What you should know about Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is the new paradigm of medicine moving away from disease chasing to that of root cause identification.

It is also a true preventive medicine strategy.

While other forms of medicine give lip service to prevention in all actuality the large conventional medical-industrial complex which is comprised of very large (and even small) hospital systems, medical or health insurance companies, government agencies, medical societies and large pharmaceutical companies really do not practice preventive medicine.

Since the time of the American Civil War this medical-industrial complex has grown into a monster that is self-serving and today unsustainable.

Costs of treating the chronically ill are astronomical and cost are on an exponential rise. Hospitalization, surgical and procedural fees, medication costs and insurance premiums have risen over the past decade well beyond the imagination of industry watchdogs.

The only answer to this snowballing effect is to switch from a disease chasing modus operandi to that of true prevention and educating the healthcare recipient on self-care without having to lean too hard on the system.

The current system is destined to have a huge meltdown and implode and it is not a matter of ‘’if’’ but ‘’when’’ and I predict it will be sooner than later. The cost of Functional Medicine care is upfront a bit more expensive for one seeking this type of medicine.

Insurance companies do not reimburse for these services typically and they don’t understand the billing and coding that we would have to use.

Therefore, patients utilizing Functional Medicine will have to pay out of pocket.  When you analyze this long term however, you will see that the cost is actually much less than what is generally available in the American healthcare system as it exists today.

When you figure the cost of a single non-fatal heart attack is about $800,000 when all is said and done (annually Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) accounts for $110-billion in the US); when the annual cost of hemodialysis is $89,000 per patient per year and that amounts to a total annual hemodialysis cost in the US of $42-billion.

And these figures represents only two of the chronic illnesses (Cardiovascular Disease and Renal Failure) that exist in the world.

Both CVD and Renal Failure are totally preventable in most cases.  The majority of those who would suffer are able to halt, reverse or prevent this illness from taking over.  Can you imagine the personal financial savings and the savings of the entire nation if just these two diseases were slashed by 95%?  And that is an obtainable figure.  Think about that for a moment.

When a provider subscribes to a Functional Medicine paradigm, they are offering not only less heartache, pain and suffering for their patients, but long-term financial relief from the potential of devastating their savings accounts and becoming impoverished due to astronomical healthcare cost burdens.

Those patients that are frustrated early in life and see the potentials of Functional Medicine are the ones that benefit the most.  Not falling victim to the slippery slope of being over-medicated, having to have parts replaced (artificial knees and hips, pacemakers, and the like) will be rewarded enormous dividends in the early investments in their health that they make.

It is unfortunate when I see a new patient who is now in their sixth decade of life and already suffers some non-reversible damage due to chronic illness and they are now turning to this new paradigm out of frustration and fear.  We can offer some help but starting too late is often a large uphill battle to regain their health and can take many years.

My recommendation to anyone seeking Functional Medicine is to make the switch from conventional disease chasing American healthcare to the new paradigm as soon as possible.

The Institute for Functional Medicine and the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine are two organizations that are promoting Functional Medicine.

They offer online resources to get started and to explain the benefits to those seeking information.  The Priority Health Academy offers small group training for practitioners in the art of Functional Medicine to allow for providers to easily move from conventional insurance-based practices to that of Functional Medicine practices to best serve their patients.

By JP Saleeby, MD

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *