Expert Advice from Doctors at Glenwood Medical
In today’s complex health care landscape, it pays to be a vigilant consumer for not only your health, but for your wallet, too. Below are tips and suggestions from several well-respected physicians in the area on ways to stay informed about your health care.
Partner With Your Primary Care Doctor
The first line of defense in your health care arsenal, your primary care doctor should be your most trusted health care resource whether you’re in the peak of health or battling a disease. Dr. Paul Salmen of Glenwood Medical Associates (GMA), who has practiced in the area for over 30 years, sees himself as the patient’s advocate in all things health. “It’s a partnership,” he explains. “Both doctor and patient should be sharing and listening. It builds a trusting foundation from where I can guide the patient toward optimal health.” Some of his doctor-patient relationships date back 30 years.” By cultivating open, honest lines of communication, Dr. Salmen has helped patients quit smoking, lose weight and successfully tackle serious ailments like cancer and diabetes.
Make It Easier To Stay Healthy
With help from your primary care doctor, you should create a plan to practice prevention which includes a schedule for immunizations, vaccines, physical evaluations, lab work, x-rays and health screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. Be sure to ask your primary about recommendations for ancillary services like radiology, physical therapy, ultrasound or lab work. Some practices, like GMA, have these additional services on-site or nearby to provide patients more convenience and control costs. “Don’t be afraid to ask about pricing on these types of services,” advises Dr. Jamie Faught, a family practice physician at GMA. “Your doctor shouldn’t be offended, and he or she may even have some recommendation on how to save money.”
Seek Comprehensive, Coordinated Care
Because GMA is certified at the highest level as a Patient Centered Medical Home or PCMH through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, patients receive prevention and wellness, acute and chronic care from one source. Information is shared freely throughout the provider team. The quality is more consistent. What’s more, efficiencies are realized. Because GMA operates under an integrated, single-source care model, costs are generally lower and those savings are passed onto the patient.
Ask the Expert for Referrals
When it comes to specialty care, there’s no better person to ask than your primary care doctor. Dr. Kelli Konst-Skwiot, a family practice doctor at GMA, has a number of specialty resources she feels quite comfortable suggesting to patients, as many of them practice at GMA with her. GMA offers specialty care in dermatology, gastroenterology and internal medicine. “With your primary care physician in the loop,” points out Dr. Konst-Skwiot, “he or she can answer any questions about your history or current state of health, and make sure you don’t waste money on duplicate tests or lab work.”
Have a Backup Plan
Be sure to talk with your primary care doctor about after-hours care. You should also discuss which situations necessitate a visit to an emergency room, and which ones can be resolved through a nurse line or even by waiting until the doctor’s office opens. While cost should never be the sole factor in your decision-making process, it does warrant some consideration. For example, according to the Colorado Hospital Association, visiting a hospital ER for a sore throat and cold will likely cost eight times more than visiting a primary care clinic.
For details on the primary and specialty care, and ancillary services offered at GMA, visit GlenwoodMedical.com. Or, stop by their offices at 1830 Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs or 2001 Horseshoe Trail in Silt.