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Insurance Struggles?

Posted by Emerald Coast Medical Association on Apr 5, 2019 6:45:00 AM

Any medical professional knows how difficult it can be to deal with some insurance companies and helping their patient get what they need to better their health. However, before we get into the topic, we want you to know that this is a safe and fantastic place to share your opinion and give feedback on our forum.


For this blog, we will be talking about Robert Bonakdar, MD, who is a family physician and his interaction with an insurance company regarding one of his patients. Bonakdar’s patient, Joan, has lower back pains that have affected her for many years. She had been through a lot trying to better her severe pain by trying all sorts of procedures and medicines. Unfortunately, her pain hasn't gone away. Her lower back issues make it challenging to work, be a mother, and a friend in everyday life. Bonakdar came up with this conclusion:

"After our long consultation and review of her records, my prescription was simple – biofeedback, a non-drug treatment in which patients learn to control bodily processes that are normally involuntary."

Biofeedback would help Joan get her life back on track and Bonakdar saw no issues with this prescription. However, the insurance denied the request and saw this as experimental. Do you think this prescription was experimental?

Bonakdar is located near the border in San Diego and is an unwilling expert on experimental treatments. As he states,

"I have begged patients not to go to Mexico for ozone or non-approved stem cell therapy because it is experimental.  In contrast, the treatments we requested for Joan are far from experimental."

Recently, both acupuncture and biofeedback were recommended as first list treatments by the American College of Physicians (ACP). So, that would give even more reason why Bonakdar pointed Joan in that direction. Now that the insurance company has denied the request, Joan's back pain won't get any better. Insurance companies have been known to deny non-drug treatments that have proven to be successful. Has this kind of problem happened to you? Has an insurance company denied one of your patients treatment that you know would work?

However, denying patients non-drug treatments could be coming to a rest. Some states are working toward getting non-drug treatments covered by insurance companies. Also, at the national level,

"I (Bonakdar) recently advised the congressionally-mandated Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. They recently published draft recommendations providing some of the most meaningful progress to date in creating a balanced approach to pain as well as the education needed to get there. Their plan includes a comprehensive plan for pain care, including access to treatments such as those recommended for Joan."

Are you with Bonakdar and want these changes to come or do you think the system should stay the way it is toward non-drug treatments? Or, maybe you have your own idea. Let's us know in the comments section below.

Topics: Doctor-Patient Relationships

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