Accurate Diagnosis: The Roadmap to Achieving Optimal Health

When it comes to repairing a vehicle or any electrical equipment, you want to know what the problem is first before you start to remedy the issue. The same is true for your physical health. Your family medical center should first and foremost, perform an accurate diagnosis to launch an effective treatment plan.

There are many medical diagnostic services you can get to seek the answers you need – depending on the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing. However, apart from the equipment, your doctor and medical staff should also possess expertise, compassion, and reliability.

Planning and Paying for Diagnostic Services

Thousands of diagnostic exams are performed across the country every year. However, they are neither cheap nor straightforward. Often, diagnostic procedures involve multiple stages to be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is and ultimately achieve accuracy. Unfortunately, some corrupt and mismanaged practices take advantage of patients and will perform unnecessary and non-essential procedures; it makes the whole process expensive and confusing for you.

Thus, it’s crucial to carefully plan a diagnostic approach with your trusted family medical center. A professional medical specialist will recommend a diagnostic test. These tests usually involve an X-ray, MRI, or echocardiogram. These initial diagnostic tests can help your doctor better understand your symptoms.

MRI machine with doctor, nurse, and patient

If any or all of the diagnostic tests mentioned above reveal the root issue, the doctor can evaluate the cause and prescribe a treatment plan. On the other hand, if the results are normal yet you are still experiencing specific symptoms, then a more thorough diagnostics plan should be put in place so you and your doctor will better understand what’s troubling you. Either way, running diagnostic exams is an essential step in modern medicine.

Diagnostic exams are not like most consumer products. If they were, you could do your research, compare prices, check customer reviews, and decide on what to purchase. Healthcare services, in general, don’t work that way. Estimating costs will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The diagnostic facility
  • The health plan insurance provider’s network
  • The health plan’s deductible and copay requirements

In today’s post, we’ll tackle how you can adequately plan and pay for diagnostic procedures so that you can save money on medical expenses.

Insurance Coverage and Network

Before you start your search on a family medical center, check first if they are covered under your health insurance plan. For any medical procedures, the costs will be determined by your health plan; whether it requires you to pay full price, the deductible amount, or a basic copay, etc.

If your doctor and general specialist are both under your healthcare insurance plan’s provider network, you can expect to pay less, as opposed to if they are out of network. If your doctor suggests an out-of-network diagnostic facility, make sure to ask if he or she can refer you to an in-network provider.

If you don’t have healthcare insurance or if you have to pay the full amount because you didn’t meet the deductible requirements, you can always discuss your situation with the facility’s billing department. When you call, ask about the following:

  • What the cash-pay price is. Often, you might be able to avail a discount if you choose to pay upfront
  • What payment plans they offer
  • What assistance programs they provide
  • If they know of any charities or groups that can help you pay for medical costs

Diagnostic Facilities in Your Area

If your health insurance is under a point of service (POS) or HMO plan, using the diagnostic facility that your doctor refers you will be the most affordable option; you don’t have to shop around for diagnostic specialists in your area with the best rates.

A specialist is needed to study and read your diagnostic results

On the other hand, if your plan is a preferred provider network (PPO) or an exclusive provider organization (EPO), you should look for a facility that is within your network. Keep in mind that the cost of, for instance, an MRI or any other diagnostic service, is not as simple as knowing how much it is. Different factors determine the total cost and can increase it; these factors include facility and equipment fees, a specialist to read and study your results, and necessary medications.

Furthermore, even if you find in-network options, the charges for the same procedures may also vary due to the factors as mentioned earlier, which will affect your expenses.

Check the Bill

After the procedures, you will start getting documents from your insurance and medical service providers. The paperwork includes the bill and an explanation of the benefits you are entitled. If the bill shows a lump sum rather than an itemized listing, call the facility right away; you are within your rights to request a statement with an itemized listing of the charges.

In a future post, we will tackle how to correctly read a medical bill from your family medical center and insurer, so it’s easily understandable and less confusing.

Top Tips for Finding an Effective Family Medicine Practice

Contrary to belief, family doctors still offering many services similar to their predecessors; however, home visits are no longer available except in emergency situations. While many people tend to visit general practitioners at a general medical practice, it is seen that many health insurance companies now require one is registered with a family doctor to be referred to specialists when seeking specialized health care. Unfortunately, these types of physicians are difficult to find and limited in the types of injuries they can treat. This article will provide some tips on how to find an effective family medicine practice.

excited child in doctors office

1. Ensures Overall Health

The ideal family doctor is one who operates in a family medicine practice ensuring your overall health. Unlike specialist physicians who treat certain conditions, the family doctor will receive specialized training to treat the whole body. This type of professional will take care of patients of various ages and suffering from different conditions. Furthermore, the treatment will involve both physical and psychological elements.

2. Updated Education and Training

In order to become a family doctor, it is necessary to undergo an addition three years training in a family medical practice treating patients. The real-life training may be in a hospital, medical clinic or a home. While these doctors do not specialize in a particular field of medicine, they must remain up to date with the latest developments in general medical practice to ensure they are aware of new medical techniques. It is also necessary that family doctors indicate their awareness of training by undergoing re-certification more regularly than another other type of physician.

3. Good Primary and Preventative Care

While you may not have any health difficulties, it is recommended you register with a family medicine practice. This is not only to meet requirements of medical insurance providers; but also to act as a precaution for health care. Family doctors receive training in both primary and preventative care, meaning they are able to advise on both the presenting condition and any prevention of problems to help overcome future health issues. This type of care can be highly beneficial in helping you remain healthy as long as possible, potentially reducing the cost of health care.

4. Testimonials and Basic Information

Locating the ideal family doctor can be a very complicated and challenging task, despite the seemingly simplistic nature.

doctor going over checklist

When searching for a family doctor, it is recommended that you begin the search by contacting family and friends to ask for referrals. Once referrals have been obtained, it would be useful to do some research before registering with the doctor looking at testimonials of service, working hours, system of payment accepted, and if the practice operates with specialists. It is important to remember that not all family medicine practices are able to register new patients; therefore, it is necessary to have several options at hand.

5. Comfort With the Doctor

Good family doctors should be able to answer medical questions easily and in a manner that makes it simple to understand. The physician should be able to make you feel comfortable in the doctor-patient relationship and must be patient enough to answer all questions, even if you are repeating yourself. If there is a feeling of discomfort during the initial consultation, it would be best to trust your instinct and seek out a different family doctor.

6. The Doctor’s Age

One factor that many people do not take into account when searching for a medical doctor is the issue of the doctor’s age. The majority of people consider older physician’s to be the more professional and acceptable option; however, this is not always true and there are instances where a younger professional would be more suitable if available. The rule of thumb is that the doctor should be one generation above the patient. This ensures the professional has the correct knowledge and is aware of the culture of the patient.

Final Words on the Matter

Finding a doctor is essential to maintain one’s health, and finding a family doctor will be highly beneficial for the family’s overall health. By using the information above you can make an informed decision on how to find the ideal family doctor for your family’s needs.