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Questions To Ask Before Deciding About A Treatment

If A Lifestyle Change Is Recommended

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If a lifestyle change such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, losing or gaining weight, changing your diet or similar changes are recommended, ask:
  • What is the change you recommend?
  • What is the goal of the recommended change?
    • What are the chances that it will achieve the goal?
    • Over what period of time?
    • How will I know if it is working?
  • How much change is needed to make a difference?
  • What are the alternatives to make the recommended change?
    • What are the pros and cons of each recommendation?
    • Costs?
    • Are the costs insured?
    • Which would the doctor recommend?
  • What aides are there to help me make the change? For instance, are there counselors who can help? An app I can use on my computer or mobile device?
  • How can I find a support group or buddy in a similar situation?
If you are a member of an HMO or other managed care health insurance plan, ask:
  • Does the insurer provide financial incentives for doctors to use a preferred treatment?
  • Is the doctor prohibited from informing you about treatment options other than the one or ones approved by the managed care company? This is a practice known as "gagging."  Gagging is supposed to be a thing of the past. However, it is still worth confirming that you have been advised of all of your treatment options.
  • Does the plan limit your doctor's choice to order treatments and make referrals if a patient's needs go beyond the plan's protocols?



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