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I recently referred a medical patient of mine to a cardiology group.  The patient called me back and told me that she was having a great deal of difficulty getting through to book and appointment and asked if I could help.  I called the office number and selected the voice mail option “if you are a doctor or hospital, press 2”.  When I chose that selection, a staff member answered , immediately said “Please hold” (without listening/waiting for a response) and I then proceeded to wait 16 minutes on hold.  When the call was picked back up, I was met with “The first available appointment is June 6.”.   I asked that the doctor that I know very well call me back directly to my cell number.  The call was never returned.  My suspicion is that the doctor never got the message as given our 30 year business relationship, he would not diss me in this manner.  The cardiology group, which was privately owned for decades, was recently bought out by the hospital system.

I have noticed as the years have gone by, that it is much more difficult to get my patients in for specialty consultations.  Endocrinology, hematology, pulmonary and a number of other specialists seem to be overwhelmed with the volume of patients they are being asked to see.  What seems to be common to almost all of these specialty groups is that they have sold out their businesses to either the major hospital systems or private equity groups.  Once these doctors are employees and no longer calling their own shots, the availability to see patients seems to be much less than in years past.

What pertinence does any of the above have to do with weight control?  Here goes:  Inevitably, people with chronic weight control issues will develop some/many co-morbidities of the poor weight control.  Heart/vascular disease, refractory diabetes mellitus, lung problems, cancer and a number of other very serious medical issues have a much higher chance of occurring in obese/overweight people.  These conditions most likely will warrant medical specialty involvement.  With there being less and less availability of these specialists, the major part of the care may need to be provided by the primary care doctors and presumably, this care will not be as expert as the specialists in the various disciplines.  Additionally, there is a growing shortage of primary care doctors and that will result in even more difficulties in access to medical care at all.

The bottom line:  Try to obtain and maintain a medical state that will lessen the chances of needing medical care, most notably, specialty involvement.  This starts with staying focused and steadfast on your weight control efforts.  Lots of protein a day keeps the doctor away (forget the apples).