There was big news in the medical world in the past week. The American Board of Medical Specialties finally decided to recognize the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of addictions as a full and separate medical specialty. With a new specialty comes untold concerns for price conscious patients and self-pay patients, so HBI has put together this questions and answers post for you, our readers, to help you make good health decisions regarding this new specialty.
Price Conscious patients ask, Why did it take so long?
Unfortunately, those that know the answer to this question are not sharing it with the rest of the world. HBI understands why you are asking, considering the extreme upswing in addiction to more and more dangerous drugs and activities, but there just is no answer available.
What difference does specialty recognition make?
It makes a HUGE difference for self-pay patient and price conscious patients, though perhaps not as much for the insurance patient that may not have coverage for the specialty. Because addiction medicine is now recognized as a specialty, providers can be board certified, meaning they will have had additional detailed training, testing, and internship in the area of prevention, recognizing, diagnosing, and treating addictions.
Board certification gives you, the patient, the peace of knowing you are dealing with an addiction specialist who has spent extensive time and effort and devoted their professional life to understanding the disease of addiction. Seeing an addiction specialist will become just like visiting a pediatrician or a cardiologist, you can expect that provider to have the most up to date knowledge of procedures and methods to get you healthy again, which your regular providers might not have time to learn.
Additionally, specialty recognition means a big upswing in research, efforts to find triggers, and testing of cures, preventions, and treatments. Because a provider can now specialize in addiction, it will be considered a “real disease”, which means funding and education.
Who will this effect?
In one way or another, the recognition of the addiction specialty will affect just about every single American. It is estimated that over 40 million Americans age 12 and over are addicted to some sort of drug, be it nicotine, alcohol, or something worse. Furthermore, an additional 80 million people are at risk at any time of becoming addicted to some sort of drug. It is unknown, and beyond estimation, the number of people addicted to things other than drugs, such as gambling, sex, or risky behaviors.
At some point in your life, it is more likely than not that you or someone you know well will be touched by addiction. For cash patients, self-pay patient and price conscious patients, it is extremely important to know about this specialty and that you should look for board certified providers, instead of wasting your health care dollars on failed methods and out of date notions.
How can HBI help?
As always, when you join us you have free 24/7/365 access to our databases. That means that you always have the ability to find and contact a provider that specializes in the medicine you need. While it is true that this specialty has just been approved, and it will take time to set up the training, testing, and certifications, you can count on Health Beyond Insurance to be on call when those procedures are in place, ready to sign up the first board certified addiction specialists so that you never have to do more than one search to find them!