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Michael Gales: Survival of the fittest

Dixon Health Centers

Posted: June 18, 2009 8:46 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 
Robert, a 42-year-old diabetic, enjoyed medical care provided through his health insurance for years. His doctor’s visits and medications were provided for a small co-pay. Unfortunately, he was laid off from his job and lost his health insurance. He didn’t know what to do with bills piling up; he worried about his home, providing food for his family and how he would pay for his two boys to attend a sports camp in the summer. His health became the lowest priority and his glucose skyrocketed to 400 by the time he came to Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, Inc. (SDFHC).

Our providers were able to control his condition with reasonably priced medications, monitor his progress via labs and an electronic diabetic registry, and even provided care from an ophthalmologist, podiatrist and dietician on a sliding fee scale.

According to a recent study, the cost of diabetic care for Type 1 is $422 per month and Type 2 costs $331 per month. Medications can be very expensive and the inability to buy them can prevent a patient from adhering to the doctor’s orders. Here are some tips and resources on saving money on medications:

RxHope.com: Great site, extensive list of medications. Requires a provider who is willing to apply and handle the medication shipments, documentation and refills.

Walmart, Target, Costco: Great resources. $4 generics. Extensive formulary.

Canadian: Discount medications. Google Canadian pharmacies. Prescription needed from physician.

Center dispensary: SDFHC provides short-term medications for certain conditions.

Staying healthy when money is tight can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Try these tips to make your dollar stretch farther while keeping yourself healthy:

Exercise: A brisk walk costs nothing (no gym fees) and it helps to keep both your heart and mind healthy, as exercise is a stress reducer.
Healthy eating: Make sure you are eating the proper amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Drink water instead of soda and freeze leftovers to make food last longer.

Talk it out: When you are very stressed, it is important to have a support system to turn to for help. A trusted family member or friend may be willing to listen. Talking to a trained counselor or participating in a support group is best for very trying situations.

We at SDFHC are experts in identifying barriers to care and have developed resources that provide affordable health care for our Santa Clarita neighbors.

For more information about our services, visit www.sdfhc.org.

Michael Gales is a physician assistant at Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, Inc.

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