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Before we try to understand a life-changing law that basically affects every insured or uninsured American citizen, let us first discuss in summary a major mistake with our healthcare system – surprise medical bills.

The Healthcare System Problem in a Nutshell

Both patients and healthcare providers have become outright victims of this broken system. When a corporate health system starts to charge more for the same services offered, it jumpstarts a spiraling abyss of consequences that gets worse as time goes by.

Patients bear the brunt of a flawed system. The burden of waiting for weeks for a doctor’s appointment is followed by another burden of waiting for minutes to hours in the waiting room. Entry to the clinic does not guarantee a productive visit because, like patient A, patient B is waiting outside which imposes a huge pressure on the healthcare provider to speed up his electronic medical records and everything. Follow-up questions will have to wait for the next follow-up visit and the cycle repeats itself.

Even with great insurance, surprise medical bills loom over every patient because of the specificity of getting services limited only within the “network”. What happens during emergencies remains to be seen – and it is during these times of uncertainty and anxiety that patients are forced to make decisions without thinking twice about them. 

With these in mind, quality compassionate empathetic healthcare becomes more expensive. Average clinic visits last for only 12 minutes – add in a cranky healthcare provider plus a weary patient in the picture, and the whole clinic visit becomes a disaster rather than establishing a pleasant and productive clinic visit.
Studies have shown that limited patient interaction is one of the strongest factors influencing the clinician burnout epidemic. In effect, most clinicians practice medicine because of their innate ability and yearning to help people. Limiting this interaction fuels dissatisfaction not just on the patient’s end but on the healthcare provider’s end as well.

Direct primary care helps you take care of your health and that of your family’s health.

Surprise Medical Bills

Unexpected bills can drain the life of any individual. But realize how much damage it can caus if it’s a medical bill draining what is left of a patient suffering from a chronic illness.

Surprise medical bills are unexpected medical bills that happen when one is given treatment outside the specific network or their medical plan. The element of surprise sets in when the patient has no idea that the healthcare provider or the service is not within the specified plan until the final medical bill is given. It is otherwise referred to as “balance billing”.

Without a bill safeguarding patients against surprise medical bills, insurance companies will continue to fool Americans into believing they have good health insurance. And that their insurance is enough to cover everything just in case something happens. After all, that is what insurance is for, right? You give up a small amount of money for the security of having someone to cover up for you in case something catastrophic occurs.

Prevent emergencies and learn about taking care of yourself the best way you can. You’ve worked hard – and you deserve that DPC enrollment!

Getting to Know the No Surprises Act

Fret no more – one can finally be independent of the burden of surprise medical bills! Finally, a law that demands to prioritize patients over profits is now in effect and has been since January 01, 2022. This protects patients from the most common types of surprise medical bills. Here are the fast facts about the No Surprises Act:

  1. Surprise bills for most emergency services are no longer allowed, even if they are obtained out of your insurance network and without prior approval.
  1. Cost-sharing in the form of payments or out-of-network coinsurance is no longer allowed for most emergency and some non-emergency services.
  1. Charging out-of-network dues and balance bills for certain additional services furnished by out-of-network providers as part of a patient’s visit to an in-network facility is no longer allowed. These extra surprise billings usually happen for services under anesthesiology or radiology.
  1. Healthcare providers and facilities are now required to give their clients an easy-to-understand notice. The notice is expected to elaborate on applicable billing protections, including which person to contact regarding concerns about possible violations committed by the provider. 
  1.  Patient consent is now a requirement prior to waiving billing protections.
  1. The estimate of a medical bill given to a patient who does not have any insurance should be truthful and done in good faith (thus the term “good faith estimate”). If final charges are at least 400 USD than the given estimate, the patient has the right to dispute the claim within 120 days from receiving the bill.
  1. The good faith estimate includes the charges for the following:
  1. Your healthcare provider should give you your good faith estimate after you schedule your appointment. If requested for an appointment 3 business days before the date you are supposed to get the item or service, your healthcare provider is obliged to give you your good faith estimate no later than 1 business day after scheduling. If you requested an appointment 10 business days prior, your healthcare provider is obliged to hand over your good faith estimate no later than 3 business days after scheduling.
  1. Some good faith estimates for surgical procedures may not be all-inclusive, as some other procedures may be scheduled separately. For example, a good faith estimate for a surgery done by an orthopedic surgeon will be separate from the good faith estimate for physical therapy that commences after the surgical procedure. 

Eliminate surprises by monitoring your health regularly.

No Surprises Act and the Direct Primary Care Model – A Promising Work in Progress

Although the bill, No Surprises Act, has already been in effect since January 01, 2022, it remains to be seen how it will affect both patients and healthcare providers in the long run. 

However, this bill coupled with having a direct primary healthcare provider seems to be a promising work in progress. 

The No Surprises Act takes care of all the excess baggage that might come in when out-of-network referrals happen. 

And the direct primary care provider solves the rest. This is because the direct primary care model answers flaws related to health provider accessibility, productive healthcare provider and patient interactions, healthcare provider burnout, and over-coverage done by insurance companies. 

The patient enjoys immediate, high quality and comprehensive health services for an affordable fee (otherwise known as the membership fee). Worth noting: telemedicine has gone a long way in helping patients maximize their direct primary care membership further. For example - mothers no longer have to endure long waiting room visits just to get a remedy for a child who just had a fever. As a result, everything becomes timely – the immediate remedy needed, health teachings, laboratory requests (if needed), and prescription.

Happy patients make happy clinicians as well! The healthcare provider enjoys the bliss of having continuity of care towards patients under her services, with no institutions, no insurance, and no middlemen to add to the already existing problems related to the patient’s health and wellbeing.

With the No Surprises Act and direct primary care model, we get to have a promising future in healthcare. Schedule an appointment with us to get to know more about the best direct primary care provider in ABQ!

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. You pay a flat rate of $75 per employee per month. Family healthcare costs in Albuquerque can be as low as $30 a month. But it’s not traditional health insurance!

Direct primary care (DPC) is a healthcare model different from traditional health insurance. It covers all family members as long as they belong to the same household. This includes lawful or cohabiting partners, kids, and others unrelated by blood. 

Find out the costs of healthcare insurance versus DPC. And see what’s in store for your employees’ families based on the rates.

What Is The Average Family Healthcare Costs In Albuquerque?

Can you and your employees afford to pay for health insurance? What about additional family members? Big and small businesses struggle with fitting insurance plans to their budgets. 

Employers select from metal tiers with different monthly rates or premiums. These tiers range from about $300 to $700.

Employers can also select from different types of insurance plans. The monthly rate is between $450 to $500.

The following sections show how much you need to pay for your employees and their families.

Looking for affordable healthcare benefits for your employees?

How Much Is Health Insurance Per Month For A Single Person?

The costs dramatically vary, depending on factors like location and healthcare needs. However, these figures closely relate to each other. To give you an idea, here are some estimates from 2020 to 2022.

For example, experts say the average national health insurance cost for a person was about $450 per month in 2020. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports individual insurance costs at $7,739 as of 2021.

New Mexico ranks fourth among all states regarding rising healthcare costs. A 2021 survey shows the monthly rate jumped from $409 in 2021 to $480 in 2022. However, there are insurance plans by metal tier as low as about $250 for the younger age group.

How Much Is Insurance For A Family Healthcare Costs In Albuquerque?

Similar to a single person, the family healthcare cost in Albuquerque varies. It depends on a few factors, too.

For example, experts say a family's average national health insurance cost was about $1,150 per month in 2020. But it has since increased. According to KFF, Americans paid around $22,221 for a family in 2021.

How Many Americans Lack Adequate Health Insurance?

According to a Forbes article, about 8% of Americans don’t have health insurance. About 55% have insurance shouldered by employers. At the same time, 20% receive it from Medicare or Medicaid.

Big businesses provide insurance coverage for their employees. But some small businesses can’t give the same coverage due to budget constraints. 

Small business employers find other ways to help their employees with their healthcare. For example, they pay for direct primary care with a fixed monthly fee instead of insurance.

Let’s help you choose a DPC provider for your employees and their families.

What Is the Difference Between Traditional Insurance vs. Other Healthcare Providers?

Health insurance works great for both employees and their families. But other healthcare benefits, like DPC, can also provide basic healthcare services. 

DPC doesn’t compete with or intend to replace your existing health insurance. Instead, it works in conjunction with health insurance. However, DPC can also be an independent health benefit for your employees.

Family healthcare costs in Albuquerque cover two or more members with a fixed sum. Some health insurance companies require legitimate family members only. They may provide the following coverage:

In contrast, DPC services may have their limitations. For instance, it doesn’t cover major surgeries, hospital stays, and catastrophic health problems. 

DPC, though, provides services not typically offered by health insurance companies. On top of the usual health care, it includes:

How Can You Curb Family Healthcare Costs In Albuquerque?

CNBC news reported that healthcare costs are rising in the US more than in any other country. This situation affects all Americans regardless of state but in varying degrees. 

According to KFF, 44% of insured American adults worry about their deductibles. Yet, at the same time, about 30% worry if they can afford their health insurance at all. 

At the same time, it includes uninsured American adults with low incomes. They either delay or forgo seeking healthcare because they find it expensive. 

The consequences can lead to more health problems for the individuals and their families. Here are some ways to help your employees cope with healthcare costs.

Choose The Right Healthcare Benefit

It’s good for your business if you have an existing healthcare benefit. However, there are ways of choosing one if you’re looking for more affordable options. 

There are many healthcare providers driving family healthcare costs in Albuquerque. You can consider the location, facility, and staff. Most importantly, check out the healthcare services to meet the specific needs of your employees.

Preventive medicine and chronic disease management are two of the most critical services. It helps in the early detection of disease, which can benefit your employees’ family members with chronic illnesses. In addition, they are monitored to prevent their condition from progressing.

Promote Health For Your Employees Families

A healthy workforce means a healthy business—reduced absenteeism from sickness results in better productivity. Family members also need to stay healthy. A sick family causes worry to your employees, and it adds to healthcare costs. Thus, it is crucial to what you can do to prevent chronic diseases.

For example, some employers promote healthy eating habits and exercise breaks. On the other hand, other employers provide health awareness programs for quitting smoking and weight management. These healthy habits apply to your employees’ families, too.

Discover here how telemedicine helps your employees and their families.

Suggest Telemedicine

Not all health insurance providers offer 24/7 telemedicine or virtual consults. However, if your employees or their families feel unwell, telemedicine is an accessible and convenient option. 

They don’t have to travel to a clinic and wait in line for a consultation. It lessens their risks of catching infections if they go to the ER or clinic. Moreover, it saves your employees and their families effort, time, and money. 
For example, a 2021 systematic study reveals the benefit of telehealth. The researchers said it could be as effective as a face-to-face encounter for psychotherapy or family therapy.

Provide A List Of Pharmacies

The family healthcare costs in Albuquerque include medicine, which continues to rise. It would help your employees greatly if you could list drug stores offering discounted medications. Check out promotions offered by these drugstores and spread the word to your employees.

Some medical practitioners under a healthcare insurance network prescribe branded medicines. However, there are generic counterparts with the same ingredients at a lower price. Medical practitioners may allow their employees and families to switch from branded to generic drugs.

Bottomline 

Insurance companies have add-on rates for family coverage. Family healthcare costs in Albuquerque vary depending on the kind of insurance plan. They offer many services, but some do not provide telemedicine, specialists, and discounted labs or medicines. 

It’s best to check the different insurance companies if you are scouting for a healthcare benefit for your employees and their families. DPC can be an option. 

Unlike healthcare insurance, DPC has no deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket costs. It can complement your existing health insurance or stand alone as a healthcare benefit for your employees and their families.

Affordable healthcare is one click away. Get your FREE assessment now.

Well Life ABQ is hosting an open discussion on Affordable Healthcare Benefits for Employees! View Event

(Albuquerque) – Well Life ABQ is excited to gather leaders together to discuss effective solutions for providing AFFORDABLE healthcare to employees in the CURRENT system.

Healthcare need not be expensive. What are the healthcare benefits options? And where can you find affordable quality healthcare in Albuquerque? 

There are many problems plaguing the healthcare system. First, a challenge includes focusing on prevention instead of individualized care. Traditional healthcare providers promote prevention, but every person’s health status is unique. Second, the costs of prescription drugs continue to hurt the budget of both employers and employees. 

There are other factors to consider besides healthcare system problems. Choosing a healthcare plan can also be a challenge. There are a lot of healthcare plans offering various services. The four essential elements are catastrophic health insurance, third-party administrator (TPA) process claims, access to services, and procedures.

First, catastrophic health insurance is under the Affordable Care Act. It’s medical coverage for people under 30 years who are financially challenged. However, it has limited routine care services but high deductibles.

Second, TPA provides administrative services. They offer health insurance claims processing and settlement on behalf of insurance companies. It includes taking care of hospital admission payments and other expenses. However, TPAs can drain the budget as their service costs skyrocket. Additionally, older and high-risk employees can become problematic.

Third, access to services in a traditional healthcare plan includes emergency room visits. However, this instance is still an out-of-pocket expense and subject to reimbursement. Moreover, traditional healthcare may have an additional cost for other venues of healthcare services other than ER visits. A 24/7 telemedicine and virtual consultation may not be included.

Fourth, diagnostics, labs, and surgeries are equally vital. Traditional healthcare demands extra payment for lab tests. Other medical procedures that need additional charges include off-label drugs, elective surgery, cosmetic procedures, and the latest medical devices or technologies.

So, what gives? 

A DPC provider gets to know you better to suggest appropriate healthcare for you. It offers more than individualized care. It obtains the medications directly from a drug manufacturer. Less cost on buying means less cost when selling. A DPC offers low-cost medications. 

You save money on discounted medicines and procedures too. It includes laboratory tests and referrals to in-house specialists. 

And what about the other nuances? Learn how DPC benefits employers and employees! Join us in our discussion at Jimmy’s Café in Jefferson on May 24, 8:15 AM.

abqbizhealthseminar info

The rise of nutrition drinks, teas, shakes, bars, and supplements are here at ABQ. And they are unstoppable! 

We see ads for specific products claiming to be beneficial for overall mental health and cancer prevention. But how sure are we that these really are?

With this in mind, we need to check from time to time and ask ourselves: what should we look for in these products to ensure that we are on the right track? 

Here are answers to common questions related to nutrition that might have, in one way or another, crossed your mind. Let us discuss nutrition labels, drinks, bars, and how nutrition can affect a person’s mental health and her fight against certain cancers. 

Nutrition Labels – Are They Accurate?

Nutrition labels are mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in accordance with the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) of 1990. Nutrition labels are designed to give clear and transparent information about the specific nutrients present in a certain food. It is given via a standardized format which includes product-specific information such as serving size, calories, and nutrient information.

Now the question is, are these nutrition labels accurate? Unfortunately, these labels are not true half of the time. 

Truth is that the law allows a relatively large margin of error (up to 20%) between the stated value and the actual value of nutrients. Imagine thinking that you are having a 100-calorie salad, but you are actually getting a 120-calorie vegan fix. Or if you view it on a larger scale, imagine thinking that you are having a 1000-calorie diet for the day, but you pretty much ate food equivalent to 1200 calories!

It may not sound so significant for healthy individuals, but for people on a strict diet because of medical disorders, this 20% is a major disruption for one’s diet specifications. This is bad news, especially for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease.

According to a 2008 report conducted by the Government Accountability Office on 300 randomly audited Nutrition Facts labels, values for roughly 90% of the labels fall within the acceptable 20%. It was also found out further that the problematic nutrients were Vitamin A and iron. About a third of the labels were reported to be “unacceptably inaccurate” with respect to iron content.

Although it is tempting to ignore nutrition labels, a study in 2010 focused on people trying to lose weight has shown that these labels do matter. Awareness of nutritional content somehow influences a person’s eating behavior in a positive manner. But then, knowing how flawed and erroneous these labels can be, nothing can go wrong if one chooses to go back to the basics – eating minimally processed, whole, and unpackaged food.

By 2016, these nutrition labels were updated to specifically include updated information regarding the connection between diet and chronic lifestyle diseases. This was done to help consumers become well informed about their food choices. Among the best things about the new format are the following: 

  1. It sees to it that the percent Daily Value is explained well at the footnote;
  2. More visible font size for “Calories”, “servings per container,” and “Serving size”;
  3. Declaration of the actual amount (in addition to percent Daily Value) of very important vitamins and minerals specifically vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium; 
  4. Declaration of “Added sugars,” in grams and as percent Daily Value; and
  5. Daily values for specific nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D were updated based on recent research and scientific data.

Nutrition Shakes and Teas – Are They Healthy?

We see it almost everywhere - not just in ABQ, but all over the globe! Nutritional beverages all claiming they have what every person needs to recharge – promising faster metabolism, detoxification, and an energy boost. 

First, let us look at the major components of these nutrition shakes and teas. Most of these drinks claim to be low-calorie, but do these beverages appear to be what they are hyped to be?

Most nutritionists say that these nutrition shakes and teas – coming in bright hues that could almost convince everyone to give it a try – have a rather high unregulated dose of caffeine coupled with supplements.

That makes it very much like your ordinary energy drink.

Social media has created the hype that made these shakes and teas the “it” thing nowadays. Unfortunately, however, most of these beverages do not have studies to back up their claims on metabolism, detoxification, and energy boosts. 

Add to that, these beverages are not obliged to disclose all ingredients. The components and supplements are not regulated by the FDA, hence, there is no absolute and reliable way to be sure that they contain what they claim to have. 

One sure thing common among these beverages is their high dose of caffeine. This apparently explains the “kick” that most of these shakes and teas do to consumers.

However, very high doses of caffeine can be detrimental to one’s health. It doesn’t have to be blatantly obvious: caffeine can be incorporated in the drinks through the inclusion of plant-based sources such as guarana, green tea, or black tea. For instance, since green tea is known for its health benefits, it can serve as the perfect coverup for outrageously high caffeine concentrations. 

Sad to say, there is no regulation whatsoever regarding the dose and labeling of these beverages.

Most nutritional teas and shakes claim to be “nutritious” because of an overload of B vitamins. True enough, your B vitamins contribute highly to energy boosts. 

The thing is B vitamins should also be taken moderately to avoid side effects which include nausea and a rapid heart rate. Toxicity symptoms can occur anytime, and no one will take responsibility if something fatal happens.

What do we learn from this? There are no shortcuts towards achieving a healthier you. No nutritional shake or tea has ever come up with enough evidence that they can really help people boost their metabolism and perhaps aid in weight loss as well.

At the end of the day, a healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables, coupled with water for hydration, is still one’s best option for a reliable metabolic boost. Say no to purportedly quick fixes for your health and body!

Are nutrition bars indeed reliable to be nutritious?

Nowadays, it does seem that sitting down to carefully munch your lunch is already a luxury. With today’s people always on the go, one sometimes finds herself advised by her health provider to take nutrition bars to make up for lost nutrients and calories.

The thing to remember is: these nutrition bars are not made equal! Though it comes conveniently like a wrapped candy that you can just put away in your purse to munch on any time, it comes in different forms to suit different needs. 

It may be nutritious, but you can’t just shove every little nutrient into one small, tiny bar. Hence, there are high-carbohydrate bars, protein bars, energy bars, meal-replacement bars, etc. 

The danger comes in when you choose the bar that is not suited for your specific need. You might be in for a little overkill. Plus, there are additional warnings: some of these bars just might contain a little too much sugar and fat. Dieticians recommend that these bars be used in moderation.

Another thing to remember: anything that provides calories, provides energy. Even if it’s just a banana, it can give you a boost the same way a chocolate bar gives you energy. 

Thus, although these nutrition bars come in handy, make sure you choose the bar that you need. And make sure you do not rely too heavily on them. These bars should never replace the need for whole, minimally processed foods on your diet. With nutrition bars gaining much popularity in ABQ, now you know the right thing to do!

CTA: Is your sugar and cholesterol within normal levels? Enroll in Direct Primary Care here at ABQ now to avoid wrong guesses! Click here to know more.

How Can Nutrition Affect Mental Health?

With ABQ serving as the medical hub of New Mexico, it is not far off that its constituents are aware enough to prioritize mental health and wellbeing. 

And with a lot of focus today on mental health, it is not far off that one should discuss the relationship of nutrition to one’s mental well-being. 

Mood disorders, anxiety, and depression are found to be linked to low levels of certain nutrients such as folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Decreased levels of B vitamins, specifically vitamins B6, B12, and low levels of vitamin D are also noted to affect mental well-being.

In 2013, a meta-analysis on 22 eligible studies indicated that high compliance to a Mediterranean diet resulted in a 32% lesser risk for depression. 

Another 2019 study conducted on 1128 adults aged 50 and above noted that a diet rich in sugar and saturated fat was associated with high anxiety levels. 

In 2019, a systematic review of 56 studies conducted on adolescents revealed an inverse association between the consumption of healthy foods and the risk of depression. Specifically, these foods include olive oil, fish, nuts, legumes, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. Moreover, it was also suggested to improve symptoms.

This just goes to show that eating healthy food is like giving your brain the best fuel for it to work harmoniously. The human body’s digestive system contains millions of good bacteria that ultimately influence neurotransmitter production. These neurotransmitters are responsible for brain function.

Eating junk food, fatty food, and processed food somehow disrupts the digestive tract’s ecosystem and causes inflammation. Mood disorders begin when neurotransmission goes nuts. 

Can Nutrition Help Fight Cancer?

WIth cancer as the second leading cause of death in New Mexico, it is necessary to take all options available to decrease risk among the population. Despite the presence of an active and effective cancer coalition in ABQ, dealing with cancer remains to be an overwhelmingly difficult experience. 

It is vital to remember that although there seems to be a lot of genetic influence in cancer, environmental factors are thought to be linked to 80-90% of cancer cases.

Studies have shown that a healthy diet coupled with lifestyle changes can help prevent 30 to 40% of all cancers. There are specific foods that are associated with an increased risk for cancer. Thus, avoiding these foods will likely result in lower cancer risk.

Concentrated sugars and refined flour products contribute to cancer risk. This also includes low fiber intake, eating too much red meat, and having an imbalance in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. 

Do you know that processed meat is already identified as a carcinogen? The International Agency for Cancer Research has established this fact after 22 scientists from 10 different countries studied the carcinogenicity of processed meat. A carcinogen is a substance that causes cancer. Processed meat includes meat that underwent various procedures to preserve its flavor. Specific examples include hot dogs, bacon, ham, salami, and chorizo.

A review of multiple studies has established that people who are regularly eating processed meat have a 20 – 50% chance of developing colorectal cancer. 

Aside from processed meat, another culprit for developing cancer is overcooking food. Cooking food at high temperatures can result in the production of heterocyclic amines and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). These are harmful compounds that can cause inflammation and oxidative stress to the body.

Food high in fat and protein produce these harmful compounds when cooked through frying, sautéing, grilling, broiling, and barbequing. Gentler cooking methods are advised instead, such as steaming, boiling, or stewing.

Dairy consumption is also linked to cancer, particularly prostate cancer. A study involving 3918 men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that increased intake of dairy also increased the risk for cancer progression.

This just goes to show that less and imbalanced nutrition highly influences cancer risk. Proper nutrition is crucial to cancer prevention. 

Cancer cannot be prevented through a single superfood. Instead, cancer is prevented by loading up one’s daily diet with healthy food.

Several studies have established the effectiveness of certain food groups against cancer. This includes:

  1. Vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots)
  2. Fruits (e.g. citrus fruits)
  3. Spices (e.g. cinnamon and curcumin)
  4. Flaxseeds
  5. Nuts 
  6. Beans and legumes
  7. Olive oil
  8. Garlic 
  9. Fish
  10. High-quality dairy products which include raw milk and fermented milk products

The balance of proper nutrition is vital in preventing and fighting against cancer. People who were already diagnosed with cancer are encouraged to follow a balanced diet to help them have a better quality of life.

Takeaway

Nutrition is a very broad topic that covers a lot of questions. With more developments in research, it is normal to find ourselves troubled as to which supplement or product is the most reliable.
If we are aiming for controlled diets, we usually rely on nutrition labels to help us count calories and identify ingredients. It turns out, however, that these are not accurate most of the time.
Nutritional shakes and teas promise to contain a lot of nutrients and are highly effective in energy boosts. It seems however that these ads are misleading. If one decides to drink these, it will be at her own risk as these beverages are not regulated.
Nutrition bars may be one of the most convenient creations today, but they are not created equal. It is highly important to identify your specific need before deciding which nutrition bar will come in handy.
Nutrition highly affects how neurotransmitters function in our brain. Thus, proper nutrition is also key for better mental health.
There may be a lot of risk factors for cancer, but it can be prevented or delayed with the proper diet. It is also crucial for cancer patients to maintain a proper diet to have a better quality of life despite cancer treatments.

How to Make the Best Choices for Your Proper Nutrition infographic 1

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – What comes to mind when you hear “brain health?” Alzheimer’s may have crossed your mind. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurological disorder typically in older adults. Whether you are predisposed to have it or not, you may develop it someday.

The Alzheimer’s Association released a 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures special report. It projects that the number of New Mexicans with Alzheimer’s can balloon to 53,000 by 2025. It’s a 23.3% surge from 2020’s peak of 43,000 cases.

AD is just one of several neurological problems that affect its health. Though often interchanged with mental health, here’s how to discern one from another. And here’s how you can keep healthy in Albuquerque.

Importance of Brain Health

Brain health has no standard definition. But it is like a computer with billions of nerve cells. It’s your central processing unit that generates all commands for the different functions of your body. 

It triggers the following activities:

It is crucial for all these functions to work correctly. Thus, a study defines it as the “preservation of optimal integrity and mental and cognitive function at a given age in the absence of overt disease that affects normal function (Wang et al., 2020).”

Factors that affect its normal function include your risks, diet, and lifestyle. It goes through changes as we grow older. Aging increases the risk of developing problems.

Think of the human brain like a sponge. You absorb or gain information and experiences in your lifetime. However, the sponge gets “holey” or less absorbent as time passes. When this happens, you become forgetful. You may also find it hard to learn new things or become less mentally sharp. 

Another risk factor is family history. For instance, if someone's biological mother or father carries the genetic mutation, the child has a 50/50 chance of inheriting it (per the national institute of aging). Aging and genetic risks cannot be changed, but other factors can be managed. For example, diet and lifestyle play a role in maintaining a healthy brain.

Like AD, chronic diseases are prevalent in New Mexico. Learn more about Chronic Disease Management

Brain Health vs. Mental Health

Brain health is somewhat synonymous with mental health. The distinction between the two terms can be vague. For example, not all brain disorders are considered mental health issues. 

Brain disorders like AD, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease are neurological and not mental. It relates to the nerves or areas of the brain rather than the mind, mood, or thinking. In contrast, examples of mental health issues are depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or schizophrenia.

However, researchers continue to study mental health. As a result, they gradually understand the nature of mental illnesses to be similar to brain disorders. 

Moreover, there is growing advocacy to replace “mental health” with “brain health.” An example is the Brain Health Bootcamp, featured in a news article by the Yale School of Medicine. 

Co-founder of the Bootcamp, Bryce Bjork, said the change in terminology aims to remove the stigma on mental health and people with mental illnesses. Brain health also emphasizes mental illnesses as treatable conditions.

The two terms can be interchanged. But there are many brain and mental health conditions. Likewise, there are varied causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and medical interventions for each disease.

Mental health matters for everyone, especially employees.

Effects of Neurological Problems on Brain Health

Neurological problems cause brain dysfunction. They are classified into three types according to a study.

  1. Structural brain disorders are due to an injured brain structure. Examples are stroke, brain tumor, or sensory disturbances. 
  2. Functional brain disorders are caused by damage to brain connections. It includes AD, Parkinson’s Disease, or mental disorders. 
  3. It can also be neither structural nor functional brain disorders. Examples are sleep problems and migraines.

AD is a neurological disorder that negatively affects brain health and physical wellbeing. It’s also degenerative, which means your brain’s function declines. 

You can have trouble with cognitive functions such as:

Another example is mood disorders. These disorders can lead to difficulty in regulating emotions and processing rewards. Likewise, they can affect physical functions, balance, and gait.

These brain and mental disorders can impact the cognitive, physical, and social aspects of life. Thus, it is crucial to find the proper intervention before your condition worsens.

Does your brain hurt? Don’t let migraine affect your work.

How to Keep Your Brain Healthy 

Now is the time to start caring for your brain health regardless of your age or current condition. There are three ways to have a healthy brain without medical intervention. Diet, lifestyle, and supplements boost your brain and improve your physical well-being. 

  1. Diet

There are many foods you can add to your diet. For example, fatty fish is an excellent source of Omega-3. Researchers found that Omega-3 plays a role in fighting inflammation that causes heart and brain diseases. In addition, a more recent study shows that eating fish improves mental functions even among healthy people.

Numerous studies reveal nuts, berries, dark chocolate, and coffee contribute to brain health. According to experts dark roasted coffee has the strongest effect on the brain whether regular or decaf. But that decaf is the type found to protect neurons.

In addition, some medical practitioners recommend the Mediterranean diet. It’s composed of seafood, whole wheat, grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

While brain-healthy foods are abundant, there are also foods to avoid. For one, sugar is a culprit to many several diseases. It needs glucose to function. But too much sugar has been linked to memory problems. It also causes the brain to shrink, which leads to cognitive impairments, like dementia and AD.

  1. Lifestyle

“A sound mind in a sound body” or exercise benefits your body. Based on a study, physical activity improves mental abilities, learning, memory, and general wellbeing. Therefore, it’s highly recommended as a therapy for all ages.

At the same time, staying mentally active helps it to function properly. Examples of mental workouts are crossword puzzles and number games.

Sleep is another critical activity. Not getting enough of it can make it function slower. It also shortens your attention span and makes you cranky.

On the other hand, experts say about 7-8 hours of sleep boosts energy for the parts of the brain. Sleep restores neural cells and removes toxins you were exposed to during the day.

Part of lifestyle change is avoiding activities that damage it. For example, you may want to cut back on alcohol. Studies show it contributes to shrinking of the lobes of the brain more than non-alcohol drinkers. Heavy and chronic drinking also causes memory and learning problems.

  1. Supplements

A medical practitioner usually recommends vitamins for health only if you are vitamin deficient and at risk for AD. Vitamin B has been known to improve mental functions like focus and memory. But more studies have yet to validate this claim.

At the same time, Vitamin E protects neuro-cells from further damage. Unfortunately, a study shows it does not prevent AD or improve cognitive function. Vitamin E, though, may slow down the functional decline of AD without serious side effects.

Many over-the-counter supplements should be taken with caution. For instance, overdosage of Vitamin E has been linked to severe side effects such as bleeding in the brain. So it’s best to seek medical advice before taking any supplements for its health.

Where to Seek Help In Albuquerque

Alzheimer's Disease is one of its varied disorders. Aging, environment, genetics, and lifestyle contribute to its development. You can’t change your genes, but you can control factors to lessen your risks. Diet, lifestyle, and supplements are three practical ways to keep your brain healthy.

If you think you are at risk of AD or have cognitive difficulties, seek help immediately. A Direct Primary Care Provider, Well Life Family Practice, offers nutrition, lifestyle, and supplement counseling to keep your brain healthy.

Don’t have a DPC health benefit yet? We provide nutrition, lifestyle, and supplement

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– Do you have health insurance for your employees? If not, are you planning to get one? 

Employers offer various employee health benefit plans through a health maintenance organization (HMO), exclusive provider organization (EPO), point-of-service (POS), and preferred provider organization (PPO). 

Some employers also consider indemnity plans, health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA), Individual coverage HRA (ICHRA), and group coverage HRA (GCHRA).

These third-party organizations provide small business health insurance plans as well as for large organizations But there’s also direct primary care (DPC). It’s an innovative alternative for your employees’ health insurance plan. 

Compared to health insurance, DPC, like Well Life Family Practice, is less expensive.

Focus: Patient-Centered Vs. Production-Oriented

DPC’s distinct feature is its patient-centered focus. DPC practitioners aren’t concerned with the number of clients they need to attend to every day. Instead, they emphasize the quality of care they give to each client. 

DPC practitioners treat your employees as individuals with unique needs, unlike practitioners under a health insurance plan. The latter treats your employees like generic products in an assembly line. It's because medical service reimbursements are based on the number of clients.

Quality of Care: Personal Vs. Impersonal

DPC has a smaller patient panel of 898 clients. In contrast, practitioners under a health insurance plan receive about 2,303 clients in their panel. 

It means your employees spend more time with a DPC practitioner. They get full and undivided attention for about 40 minutes. They discuss their medical concerns in great detail which creates more personalized or customized care.

Find out why you should choose direct primary care over insurance-based care.

Kind of Care: Preventive Vs. Reactive

DPC offers more than acute care. It promotes a healthy lifestyle through disease prevention. According to the British Medical Journal report, DPC clients experienced 65% fewer ER visits, 35% fewer admissions, and 82% fewer surgeries.

DPC offers more than acute care. It promotes a healthy lifestyle through disease prevention. According to the British Medical Journal report, DPC clients experienced 65% fewer ER visits, 35% fewer admissions, and 82% fewer surgeries.

Practitioners under health insurance usually only see employees for emergencies. Additionally, they often overbook appointments to break even with only 10 minutes of a face-to-face encounter with each client. Thus, they rarely have time to discuss disease prevention due to larger patient panels. Added to this time constraint is insurance billing paperwork.

Continuity of Care: Long-term Vs. Short-term

DPC provides long-term care. Well Life Family Practice clinicians prescribe medical interventions for your employees. When your employees return for follow-ups or other medical concerns, they see the same clinician. So there’s continuity of care.

Health insurance allows your employees to be assessed by different practitioners depending on their conditions. For example, a practitioner attends to your employee in urgent care for a gout attack, like excruciating joint pain, in the ER. But another practitioner gives recommendations to the same employee for joint deformities during a scheduled check-up. It’s short-term fragmented care.

Convenience: Convenient Vs. Inconvenient

DPC practitioners give timely care whenever your employees need it. For example, your employees can book an appointment through a call. Then, they visit the clinic the following day without waiting in line for a long time. 

In comparison to insurance-based practitioners, your employees book an appointment at least a week before they can visit a clinic. Additionally, they must wait in line due to many clients scheduled on the same day. Most often, these practitioners offer face-to-face consultations during work hours only.

Do you still have questions about DPC? Here are the 10 myths to enlighten you.

Accessibility: Accessible Vs. Inaccessible

Your employees can opt in for virtual consultations or 24/7 telemedicine. It saves them effort and time going to and from the clinic. It also prevents your employees from ER visits for urgent care. 

As a result, it doesn’t affect their productivity at work and saves on travel and ER expenses. Unfortunately, these remote electronic services are not readily available under a health insurance plan. 

Involvement: Third-party Interference Vs. Autonomy

Third parties like health insurance companies and government agencies have no direct control over DPC providers. They cannot dictate or modify the services offered by DPC providers. 

DPC providers think about your employees' best interests and not the interest of third parties. Third parties often interfere with the care offered by practitioners under a health insurance plan. They mind the cost of services, whether included within the coverage or not. 

Costs: Transparent Vs. Hidden

Your business doesn’t have to be covered by insurance to benefit from DPC services. DPC is a separate healthcare provider that offers several services.

DPC’s monthly fee per employee is fixed. It has no co-pays, deductibles, mark-ups, or hidden charges. For example, Well Life Family Practice pegs the fee at $75 per month per employee.

In contrast, health insurance companies do not publish charges outright. It boils down to how the third-party payer (insurance) system works. Your employees only get to see the cost of the medical service when they receive the bill. Additionally, this also means huge out-of-pocket cash expenses.

Surprise medical bills could drain your budget. What has been done to curtail it?

Other Healthcare Services: Many Vs. Limited

Specialist

Your employees may be suffering from complicated medical conditions. A DPC provider refers your employees to an in-house specialist in cases like this. However, there’s still continuity of care even if a specialist sees your employees. 

The DPC provider coordinates with the specialist on your employees’ case. In comparison, a health insurance plan typically covers your employees’ basic healthcare costs. A specialist is an add-on expense.

Preventive Care and Chronic Disease Management

The top chronic diseases prevalent in Bernalillo are asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. DPC offers chronic disease management for your employees who may be suffering from any of these conditions. 

They benefit from unlimited consultations to control their symptoms so their conditions won’t worsen. DPC also caters to your healthy employees. As a result, they gain information based on chronic diseases prevention. These preventive services consist of screening and labs.

Not all health insurance plans cover preventive care and chronic disease management. Most private health insurance companies cover only short-term medical care for acute conditions. 

Some of them may offer screenings and diagnostic tests as add-ons. It’s best to inquire about health insurance organizations in Albuquerque if they include preventive care as an essential benefit.

Nutrition Counseling and Weight Loss Management

The Bernalillo County Community Health Profile includes obesity as one of the prevalent chronic conditions. Therefore, DPC offers nutrition counseling and weight loss management. These services help mitigate obesity, which increases the risk of developing other chronic conditions.

The Affordable Care Act requires most health insurers to cover overweight screening and dietary counseling. This stresses the importance of looking into health insurance plans for these specific services.

Integrative Medicine

Some DPC providers may apply an integrative medicine approach. For example, Well Life Family Practice combines conventional and alternative therapies in addressing various medical conditions.

Some insurers may cover chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, or massage. But many health insurance companies in Albuquerque do not cover holistic medicine and complementary or alternative therapies.

Listen to the TRUTH about prescription costs or how to get DISCOUNTED meds.

Perks: Discounts Vs. None

The cost of medications is skyrocketing based on RAND Corporation, a research organization. They reported that US drug prices were 256% higher than 32 other nations combined. 

The great news is DPC providers can offer discounted medicines at wholesale cost. But wait, there’s more. It also includes discounted diagnostics and lab works of up to 50%.

Health insurance companies in Albuquerque charge extra fees for these services. Prescription medications are at full prices, too.

Takeaway

Employers are finding cost-efficient ways to provide health benefits for their employees. For example, many health insurance companies in ABQ offer various packages depending on your employees’ needs within your budget.

You may have existing health insurance or consider an alternative healthcare provider at less cost. We have shown you the 10 differences between direct primary care vs. insurance. As you have read, DPC has its advantages over a health insurance plan.

DPC can be a viable option or complement your existing health insurance. It offers more services at a fixed and affordable rate. Moreover, a combination of both can be less expensive than a full-coverage health insurance plan.

Schedule a FREE business review today.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The answer for affordable and ideal employee healthcare remains a mystery for most employers. Primary care, the main building block in any healthcare system, faces many challenges. These challenges include clinician burnout and providing quality care at a lower cost. Low compensations for primary care providers also remain a reason for clinician shortage. 

Putting together high-quality health services for a lower and affordable cost is as difficult as it gets, for example, getting health insurance for employees small business

Direct primary care (DPC) faces these challenges head-on. Direct primary care came up with solutions to achieve balance. Now everyone can choose to enjoy quality health services for less.

Here’s a glimpse of how the DPC does it. Clinician burnout and low pay? DPC responds by engaging more clinicians and providers. Moreover,  DPC decreases the number of patients or lowers the patient panel. Fewer patients mean less administrative work and thus shorter work hours. Thus, fewer chances for primary care provider shortage.

Direct primary care attempts to give solutions. These solutions result in happy doctors and happy patients. A harmonious patient-doctor relationship is of utmost importance for better health outcomes.

What Is Direct Primary Care for Employee Healthcare

Direct primary care is a novel and evolving approach towards helping employers and the working population get high-quality health services at an affordable cost. It has the following features:

  1. A membership fee. It is usually in the form of a fixed premium recurring monthly which covers most or all primary-care related services offered. This monthly fee ranges from 40 to 80 USD per person.
  2. Smaller patient panels. Patients usually range from 200 to 600 people per direct primary care clinic. In this manner, patients are sure to have access to the services that they need.
  3. Patients are not charged with out-of-pocket amounts beyond the set retainer’s fee.
  4. Third-party providers are not billed based on a fee-for-service model for the services rendered.
  5. Direct primary care providers contract with patients and/or employers. No other person or institution is included.
  6. Patients have better access to their primary care providers because of the smaller number of patient panels.
  7. Patients get to have longer and more meaningful time spent at the clinic. This enables the primary care provider to efficiently diagnose and address the patient’s needs.

Direct primary care became the answer to solve the crisis of the heavily burdened healthcare system. The current system struggles with poor patient-doctor relationships secondary to a large number of patients under the care of the traditioimary care clinic. 

The current system also grapples with clinician burnout. The low compensation of primary care providers is a probable contributor. Administrative burden further leading to longer work hours is also a huge factor. This is especially because it may no longer be reimbursable.

Moreover, the current healthcare system suffers from a shortage of primary care providers because more medical students are no longer encouraged to practice medicine. Low pay rates and the tiresome administrative burden are often cited as the primary reasons. The shortage of primary care providers will lead to more burnout and thus, poor patient care.

How Much Does Primary Care Cost?

Direct primary care gives the right value for one’s hard-earned money by providing the best services at a given premium. According to a survey, these are the usual premiums per age group:

The worth of direct primary care is not always attached to its affordable price tag. DPC prides itself in a better healthy patient-doctor relationship which is not a feature of traditional primary care. 

A healthy patient-doctor relationship is one of the best facets of direct primary care. This type of relationship results in better patient compliance and proactivity in terms of health and wellbeing.

For instance, direct primary care providers spend quality time with their patients in 40 minutes on average. This contrasts with the average clinic visit which takes only about 15 minutes per patient. This alone is already a huge difference that can have a positive impact on the overall wellness of an individual, and how they will continue to take care of it. A productive clinic visit can result in  accurate laboratory workup, right diagnosis, and right medications. This alone enables the end-user to enjoy savings from unnecessary lab workups and medications.

Annual check-ups, lab visits, and even home visits further solidify doctor-patient interaction. This results further in better compliance with medications and overall therapy. Direct primary care encourages the right way to practice preventive medicine. 

Including preventive medicine in a healthcare package begets healthier patients, healthier employees, better employers, and thus, a better economy. In direct primary care, primary care is being packaged and distributed directly to employers and consumers by the direct primary care clinic themselves. And that includes preventive medicine.

Another highlight: For a fixed and affordable premium, there is an available basic illness management which covers both acute and chronic conditions. Even if the patient needs to visit another clinician from a specific specialty, he does not go out of the clinic empty-handed. Because of his membership, initial management is carried out along with care coordination.

And not just that – interfacility coordination is part of the package. Does one know how much an interhospital referral costs? Referrals are usually where surprise medical bills happen. It is very vital to include the costs that come with care coordination, and that is one of the things that direct primary care proudly brings to the table. Direct primary care creates a network of services covering multiple specialties, and seamlessly coordinates the patient from one specialty to another without additional hidden costs. 

All these, for the price of one fixed premium, recurring monthly. Talk about convenience!

Is Direct Primary Care Worth It?

Aside from monetary gain in the form of savings, direct primary care gives both the provider and the patient a satisfying experience. It is not just important to excel in terms of patient satisfaction – a happy and content doctor on board is also paramount for overall patient welfare.

With limited patient panels, clinicians are no longer overworked yet underpaid. Burnout rates go lower, and thus, the quality of primary care services rendered will be at the optimum. Clinicians value their rapport with their patients as this is key to the right diagnosis, treatment and management, and follow-up. Thus, clinicians who have been complaining about spending hours doing paperwork will no longer see this as an issue. Rest assured that inside the clinic, your doctor has their full attention on you and your condition!

A survey on clinicians engaged in direct primary care gave the following findings:

  1. Better overall (personal and professional) satisfaction
  2. Better ability in the practice of medicine
  3. Better quality of primary care
  4. Better relationships with primary care patients
  5. Lesser amount of time spent on paperwork
  6. Lesser amount of time spent at the office.

On another note, a survey conducted on physicians engaged in direct primary care clinics noted the following from their patients:

  1. Ease in terms of scheduling appointments with their direct primary care provider. The majority of patients report that they can schedule an appointment with their direct primary care provider within the day. Waiting time was equivalent to four minutes in the office for scheduled appointments to commence. After that, patients were noted to spend approximately 38 minutes with their direct primary care provider inside the clinic. 
  2. Ability of patients to access their electronic health records from their direct primary care provider through a patient portal. This innovation makes everything more convenient. This includes the ability to sign up and manage their enrollments online through their direct primary care provider’s website.
  3. Majority of the respondents expected the direct primary care model to improve patient satisfaction. It encouraged patients to independently, through their direct primary care provider, obtain necessary but nonprimary care services. In the process, patients enjoy lower to no out-of-pocket costs. Among the direct primary care program's consequences is increased patient compliance in terms of preventive care.

Takeaway

It is no longer a question of whether direct primary care is worth a consideration for everyone. It is clear that DPC directly solves issues pertaining to affordable, yet high-quality healthcare services coupled with improved patient and provider experience.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Employees may develop chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. When left unmanaged, these conditions are among the top leading causes of death in New Mexico and the US. Chronic health issues and their complications also reduce employee productivity…not to mention time lost from going to the doctor. 

A direct primary care (DPC) provider offers accessible healthcare. It benefits your employees in many ways:

Why Is Accessible Healthcare Important?

Well Life Family Practice, a DPC provider, offers accessible healthcare. It is timely and leads to the best health outcomes. Your employees get the proper healthcare, where and when they need it. Our qualified and competent staff provide healthcare services at their call.

These employee services are included in a flat monthly membership fee:

Same-day/next-day appointments are always available to your employees 

There may be times when your employees have an urgent or semi-urgent healthcare need. 

Unfortunately, your employees are forced into high-cost urgent care or emergency rooms in the current healthcare system. With the Well Life Primary Care Program, your employees can skip the high costs, long wait times, and disjointed care. They can be seen by their very own primary care provider. 

As a result, they get seen promptly and get back to work feeling better and ready to work. 

Virtual consultation 

There may be times, though, that your employees can’t visit our clinic. In this case, they can schedule a virtual consultation with us. 

Is the quality of care comparable to face-to-face clinic visits? There are upsides and downsides to telemedicine, based on two 2021 studies.

A study led by the University of Cambridge shows the benefits and risks of telemedicine among people with chronic diseases. The key finding reveals that 86% of clients and 93% of medical practitioners said it was worse than face-to-face consultations. The reason was the inaccuracy of assessment or a misdiagnosis. 

The researchers concluded that healthcare provider training could improve safety and acceptability. It also helps to offer options for clients.

In contrast, another study reveals that online consultations are acceptable, convenient, and effective. The researchers identified challenges like identity verification and online interface. However, both patients and medical practitioners found satisfaction in the online consultation.

Longer visit times

Since a medical practitioner has fewer clients, more time is spent with each client. It is one of the advantages of direct primary care compared with traditional care. DPC sees a client for about 40 minutes compared to 10 minutes in traditional care.

We provide personalized and patient-centered approaches. It means your employees spend more time with our medical practitioners. We engage with your employees and empower them to decide on the best modality that suits them. 

They get a comprehensive assessment of their medical concerns. Additionally, we discuss the appropriate lab tests, medications, and therapies.  

24/7 telemedicine

If they seek healthcare without leaving their work or home, they can do so. We have a 24/7 telemedicine facility they can call for acute care. They can talk to our healthcare representative about any immediate medical concerns.

Telemedicine provides remote access to healthcare, especially for people in rural areas. A 2020 narrative review shows telemedicine continues to provide quality accessible healthcare solutions. 

It works well as it maintains social distancing in the pandemic. In addition, the review reveals that telemedicine appointments can be as good as face-to-face clinic visits.

Telemedicine at your employees’ fingertips – bust the myths today.

Why Is Access to Healthcare Critical?

Access to healthcare impacts health and well-being. Reliable access to healthcare services is vital for three reasons.

1. Prevent disease and disability

Early detection is the key to preventing chronic diseases or the progression of a severe illness. Studies found that clients with chronic diseases under DPC have fewer recurring health concerns. As a result, there are fewer ER visits.

Moreover, obesity can be mitigated through early prevention. Obesity contributes to the leading causes of chronic diseases and premature deaths in NM. 

Based on a 2018 survey, the rate of overweight adults in NM is very close to the national average. Obesity by itself can be considered a chronic disease. However, comorbidities or multiple chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension add to the financial burden. 

Access to healthcare allows obese adults to seek nutrition and weight loss counseling. These prevention activities are included in a DPC’s monthly membership fee.Other prevalent chronic diseases in Bernalillo County include asthma, lung cancer, and arthritis. These medical conditions can be prevented through counseling, annual medical exams, and labs.

2. Improve the quality of life

It increases care and health outcomes, especially if your employees have chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. We offer chronic disease management to help them cope with the challenges of their disease. They have access to consultation, education, and follow-up care. 

Health-related quality of life refers to physical and mental health. Access to healthcare improves both conditions through proper health monitoring. 

For example, your employees’ high blood pressure is maintained, or their blood sugar levels are controlled. Thus, they continue to stay healthy without feeling the symptoms of their chronic condition.

As a result, their physical and mental state affects the other aspects of their lives. Quality of life includes employment, housing, social relationships, and community. It’s an encompassing concept that extends to spirituality, belief, culture, and values.

3. Reduce risks of early death

Premature death can be brought about by many factors. New Mexico’s top causes of mortality are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Most of these medical conditions are preventable. Access to healthcare, as earlier discussed, helps manage these chronic conditions.
Regular check-ups, diagnostics and labs, and health education contribute to keeping you healthy. For people with hypertension or diabetes, access to healthcare can reduce their risk of premature death.

Here’s why your employees need chronic disease management.

Poor health is associated with absenteeism, presenteeism, and job loss. It can equate to a loss of income for you, due to your employees’ reduced productivity.

Absenteeism

For instance, your employee can’t report to work because their blood pressure may be 180/110 with dizziness and a headache. A day’s absence due to your employee’s chronic disease can affect work and your business, too.

A study found that absenteeism ranged from one to two days per employee per year, depending on the chronic disease. Results of the study show absenteeism per employee cost about $16 to $81 for small employers and $17 to $286 for large employers per year. In another study, the cost of absenteeism was $520.

It’s a substantial loss for your employees, who incur lower income. And it affects your business due to lower productivity.

Presenteeism

For instance, your employee, John’s blood sugar level registers at 180 mg/dL in the morning. John still makes it to work, but he feels tired and nauseous with a racing heartbeat. He is physically present at work but not functioning as expected.

John’s presenteeism can cost you a lot. 

Based on a study, presenteeism significantly exceeded combined costs of absenteeism and medical treatment. For example, according to a study among Japanese employers, the cost of presenteeism due to chronic diseases was $3,055.

In another US-based four-year review, the researchers identified 22 specific health conditions associated with presenteeism. These health conditions resulted in daily productivity loss. It includes NM’s top chronic diseases - heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Specifically, heart diseases are risks linked to presenteeism. A study among 6,047 employees suggests access to healthcare services to prevent the cost of presenteeism.

Job loss

Your employees are at risk of financial insecurity when left unhealthy. They can lose their job because of the severity of their chronic condition. It happens when they’re sick often and don’t have proper healthcare services. 

Unemployment is possible on top of incidental expenses. Medical expenses include medications, tests, procedures, and supportive therapies. 

Unhealthy behaviors contribute to disability and unemployment. Some of these behaviors are smoking and poor diet among people with chronic diseases. At the same time, employees undergoing medical treatment are at risk of job loss. 

Job loss worsens your employees’ chronic disease and increases their risk of mental problems. It can result in anxiety, depression, or even suicidal ideation in the long term.

Researchers suggest the importance of the workplace environment. They derived their suggestion from a qualitative study among people with chronic diseases from seven European countries. 

They said the workplace could adapt to the needs of people with chronic diseases to allow them to function or return to work for good.

Adapting the work environment helps people retain or go back to their job. Another solution is access to healthcare, such as health promotion. It provides employees resources in choosing activities for a healthier lifestyle.

Don’t let your employees’ chronic disease affect their work. Help them manage their hypertension now.

Bottomline

Hypertension and diabetes are two of the leading chronic diseases in New Mexico. It can cause absenteeism, presenteeism, and job loss. Access to healthcare manages your employees’ chronic disease(s). It can prevent the progression of their condition or the development of a severe illness. In addition, it can improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of early death.

Access to healthcare services includes same-day appointments, telemedicine, virtual consultation, and quality consultation time. It leads to healthy employees, lower medical costs, and better productivity.

Well Life Family Practice offers comprehensive healthcare services for you for only $75 per month.

More face time, less wait time! Enroll online today.

Accessible Healthcare

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – “I’m hypertensive and a diabetic with high cholesterol levels.” Sound familiar? Your employees are among many New Mexicans (NM) who journey through life with chronic conditions. Over 23% of NM adults aged 45-65, to be exact, have been diagnosed with multiple chronic conditions.

Direct primary care (DPC) offers chronic disease management for your employees. But they need a care plan to begin with. A DPC care plan is important. It ensures they receive the proper healthcare based on their needs and preferences.

What are the benefits and impacts of a care plan for your employees’ health?

What is a care plan?

A care plan is a personalized plan of care. It consists of health goals, strategies, and timetables. It identifies the people involved in the care interventions. Finally, a review or report serves to assess and monitor health progress. 

A care plan is different from individual to individual. But it has the same five purposes:

  1. The healthcare team, such as Well Life Family Practice, works with your employees’ to know what kind of care and how they can receive the care they need. 
  2. Everyone in the healthcare team gives the same care given to others. 
  3. There’s consistency and continuity of care, regardless of the caregiver.
  4. Rest assured that whatever care they receive is recorded. 
  5. The care plan can be adjusted based on the periodic review and their wants.

You employees and a healthcare provider, or we, collaborate to develop the care plan. It is customized based on their specific needs, particularly if they have a chronic illness. 

A study notes primary care settings are most effective in managing the chronic disease of people in their communities. For example, the Assessment of Chronic Illness Care tool was developed in 2000. It has been helping primary care providers deliver care for people with chronic diseases. It works well for diabetes and cardiovascular care outcomes.

DPC develops your employees’ personalized care plan, inclusive of the monthly fee. It costs only $75 and is offered by a DPC provider, Well Life Family Practice. It comes with other healthcare services in addition to chronic disease management.

Who is eligible for a care plan?

Your employees are eligible for a care plan if they have had illnesses for the past six months or longer. Some of these medical conditions include the following:

Most of these chronic conditions are prevalent among NMs. A 2019 survey by the Bernalillo Community Health Council reveals the following statistics:

What is involved in care planning?

Think of it as a blueprint that explains how to develop a care plan and where your employees play an active role. Based on a study, care planning highlights patient-centeredness, shared decision-making, and self-management. Simply put, care planning involves four steps:

1. Assessment

It details the background, interests, and medical history. Medical history includes tests, diagnoses, and treatments. At the same time, a crucial part of the assessment is discussing the health needs, desired outcomes, and goals.

2. Formulation of the care plan

This step involves the what, who, and how of care. What are the preferred medical interventions? What kind of support is needed? Who is part of the care? How are the health goals achieved and monitored? All activities are incorporated into an action plan.

3. Implementation of the care plan

The action plan in the previous step serves as a guide in applying the care. This step forms the bulk of care, where self-management plays a vital role.

4. Evaluation

During the care, it’s crucial to have regular contact with us as the healthcare provider. The feedback allows us to monitor and review the progress. Then, we make adjustments, if necessary, through shared decision-making.

Chronic disease impacts your personal, social, and professional life. Here’s why you need a care plan now.

What are the benefits and health impacts of a care plan?

Your employees benefit from personalized care planning in many ways. It goes beyond alleviating symptoms of their chronic disease. Besides their physical health, it positively impacts their well-being, relationships, and work. At the same time, their quality of life is significantly improved.

As a result:

Choose the best DPC provider. Here’s how.

How much does a care plan cost? 

Healthcare need not be expensive. We help cash-strapped employees, with or without healthcare insurance, to achieve better health. A care plan for chronic diseases costs $75 per month per employee. The cost also includes other healthcare services:

The rates and services vary from one DPC provider to another. So, it’s best to check each one to help you choose the best DPC provider for your employees’ needs.

Takeaway

Yes, you can spend $75 monthly per employee on a care plan by a DPC provider in Albuquerque. Your employees’ long-term conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol can be controlled at this cost. 

As a result, they achieve better health and improved quality of life. Moreover, a care plan allows them to decide what kind of care they need and how we can support them in attaining their health goals. 

Also, your employees can be more productive at work without feeling sick frequently. First, it saves them from medical costs due to the complications of their condition. And second, their wages won’t be affected by absenteeism or job loss.

In addition to chronic disease management, Well Life Family Practice provides many healthcare services. Your employees can use these services regardless of whether they have or don’t have a chronic condition. Best of all, they can register as an individual to receive the healthcare services they need.

Register today for a personal health membership.

Benefits and Health Impacts of a Care Plan Vertical 1

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Let’s take statin, a prescription drug, as an example. Statin in the USA was 400% higher than UK price, according to a study 10 years ago. Today, the cost of a 30-day supply of statin may range from $130-generic to $360-branded. For cash-strapped employees, that’s a stretch for a prescription drug to maintain cholesterol levels.

But do you know the actual base price of it is much lower? Join me as we dig into the hard truths about prescription costs:

Watch KC and Jason tackle the truth about prescription costs!

Who sets prescription drug prices?

Prescription drug prices have increased by 1,150%, and patient costs by 182% since 1987. Further, a 2017 study shows prescription drug prices in the USA were substantially higher than in nine other countries. It includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

So, who sets prescription drug prices in the USA that’s way up compared to other progressive nations?

According to a 2016 study, high drug prices resulted from the USA granting government-protected monopolies to drug manufacturers. It’s combined with coverage requirements imposed on government-funded drug benefits.
The study found market exclusivity lets manufacturers set high drug prices. In addition, a similar study shows the high cost of prescriptions is protected by monopoly rights granted by the FDA approval and patents.

Why do prescription drugs cost so much?

Do you want to save thousands on healthcare for your business?

Who profits the most from prescription drugs?

You may think it’s the pharmaceutical companies since they’re the ones manufacturing the prescription drugs. Well, these pharmaceutical companies are not the true bad actors in this story. It’s the PBMs.

Let’s dissect the trifecta to get a clearer picture:

  1. Pharmaceutical companies: Pharmaceutical companies base their prices on R&D, drug uniqueness/specialty, drug effectiveness, and competition. Yes, they earn a lot. Study shows large pharmaceutical companies significantly profit more than large public companies.

    These pharmaceutical companies earn money from wide distributorship. You can buy these prescribed drugs available in any pharmacy. But there are also specialty drugs. You only get these specialty drugs exclusively from specialty pharmacies that dictate their price.
  1. Health insurance companies: Health insurance companies rely on PBMs to negotiate agreements with drug manufacturers. And health insurance companies pay for the drugs dispensed to clients through PBMs. In return, they get a small margin of the drug profit.

    At the same time, health insurance companies reduce their administrative cost through PBMs who do leg work.
  1. PBMs: PBMs are third-party administrators or middlemen. There are three big PBMs in the USA. These PBMs monopolize the three vertical tiers. 

    For example, the first PBM acquired one of the leading health insurance companies in the country. 

    At the same time, a second PBM is affiliated with another big health insurance company. In addition, it acquired a known medical group, a healthcare provider. It also has its pharmacy, care delivery, and ambulatory care service.

    PBMs control 76% of costs or transactions. They make money from all tiers - health insurance, pharmacy business, and healthcare provider service. 

    They also make money through rebates or “kickbacks” from pharmaceutical companies. In exchange, PBMs assure these pharmaceutical companies preferred status on a health plan’s formulary. 

    In addition, they earn from “spreads.” It’s the difference between what they pay for the drugs from the pharma company and what is paid to them by the health insurance companies.  

    The only transparent cost in all these transactions is their fees.

Do you want discounted medications?

What are the solutions to high prescription costs?

A 2020 systematic review of 34 studies assessed the impact of US federal and state drug policies. It reveals these government initiatives led to reduced spending for consumers. But, the overall effect on patient outcomes remains unknown.

Early this year, a state initiative was formulated in New Mexico (NM). Rep. Angelica Rubio said, “Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.” 

To remedy the high costs of medications, Rep. Rubio introduced legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB). This regulating body aims to establish an upper payment limit. Thus, through proper pricing of medications, NMs gain access to affordable medicines.

On the grassroots level, self-funded businesses bear the brunt of the healthcare costs of their employees. They pay for healthcare insurance, which includes medication expenses. Employers, like you, do not know the actual price from PBMs and what happens behind the scene.

Here are some solutions on how you can help your business and your employees mitigate high prescription costs:

WLABQ offers more than reduced prescription costs and lab tests. It has many ways to save money for you:

Takeaway

Health insurance companies, PBMs, and pharmaceutical companies drive prescription costs. WLABQ helps you manage the costs through various services. We work well with small businesses of less than 50 employees. 

A DPC provider, we do not spend unnecessary administrative expenses since we do not have a back office to process claims. As a result, we can offer a monthly fee of $75 per employee.

At this minimal rate, your employees enjoy healthcare benefits on top of discounted medications.

The Truth About Prescription Costs in Albuquerque infographics

Set an appointment with KC to know how Well Life ABQ can best help you save on prescription costs.

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