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Old 11-07-2012, 08:27 AM   #21
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I think that people generally don't recognize all that is going on in a well child check. They see a weight being taken, length/height and maybe the doctor with a stethoscope for a couple of minutes. There is a misconception that all that is going on is the doctor checking to make sure that the child is staying on a particular growth curve. Honestly, I would suggest stopping your doctor sometime and asking them exactly what they are doing during a well physical for a child. The information the doctor gathers over time helps her determine normals for your child. There are plenty of textbook normals in physical and other developmental areas. However, each child is an individual and skipping well checks means that your pediatrician has to rely on averages for your child's health. If they only see them sick, they lose the ability to trend their health. A snapshot of a child with a cold or an upset stomach doesn't give your doctor a picture that can help diagnose a more chronic condition, etc. I think they are important. I don't necessarily think that you need to go every 2-4-6 weeks for the first two years. But, if we didn't vaccinate, I would probably go 3-4 times in the first year, 2-3 in the second and then continue annually thereafter.

Just to give you an idea - as a nurse I am not doing as extensive exam on my sick hospital adult patients as the doctor does on your child. But, in a 5 minute exam in their room, I can take more than 45 minutes to chart all of the information I gather - neuro, GI, cardio, GU, respiratory function and so on. I don't look like I am doing all that much, but I am using sight, listening skills, touch and smell to gather lots of data about my patients. I a talking and asking questions. Listening to answers and what isn't said. I am using my experience of listening to LOTS of lung sounds to decide if there might be a cold, or a pneumonia starting, etc. I am noticing moles and ticks. I hear irregular heart rhythms. I feel unequal pulses. I note warmth and swelling in a leg. I have a good stethoscope and experience listening to various hearts, but I still trust my children's doctor to determine if they have something like a murmur - and then to decide whether or not it is benign. Those who track their kids weights at home and think that they are almost on par with the physical are missing the subtle important parts of a well check.
Thank you for that perspective. I'm still on the fence though. I simply can't afford $125 for the baby's appointment this month. I'd shop around for a different ped that is cheaper, but if I'm constantly doctor shopping I'll never be able to develop a relationship with the ped.

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Old 11-07-2012, 08:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Celeste

There are lots of things that doctors are trained to look for, other than weight or height.
Yes. These threads come up all the time. I don't care what others do but we don't vaccinate and have crappy insurance but I never skip well visits for my kids. My cousins daughter had a brain tumor discovered at a well visit and there were NO SIGNS at all to the parents. She is fine now but spent basically a whole year in treatment and things would have been much worse for her if they hadn't been going to the doctor and waited for symptoms. Not a risk I am going to take for my kids.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:49 AM   #23
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Re: The value of well child checks

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Thank you for that perspective. I'm still on the fence though. I simply can't afford $125 for the baby's appointment this month. I'd shop around for a different ped that is cheaper, but if I'm constantly doctor shopping I'll never be able to develop a relationship with the ped.
Do you have a relationship with the pediatrician? I would contact his office staff and see if they have a discount for cash pay or if they will charge you the same as what your old insurance would have previously allowed.

I know it can be an expense that doesn't seem to have a great return. But, preventative care is very important. There are a lot of things that I would skip in order to ensure that my children received consistent and adequate health care - and that includes preventative care (well checks).
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #24
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Do you have a relationship with the pediatrician? I would contact his office staff and see if they have a discount for cash pay or if they will charge you the same as what your old insurance would have previously allowed.

I know it can be an expense that doesn't seem to have a great return. But, preventative care is very important. There are a lot of things that I would skip in order to ensure that my children received consistent and adequate health care - and that includes preventative care (well checks).
We're new to their practice and $125 is the cash price.

Unfortunately it would be doctor visit or groceries this month. The bills from her birth hit us really hard. There isn't really anything else I can cut out of our budget. We've already cut all non-essentials.

I'm also concerned that a cheaper ped would be one of those who doesn't do a great job, but I know cost isn't always a reflection of competency.

Ugh. Sorry. I'm just really stressed about money right now.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:26 AM   #25
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Re: The value of well child checks

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We're new to their practice and $125 is the cash price.

Unfortunately it would be doctor visit or groceries this month. The bills from her birth hit us really hard. There isn't really anything else I can cut out of our budget. We've already cut all non-essentials.

I'm also concerned that a cheaper ped would be one of those who doesn't do a great job, but I know cost isn't always a reflection of competency.

Ugh. Sorry. I'm just really stressed about money right now.
I totally understand! We also just couldn't spend 125$ on a doctor's visit. If it were an emergency, we'd make it work (our daughter had a Lyme rash 6 months ago and we took her to a clinic for abx, 70$, but she hasn't had a well0child visit for over 2 years. )And the way I see it, if I were to cut something out or not pay a bill for a visit that is essentially (let's be honest) unnecessary at that point in time, it would really annoy me.
If you really want to take her, I would just do it as soon as you can afford it. I certainly don't think that a well-child visit is worth not buying food or paying the electric bill.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:58 AM   #26
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My children have a wonderful relationship with their ped. And I don't start vaxing until age 3. I never miss a well visit. Z2a gave a great explanation quantifying the importance of well visits.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:04 AM   #27
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Re: The value of well child checks

We never do well visits. We don't vax. And our ped knows our kids "relatively" well.

I take my kids to a dentist or doctor when they NEED to go. I don't go looking for things that are wrong. If something is bad enough to need treatment, it will present itself in due time with symptoms. Otherwise, I assume our bodies are keeping ickies at bay, or keeping whatever crud we might have that we don't know about in check well enough for us to live a normal life. ... which is the best I can hope for.

Basically, I have the feeling (on all things related healthcare), that just b/c a person is sick doesn't mean they NEED a doctor or meds. And that LOOKING for disease in a normally functioning person is a bad idea, since most of us probably have things wrong with us that we don't know about and live normal lives and are happy. If a disease is bad enough to present symptoms, THEN it is bad enough to be evaluated and maybe treated. Otherwise, I have the mentality of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."


I realize there are some rare diseases that can be caught early and treated to make life more enjoyable later. But those are rare.

Our ins sucks, it costs an arm and a leg each month and covers close to nothing. It has a high OOP cost before it will touch any bills. We pay $50 per kid to take them in just to be looked at and get a head nod from the doc that they look fine. Any tests or labs or prescrips are completely OOP, our ins doesn't cover any of those, so the $50 is literally just for the doctor to look at them.

Even before we had ins, we rarely went to the doc. We will probably cancel our ins when we can. It's pretty useless and makes me sick to consider how much we have poured into it this yr and how we've gotten pretty much NOTHING out of it. (plus, the OOP requirement is so high and the coverage after that is so low, that even IF something catastrophic happened, we'd still go bankrupt trying to pay the medical bills incurred anyway... which makes the ins even MORE useless.)

If my kids need a doctor, we take them right away. Otherwise, though, we are not actively looking for things to be wrong with them. They are normal, functioning, happy kids.

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Old 11-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #28
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Re: The value of well child checks

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We do ours but only because we vaccinate. And we like having a relationship with our pediatrician. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't bother.
Exactly this for us. It was really nice that when Logan started with sleep apnea, I already had a relationship with his dr. I told him about them problem and he sent us to a specialist with no questions asked. He knew Logan to know it wasn't normal for him so we didn't have to waste time ruling things out. Same with the speech delay.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #29
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Re: The value of well child checks

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Originally Posted by umphreysmommy View Post
Yes. These threads come up all the time. I don't care what others do but we don't vaccinate and have crappy insurance but I never skip well visits for my kids. My cousins daughter had a brain tumor discovered at a well visit and there were NO SIGNS at all to the parents. She is fine now but spent basically a whole year in treatment and things would have been much worse for her if they hadn't been going to the doctor and waited for symptoms. Not a risk I am going to take for my kids.

This. My niece's brain tumor was caught by her eye doctor.
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:19 PM   #30
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Re: The value of well child checks

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Originally Posted by Kiliki View Post
We never do well visits. We don't vax. And our ped knows our kids "relatively" well.

I take my kids to a dentist or doctor when they NEED to go. I don't go looking for things that are wrong. If something is bad enough to need treatment, it will present itself in due time with symptoms. Otherwise, I assume our bodies are keeping ickies at bay, or keeping whatever crud we might have that we don't know about in check well enough for us to live a normal life. ... which is the best I can hope for.

Basically, I have the feeling (on all things related healthcare), that just b/c a person is sick doesn't mean they NEED a doctor or meds. And that LOOKING for disease in a normally functioning person is a bad idea, since most of us probably have things wrong with us that we don't know about and live normal lives and are happy. If a disease is bad enough to present symptoms, THEN it is bad enough to be evaluated and maybe treated. Otherwise, I have the mentality of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."


I realize there are some rare diseases that can be caught early and treated to make life more enjoyable later. But those are rare.

If my kids need a doctor, we take them right away. Otherwise, though, we are not actively looking for things to be wrong with them. They are normal, functioning, happy kids.
Definatly this for us. Plus I feel like I have the perfect setup, because we know our Dr. outside of the office. She is a wonderful lady and has a good relationship with me and all the kids, so I definatly don't have to worry about "scrambling for a dr. at the last minute". I also have a child development specialist in my family and I'm an expert on my kids. I feel no need for well visits.
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