The ability to call a doctor when we need one is often not a reality for many of us. Either because we can’t afford it (even with health insurance if the deductible is high enough), or because we’ve experienced how useless that call will often be.
Not everyone who writes to me posts publicly. And not every posted comment contains the sad and ugly truths that reach me privately.
About doctors who won’t order much-needed tests, usually because they have no idea how to interpret the results. Or about doctors who humiliate patients by insisting that being fat is a personal failing; a character flaw that can be overcome by sufficient ‘willpower’ (my favorite comeback to which is: if controlling our bodies requires simple willpower, why does anyone need Viagra? :)). Or about doctors who keep their heads down, eyes pinned to a sheet of numbers on their desks, and who proclaim without once looking at the fifty-pounds-overweight person before them: “There’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to push away from the table sooner and exercise more.” That little homily is often followed by the patronizing: “A tranquilizer might help.”
To which I can add a mountain of emails that describe the horrific experience of so many patients these days, who somehow manage to get the tests (often on their own, and out-of-pocket despite having insurance). When the results indicate insulin resistance or diabetes, their doctors came back with ‘Only borderline.’ Which translates to: “You have to get worse before I’ll help you.”
These bright, resourceful patients have done their research — often far more than their doctor has done — and know that metformin, a non-toxic drug that also dramatically lowers risks for heart disease and cancer, will help them. The response is often ‘no’ despite pleading, tears and outright begging. Yes, begging. Or sometimes they dangle the prize (a full dose) just out of reach with a conditional string: “I’ll let you have 250 mg a day for a month. Lose twenty pounds when you come back, and I’ll let you have some more.”
It’s straight out of Dickens. Seriously. We could call it Oliver Twisted.
“He was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:
‘Please, sir, I want some metformin.’
The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear.
‘What!’ said the master at length, in a faint voice.
‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some metformin.’
The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.”
Well, just as Oliver finally found relief and happiness, so too can my readers. Because there’s a new game in town. Call The Doc. It’s a great concept, and sorely needed. Here’s how it works:
Once you’re registered (and blog readers, friends and family get a special rate; see more below), you will receive a Welcome Packet with Membership Cards, explanation of benefits (and how to use them), and a toll-free 24/7 hotline.
- Did you wake up with a sore throat and need medical advice? And maybe an antibiotic? Call The Doc. Someone will take your info, and have a nurse or doctor call you back within 3 hours.
- Speak Spanish or English? No problem. Call The Doc for help.
- No insurance or high deductible? Pre-existing condition? Just Call The Doc.
- Saved the best for last. Need a prescription and don’t want to beg for it? When the doctor calls you back, ask for what you need and tell her or him the number of the pharmacy to which you would like the prescription sent – and it’s done! Use your Call The Doc card for discounts at pharmacies nationwide — their online tool lets you search for them and gives you drug prices — or use your own pharmacy anywhere in the country, including Wal-Mart’s Home Delivery. They cover Metformin (and most medications), but not controlled substances or narcotics.
As of July, 2013, pricing has changed.**
There is only one plan, which covers a family. Per year: $199.95, plus a onetime $6.95 documents fee, plus $35 for the first consultation. Starting in September, it will be $35 for each doctor’s consultation.
Or . . . if you’re a SugarFreeGoodies reader and click the link below, you get the Family Plan (everyone in your household is eligible, even for prescriptions) for $199.95 a year, with NO document fee and NO $35 consult fee. Ever.
** Those who signed up via this site before the rate change are Grand-Mothered in. They will continue to pay only $129.95 per year with no $35 consult charges, as long as they don’t let their membership lapse.
Disclosure: I receive a small affiliate’s fee for everyone who signs up, which helps support this blog and the research that goes into it. To get the reduced price though, you must go through this link: http://callthedoc.com/sugarfree
Does it work? Before I was willing to write this thread, I tested it out myself. I have insurance, but I also have a $500 deductible, not a penny of which I’ve paid so far this year. In order to get a metformin prescription (my supply is almost gone) I would have to go to my Endo, pay the $30 co-pay, and then the $100 office visit since I hadn’t satisfied my deductible. She would order a gazillion useless tests that would end up costing me another $300. I’d be out $430 bucks – but hey, most of my deductible would be used up! I usually have to go through this charade every year.
So I signed up with Call The Doc. When my membership card arrived, I called the toll-free number. I explained that I needed a prescription for metformin, and that I wanted it to be called in to Wal-Mart’s Home Delivery (after first making sure they still carry Heritage). I was told a doctor would call me back in-between patients, but within three hours. Two and a half hours later the doctor called.
He asked if I had a primary care physician and I said no, but that I’d had recent metabolic blood tests and gave him the results. I told him I needed a prescription for metformin, 1000 mg twice a day, that I needed a 90-day supply with 3 refills. He said the metformin was no problem but how about calling for refills instead? I explained the ‘generic filler’ issue and the need to be able to quickly move refills to other pharmacies if required, and he understood. A 90-day supply with three refills it was.
He called it in right then, Wal-Mart shipped it the next day, and I got my first order in the mail two days after that. I now have all the metformin I need for an entire year.
Savings: $300. Not having to undergo unnecessary tests or cry or plead? Priceless.
Because I want to make sure Call The Doc treats my readers right, please take a minute to let me know you’ve signed up (if you do) and how the process worked for you. There’s a contact form to reach me directly on the Ask SugarFree or Home pages.
Again, to get Call The Doc at the reduced rate, go to http://callthedoc.com/sugarfree
And here’s another Goody: a $10 coupon for any order at VitaCost. After I learned they were no longer willing to carry supplements with Titanium Dioxide I checked them out, surprised to see they carry food as well as supplements. I ordered a few items, including Pastured Ghee and the only softgel form of K2 I’ve found. They offer free shipping for $25 of their own labeled products, so if you order the K2 (200 softgels for $29.99) — the total after the coupon is only $19.99 and the shipping is still free.
Just click: http://tinyurl.com/bwrfuu9 and register. They’ll send your promo code instantly, which you can use on your first order.
Finally, please remember our Troops tomorrow, the sacrifices they and others before them have made on our behalf, and observe the National Moment of Silence at 3 p.m. (your local time) to thank them.
I want to share my “Call The Doc” experience with SugarFree and all her readers.
It was absolutely wonderful. I’m the first to admit I am not a good patient. I don’t want to take the many medications that so many doctors try to give every senior citizen. And I was dreading having to beg for Metformin, because the doctors in my area don’t think you need it until your blood sugars are above two hundred and damage is already done.
I followed SugarFree’s link and paid the special fee of $129 for a year. I printed out my temporary membership card and called the 800 number. I explained to a nurse what I needed and within a few hours the doctor returned my call. I told him that I was being proactive and by eating a low carb, moderate protein diet, I had significantly improved all areas of my cholesterol and dropped more than fifty pounds, but I was still not happy with my BG numbers. After a brief conversation he congratulated me on educating myself (thank you, SugarFree) and said he would call in a prescription immediately.
Wow. No begging and pleading on my part. No accusations or recriminations on his part. He said that I might not need the full dose I asked for (2000 mg a day), but he was happy to send it anyway and I could take the dose I needed. He asked if there was anything else he could do for me, and said I could call back at any time.
So if any of you have been reluctant, there is nothing to worry about here. It was money well spent and since I followed SugarFree’s dosage instructions, I have not had a single problem. Hopefully I will remain healthy, but if something comes up I know who to call.