"The best use of a physician's
knowledge is to teach patients how to heal themselves.”
~David Simon, M.D
I saw a twenty-something year old lady in my office. One week earlier, she had seen the physician assistant in the office as a new patient. When I saw her, she had had blood work done, and had come to review the results with me. She was on insulin and Trulicity for diabetes. Her A1c and weight were 9.4 and 332 respectively. She was paying about six hundred dollars ($600) a month for her medications. After reviewing her information and labs, I recommended our nutritional program for her, and told her she could eventually come off her insulin if she would follow our program. She promised she would follow our recommendations. We cut her insulin dose in half and gave her a program that included a “cardiometablic food plan” and time-restricted feeding. Three months later, her A1c was 4.8, so we stopped her insulin altogether. She wanted to continue Trulicity because of her weight. Another three months later, completely off insulin, her A1c was 5.3, and she weighed 302.5 pounds.
A sixty-nine year old gentleman has been a long term patient of our practice. He has diabetes and hypertension among other problems. He takes over 10 medications, and used to take more. From April 2000 to May 2022, his A1c was consistently between 5.2 and 5.4. His blood pressure was controlled on his regimen. After years of encouraging lifestyle management, I was finally able to get him to adopt a lifestyle program. For nearly two years, I tried to get him off, first his insulin, then his metformin. After much prodding without success, I asked him to bring his wife to his office visits. He did, I explained the situation to her, and encouraged her to to convince him to stop his metformin. By then, he was on insulin on an as-needed basis.
By his next visit, he was off metformin. Subsequently, we noticed his blood pressure and heart rate were trending low. He had been on a type of blood pressure medication that slows the heart. We also had to adjust down his coumadin because his blood was getting too thin, even though he was on the same long time dose of coumadin. Eventually, we stopped his metformin and one blood pressure medication. After years of not losing any weight, he started losing weight. Over the one-year period from November 2021 to October 2022, his blood pressure dropped from 124/78 to 94/60; his pulse dropped from 63 to 49, and his weight went from 287.3 to 257.2. We are still working with him to cut back and eventually stop some medications.
The two examples given above are only two of many patients our lifestyle programs have helped improve their health, reduce the number of medications they take, lose weight, reduce the number of office visits, and we hope, reduce future hospitalizations for complications such as heart attack and stroke. All this adds up to cost savings for patients, but the benefits to our patients go beyond money.
While we make patients healthier and save them money, the practice stands to lose money because we only get paid when we see patients and get reimbursed by insurance. Even worse, some insurance companies feel one way they make money is to underpay small practices like ours for seeing their member patients. In order to stay in business and continue taking care of our patients, we need to find other ways to make the practice profitable. That is why we have the membership option.
Members of Magnolia Health Care pay for the privilege of being seen at the practice. Most memberships at medical practices give you access to the practice when you need to be seen, and so does ours. We are different however. Once you become a member, you have access to preventive programs designed to benefit you beyond managing your medical condition. We have programs designed to improve your health by reversing some chronic diseases, reducing use of medications, and hopefully preventing future complications. The membership fee gives you access to the practice and the services we offer that are not covered by insurance. We bill your insurance for the covered services we provide.
For more information about membership and how to join, send us a message below.
For more patient stories, see our patient heroes.