health advocate and that is why I’m here for you. Even if there are specific health issues that seem contained, I understand and consider the diverse implications of all of your issues and their treatments, whether it be from an infection, a joint pain, a historical illness or trauma, hormones, fatigue and so much more.

Please just know,  I’m in your corner!

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More Information: What is a primary care physician?

 

By | 2017-09-12T12:37:34+00:00 September 5th, 2017|Integrative Family Medicine|0 Comments

About the Author:

Julie Reardon, MD has a passionate interest in empowering individuals to advocate for their own health. She is one of a growing movement of integrative and holistic physicians looking for a better way to serve the needs of their patients in a sustainable, empowered way in the midst of a broken system that no longer serves either doctor or patient well.

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