By: Edward G. Loniewski, DO, FACOS, FAOAO
Value is a Subconscious and Conscious Process.
Value is a constant, subconscious process most of us go through every single waking moment. Whenever we watch TV; drive on any road; take the train; page through a magazine and even sit lonely on the porcelain throne; we are constantly making decisions about the quality and value of everything we see, touch or are touched by. We love the taste of Folgers coffee, the fit and feel of Levi jeans; the colors of Pittsburgh Paints; the smell of Pillsbury muffins and yes, even the feel of Charmin tissue. This is not because we actually love spending money on these brand name items, but we perceive them to be a value purchase. We feel that our hard earned money is used wisely to purchase something we think is “worth it.” However, we may cringe at the thought of driving a Lincoln Town Car; drinking a bottle of Dom Perignon; or even eating a jar of Beluga Caviar. We may feel these products cost more than the experience is worth. We may pass on these purchases because they are “just not worth it.”
The Healthcare Tug of War
Healthcare has been one of those areas of mass consumerism which has traditionally skirted around the concept of value shopping because it was rightly thought that healthcare is priceless and everyone should have access to quality care regardless of the cost. However, with the introduction of direct to consumer advertisement; personalized medical treatments and the restrictions of government and private health insurance, this paradigm has changed. Now, every patient in medical treatment must make an informed decision of what and how they want to spend their health care dollars. On one hand, the natural forces of a free market economy may make this a more efficient system. The consumer demand for a high quality product at a lower cost normally and naturally improves the delivery of care as well as the longer term outcomes. In a consumer driven medical care environment, the provider has to produce and deliver a product that is appealing, safe, convenient, effective and within the budget of the consumer market , or the provider goes bankrupt. On the other hand, health care is a basic human right which should be available to every human regardless of the ability to pay. Health is not something we purchase, but what is owed to us as a citizen. It is a value of each specific society, and is sometimes seen as an innate, inalienable right of the citizen. So, we can now see the true conflict in our healthcare system. We are very comfortable and familiar with a consumer driven model, but deep down know that healthcare is one of those consumer items which may have a “get of jail free” card for everyone.
So, how is this all related to cell therapy?
Cellular Healing has been keenly aware of the terrible struggle many of our patients experience everyday. They are pulled one way in providing the best treatment they can find for their ailing bodies, but at the same time, they are pulled the other way in the reality of a consumer market where they do not want to spend more money than they feel they can afford. Healthcare is something their government, employer or insurance carrier should cover. Never is this more painfully obvious in patients suffering from arthritic joints. Some patients really want and need specific cell therapies, but the current cost and efficacy of the treatment makes it cost prohibitive, with many stem cell therapies costing about $5,000 or more out of the average consumer’s pocket. Thus, some opt for a significantly riskier surgery with up to a 16% complication rate and a 6 to 12 week recovery period which causes more pain and fear because this is what is covered by insurance. This does nobody a favor because the average cost of a joint replacement surgery is above $30,000.
Enhanced PRP Provides the Best Value
However, a newer, very effective and convenient combination therapy allows us to provide the cell therapy our patients need and demand at a very reasonable price. Enhanced PRP is remarkable combination of two simple treatments to provide a response which is not possible if the two treatments are given separately. This is called a synergistic response. We combine a commonly used hyaluronic acid (HA) injection of a soothing gel to cushion and lubricate the joint and add in the concentrated growth factor power of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) customized for your specific conditions. A few recent studies have proven that this treatment is much more effective than either treatment given alone. A remarkable 94% of the patients improved, and 79% of the patients were able to avoid any surgical procedure to their knees for over 4 years despite having failed previous treatment. But, not only is this effective, it is very convenient as a simple injection and only one day of rest. But, even better is the fact that most insurance carriers such as Medicare, BCBS, HAP, and Etna cover the hyaluronic injections for knee arthritis. If you have a Health Spending Account (HSA) or a Health Sharing Plan (HSP) the cost of platelet rich plasma (PRP) may be fully covered. If not, this may only cost $500 out of pocket for knee arthritic conditions. If you have a non-knee joint pain, this can only cost you $1050 which is still at least 1/4th the price of many stem cell procedures and 30 times less expensive than joint replacement with almost no time off work. So, enhanced PRP provides the best value in medicine because it is a very safe, effective and convenient option with a cost much, much lower than many current therapies. If you are interested in finding out more about enhanced PRP, you can call our office at 810-299-8552 or book on-line or attend one of our free seminars.
Remember..”These are your cells for your healing”.
 Jean-Luc Renevier1*, Jean- François Marc2, Philippe Adam3, Nicolas Sans4, Jacques Le Coz5 & Ivan Prothoy6“Cellular matrix™ PRP-HA”: A new treatment option with platelet-rich plasma and hyaluronic acid for patients with osteoarthritis having had an unsatisfactory clinical response to hyaluronic acid alone: Results of a pilot, multicenter French study with long-term follow-up. International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology (2018) Volume 13, Issue 4