Monthly Archives: December 2015

Who Benefit$?

Insurance companies dictate what medications we can and can’t take or tests we can or can’t have. Thirty plus different medications. Side effects. Drug/drug interactions, FDA. Big Pharma. Generic vs. brand name. Chemicals. Plants.  Quality Measures. MTHFR. Pharmacogentics. Addiction. Bad outcomes.

Don’t you see the craziness? Do you see the connection?  Because the craziness and the way we just go with it…are eating me up.

We do dumb stuff! Really dumb!

Essential oils

I can’t talk about my essential oils (distilled from plants)…not for real and in an open forum. I can’t tell you all of the reasons why I love them.  I can’t tell you the amazing things they have done for my family.  No chemicals.  I could…but I’d be in trouble. They gave us a list of words we can’t use…which are the very reasons most of us use the oils to begin with.  Things like…antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, arthritis and so many more.  I’m a nurse for crying out loud.  These words are in my everyday vocabulary.  But yet I can’t say them when speaking about my beloved essential oils.  The same oils I have witnessed do amazing things without chemicals and side effects or worrying about addiction issues.

I can’t tell you that just recently I rubbed lemon oil on my husband’s upper right quadrant after days (week) of intense, sudden, sharp cramping and pain discomfort (I’m not allowed to say pain when referring to my essential oils). The pain discomfort stopped immediately and hasn’t returned.  It’s been 4 days.  But it would have been appropriate for me to tell you if we had gone to the urgent care and received a narcotic to help with the pain. We couldn’t have gotten in to see his physician so quickly.  We could have had to go to urgent care.  However, unless there isn’t really another option- urgent care isn’t something I’m fond of using for my family – for several reasons related to my nursing career…people use them as their primary physician, meds are over-prescribed/over-used/abused, care isn’t coordinated well, etc.  But absolutely…sometimes urgent care is needed.  But if I can wait – I go to the appropriate physician I have a history with.

We could have gone and had him examined and gotten some medication (narcotics for the pain?) and we would have been told to follow up with our primary care physician. Instead, I rubbed lemon oil on the spot that was bothering him.  It stopped.  It hasn’t occurred again in 4 days.  This was happening multiple times a day.    No narcotics. No unnecessary prescriptions or costs.  No side effects. No medication interactions. I’m not proposing we don’t see physicians. We need them.  They are smart.  They diagnose and treat.  But we can treat differently…without always prescribing medications.  But isn’t that why we go to the doctor?  Are we looking for a pill? A quick fix? He will see his primary care physician because we believe in wellness appointments and getting to the root cause. We have a choice. We are empowered.

There are so many things we could learn about using essential oils and so many healthcare issues including addiction. Truly. There are things that could possibly help with so many of the underlying causes of addiction.

Who benefits when more and more pharmaceuticals are prescribed creating side effects and drug /drug interactions?

Medical marijuana

Up until about 3 years ago – I NEVER would have said it…but I support the use of medical marijuana. I wouldn’t have supported it because…my mother was an addict and I was always told it was a gateway drug.  True. It can be.  Just like Lortab, Percocet, Xanax, Klonopin, OxyContin, Oxycodone Ativan, etc. …

I’m certainly not advocating the recreational use of marijuana just like I’m not advocating the recreational use of Lortab, Percocet, Xanax or any of the prescription medications we know could be an issue.

It’s a plant. People have had great results with treating anxiety, nausea, and so many other things.

Who benefits when pharmaceuticals are used even if medical marijuana would be better for the individual person?

Health Care Quality Measures

Quality measures are items that Medicare reimbursement will eventually be based upon. Some of the quality measures include things like…Tobacco use assessment and cessation intervention, weight screening, depression screening, vaccination information, etc.  Really tobacco cessation?  Healthcare providers are judged on whether their patient’s smoke or not? How successful has this program been in all the years that it is been measured?  In my experience, most of the smokers will tell you – “I don’t want to quit smoking.  I enjoy it.”  Tying Medicare reimbursement to physicians/agencies/organizations providing health care to smokers who don’t want to quit smoking – is craziness!

What about tying reimbursement to physician’s/agencies/organizations who perform pharmacogenetics testing, MTHFR testing or other testing they actually have some control over and could see positive results from?

Medication reconciliation is another quality measure for ACO’s – I’m a HUGE supporter of medication reconciliation.  But come on!  How is it truly measured?  The process is complicated.  How often is it truly done correctly?  How many people actually care that the patient is taking so many different medications and they can barely afford them.  Or some even have to choose between food and medication. There are over the counter medications to consider.  Several different physician’s ordering medications (primary, urgent care, specialists, etc.) for the same patient.  So many pharmacies being used…Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s $4 meds, mail order VA making it impossible for pharmacy’s to check for interactions for all of the medications. When interactions are identified – we are required to notify the physician (rightfully so). They are bombarded with so many interaction notifications because almost every medication has an interaction.  But yet our hands are tied.  Our elderly patients are falling, confused, having bad outcomes and taking so many different medications.  It’s not unusual to for them to take thirty plus different medications. Chemical interactions?

Where is the pharmaceutical company in all of this? Advocating the use of more medications…the newer more expensive ones?

How about a quality measure for reducing the amount of medications a patient takes? How about trying to eliminate some instead of just adding more and more.

Who benefits from less meds, less side effects, less drug/drug interactions, etc.?

Insurance/pharmaceuticals

Insurance companies’ control what medications can be ordered and what can’t by what they are willing to pay for. They don’t always pay for the medication that was proven to be the most efficacious but sometimes they go for the cheapest. Never mind what the physician has ordered and deemed most appropriate for the patient.  Sometimes it’s all based on cost…only.

Then there is the whole generic vs brand and the cost savings or profit pushing? Is there a bigger profit margin for generic medications for pharmacies? Will the person experience a different outcome using generic vs brand?

Insurance will pay for Lortab, Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan and so many other medications that have helped so many but also because of addiction…have turned lives into shambles. So we can easily get our hands on cheap potentially devastating medications but we can’t talk real about oils that are known to relieve pain discomfort.  Why?

I can get the above medications paid for by our insurance company. No problem. But Deplin a medical food that treats some of the underlying causes of the reasons the above medications are prescribed for symptom control isn’t paid for by a lot of the insurance companies! This particular medicine, Deplin has helped someone close to me.  It significantly decreased panic attacks and anxiety.  Now our insurance refused to pay for it.  But they will pay for medicines that are used to treat the symptoms and are addictive.  Why? Too costly despite the potentially better outcome? What if the use of pain medication and benzodiazepines led to addiction problems…wouldn’t the cost of addiction treatment far out way the cost of the medication?

Who benefits when additional medication is needed and root causes aren’t treated?

Pharmacogenetics testing

Here’s more information on pharmacogenetics.

Medicare, Insurance and Veterans Administration were going to pay for this amazing testing to help get patients on the right medications from the beginning. Less error in prescribing the wrong antidepressant, antianxiety, pain medications and so much more because the test assesses the persons DNA to see which medications their body can most easily metabolize.

Who benefits when wrong medications are prescribed? Lots of them…?

MTHFR 

Here is more information on MTHFR$%&!

This isn’t being utilized enough to help treat root causes for things like anxiety, depression, heart disease, arthritis…etc.

Who benefits when root causes aren’t identified/treated and more and more medications are ordered?

Think about this….who loses a profit if people are using essential oils when appropriate, growing their own medical marijuana, taking less medication which in turn means combining less chemicals, less medication interactions/side effects, being prescribed the right medications (based on pharmacogenetics testing and their DNA) so millions of dollars aren’t wasted on the wrong ones and avoiding hospitalizations?

I’m not advocating that we don’t need medications or pharmaceutical companies. We need them. They save lives.  But let’s stop the crazy behavior and do what is right.  We would have decreased costs (profits too) and people would benefit more.

Let’s acknowledge the benefits of essential oils without having to worry about the FDA trying to regulate and the pharmaceutical industry getting their hands in it for their cut.

Let’s pay for beneficial testing like pharmacogenetics and MTHFR so we can have better outcomes and treat root causes.

Let’s pay for medications that treat root causes instead of just cheaper more addictive medications that allow for more profit.

Let’s stop treating addicts like criminals. Let’s quit doing dumb stuff where the people in need aren’t benefiting.

Let’s quit doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – Insanity!!

We have to treat the underlying cause…properly and most accurately.

We have a huge problem. It’s bigger than the FDA, Big Pharma…it’s the insurance companies, health care systems, us and so much more.  Sick people make someone a lot of money.

Be your own advocate. Find a great physician. Do your research.  Fight for yourself and others.  Get informed and empowered.

Do you see the craziness?

Kandy

 

 

 

 

 

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MTHFR $%&!

I’m mad. Really mad. But the MTHFR I’m referring to isn’t really a cuss word. But to be truthful – I am saying ugliness in my mind. Lots of it. Our healthcare system is so crazy broken it makes me nuts! And I’m a nurse. I’m so frustrated with how we treat addiction, mental illness and hand out some medication like it’s nothing but refuse to pay for life changing, root cause treating, important medical food and testing.

MTHFR refers to Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase  and it just might change your life.

Seven months ago (one month after my mother had died)…something bad happened to someone I love…a serious medication reaction. Something that scared us and rattled me to the core. But that something bad led us to the most compassionate, empathetic, loving, knowledgeable physician we have ever met and we are thankful. She has been a bright light in a very dark world. She listened, believed, cared, taught and tested…when others had not. She performed lab tests… Pharmacogenetics, MTHFR and other blood work to help determine root causes when others had not. She truly saved us and I love her. Thankfully most everything was covered by our insurance company.

The Pharmacogenetics testing determined which medicine would be best metabolized and most therapeutic based on his DNA. The MTHFR revealed two genetic mutations which inhibited the ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form.  Deplin, a medical food was prescribed. Deplin is different from other medicines used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and depression. It’s non-addictive and it doesn’t just treat the symptoms. It gets to what many believe to be at least part of the root cause of so many illnesses….anxiety, depression, heart disease, fibromyalgia and so many others.

Deplin, MTHFR, pharmacogenetics and the sweet physician who brought these into our lives have been life changers in a really big and good way. The panic attacks have been controlled and the anxiety has greatly decreased (there is so much more but I’m trying to be discreet for him while sharing info that might help someone else). I stand on roof tops (someone exaggerating but not really) and shout out to anyone who passes by… “Go see Dr. (name omitted) and have the MTHFR and pharmacogenetics testing. She will change your life with her compassion, empathy and knowledge.” Several have listened. I seriously love her.

My mother who died from her addiction on April 1, 2015 suffered from years of anxiety…and addiction. I had never heard of MTHFR until a month after her death. I’m sure she was never tested for MTHFR or had pharmacogenetics testing. I would bet my life my mother had the MTHFR genetic mutations and just maybe if these had been identified years ago and she had been prescribed Deplin or something like it – maybe she would have stood a better chance of battling her addiction.

So why am I mad?

Because our healthcare as a whole is full of craziness!!!!

Yesterday, I found out as of 12/1/15 our insurance will no longer pay for Deplin!! So after seven months of panic attacks being controlled and anxiety being greatly decreased in a large part due to Deplin…a MEDICAL FOOD…our insurance will no longer pay for it because it’s considered a vitamin.  However, the insurance will still pay for other medications that treat so many symptoms (not root cause) …and are addictive, full of chemicals, cause major drug/drug interactions, contribute to hospitalizations, rehabilitations and all kinds of ugliness. In all fairness…those medications I just referred to help people too. But being the child of an addict…I’ve seen a lot of ugly with medications (over seeking, over prescribing and abusing) and I’m furious that this medical food will no longer be covered by our insurance.  The cheapest I know of is $60 for a month’s supply when paying cash. That $60 is nothing compared to adding other multiple medications to treat symptoms or paying for additional physician appointments, inpatient treatment or addiction treatment that insurance could incur as a result of not paying for Deplin or other medications that treat root causes instead of just symptoms.  Don’t we want to treat the root cause instead of just treating symptoms? Don’t we want better outcomes? Don’t we want people to do well and succeed? I’m beginning to really wonder. I feel like a bunch of bozo’s are making really dumb decisions at our expense.

At the beginning of the year, I sat in on a presentation about pharmacogenetics testing. The lab was so excited because insurance companies including Medicare and the VA would be paying for the testing. This could potentially decrease many poor outcomes related to medications and save tons of money by preventing wrong medications (for their DNA) from being prescribed to a patient. During the presentation, I made a snide remark about how I bet Big Pharma wasn’t too happy about the testing. Because from my angle…it looked like they stood to lose a lot of profit if physicians were more accurate with their medication prescribing based on a person’s metabolism and DNA. I was assured Big Pharma backed the testing. I was shocked and grateful. But over the last several weeks…I’ve heard Medicare will no longer be paying for the pharmacogenetics testing. Really? I wonder why? While I used to believe positive outcomes were always the priority…I’m beginning to see…I’ve been quite ignorant.

So let me ask you…who benefits when a medicine like Deplin is no longer covered by insurance or when pharmacogenetics testing isn’t covered ensuring the right medication is prescribed more accurately…it sure isn’t the patient or the family. So who benefits? And what about those positive outcomes? What about saving money? What about fighting addiction? What about what’s best for the patient?  The crazy thing is…all of those things are a hot topic within our Medicare programs, VA and government right now.  Man we sure do dumb stuff.

We are in great hands.  My loved one will get what is needed.  I’ll file for and an exception with the insurance company and do whatever I need to do to ensure he gets what is needed.  But  I shouldn’t have to battle.  What about the ones who can’t or don’t know better?  This whole thing is just dumb.

Does anyone else see the craziness?

Kandy

Check out these links to learn more:

Pharmacogenetics and medications

How a vitamin cured my anxiety

MTHFR Genetic Defect

Holy MTHFR

MTHFR – fresh idea mama

mthfr.net

Deplin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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