Dear Ones Who Wish to Become Clients
Policies for Friends & Family
“Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.”
To allow me to sustainably continue offering care to friends and family members, I ask that you kindly review and respect these policies. If you are unable to agree to these terms, then I regretfully will not be able to offer you professional support.
Who I Will (and Will Not) Treat
I review on a case-by-case basis which friends/family members I am willing to work with, and in what capacity.
The main question I ask myself is if I can be objective enough in providing you with excellent care. When I initiate care the answer to that question must be a “yes.” If over time the answer becomes “no,” then the professional relationship will need to be dissolved.
I will only work with somebody if all of the following are true:
- The person is highly motivated to get better
- I believe I can help them
- I believe that I can be objective in their care
- There is not another provider in their area that I think could help them better than I could
- I do not feel that us working together would harm or compromise our social connection
- I trust the person to respect my policies – the same policies all clients are held to. These include cancellation and no-show fees, using the client portal to ask questions (eg: not texting me questions about health or asking me in social situations about health), being respectful of my staff, etc. In other words, they do not expect “special treatment.”
- I have the emotional bandwidth to manage the extra energetic work that comes with managing a dual relationship and serving people close to me
I reserve the right (as do you!) at any time, for any reason, to terminate the doctor/patient or consultant/client relationship. Many factors go into this decision, but none of the factors has anything to do with whether or not I like or love you! (In fact, it is my priority to protect our my personal connection.)
Note that due ethics guidelines, I cannot serve as your primary care physician. I also cannot prescribe controlled substances such as Ambien, Xanax, Testosterone, or Oxycodone.
Friends/family are not automatically given discounts on care.
If you can believe it, it’s actually more work to care for friends and family than those energetically less connected to me, due to the effort of managing a dual relationship.
That being said, I do sometimes give discounts to friends/family if:
- They meet all of the above-listed criteria for becoming a client; and
- Their financial situation makes it truly difficult for them to afford my services; and
- I have the space in my schedule and budget to take on a reduced rate client.
Why I Charge Friends & Family for Services
I made the bold – and frankly brave – decision to make my living doing honest, meaningful work that I think the planet needs desperately.
As you know, I make my living as a healthcare consultant, medical writer, and speaker. In all three of these positions, I am self-employed. This means I do not collect a salary. Nobody pays for my health insurance. I do not get paid vacations, paid sick days, or anybody contributing to my 401K – I don’t even have a 401K. If I get injured while doing my job, there is no worker’s compensation to support me. I alone am responsible for the costs of my malpractice and liability insurance and for my own health insurance premiums (which, let me tell you, incase you haven’t checked the U.S. marketplace lately, are outrageous). I also pay self-employment tax, on top of income tax and business taxes. I graduated from medical school with enough debt to buy a home. Simply put: I need to be paid for the work I provide.
If I fill my schedule with non-paying or under-paying appointments, this undermines my ability to earn a living doing the work I do.
If I see friends and family on the weekends, at night, or on vacation, this undermines my ability to balance work/life and get the breaks I need to ensure my physical and mental health. (It’s essentially like your boss asking you to come in on Saturday, without compensating you for that time. “I know you love your job, so it shouldn’t be a problem!” your boss might argue.) It also muddies the water in my relationships.
It’s also important that you, as the client, have some “skin in the game,” so to speak. I have found time and time again that when people pay for their care, that they take the whole matter more seriously. They tend to be more compliant with the plan, and thus get better results. In short: they heal faster and more fully. And that’s ultimately my goal: for you to thrive.
What About Trade?
I may be open to doing a trade. Let’s talk about it. Note that I typically do trades on a dollar-by-dollar (not hour-by-hour) basis.
Can I Just Ask a Quick Question? I’m Not Sure if I Need to Become a Full-On Client
It is entirely possible that we can answer all of your questions and address your concern(s) in a single appointment. Note this is highly unlikely if your illness is chronic.
The trouble with wanting some “quick advice” is that usually the advice ends up being somewhat of a guess. Sometimes the information is useful, but often it isn’t. For example, in the past friends have emailed me, “What’s a natural remedy for anxiety?” and I’ve suggested something random and generally safe, like lavender capsules. They then try the capsules, which do nothing but make their burps smell like flowers. They then assume that natural medicine doesn’t work and that I’m a quack of a doctor. But as it turns out the whole time this person had a severe, undiagnosed B12 deficiency secondary to celiac disease. Or they were drinking alcohol and having rebound anxiety, as often happens. Or they were overdosed on their thyroid medication. Or a number of other things that cause anxiety and that will not be remedied with lavender capsules alone. Had this person just made an appointment and given their health the time and focus it deserves, chances are I would have caught these ailments within a couple of visits and thus have been actually able to help the person; not just throw “green band-aids” at them.
ALL communication pertaining to your healthcare must be sent through the secure client portal. Outside of appointments, the client portal is the ONLY place where it is acceptable to ask me questions about your health or healthcare.
Administrative issues can be addressed to my business line, at 971.317.0222. Note this number is checked by both my administrative assistant and myself, and will likely be handled by my admin.
Please do not send text messages, call my personal cell phone number, contact me through social media, or send me e-mails regarding anything related to your healthcare. Calling or texting my personal phone number is ONLY appropriate in truly urgent situations.
If you have lab results or other documents to share with me, do NOT text or e-mail them to me. Attach them to a portal message or upload them in the portal under “Documents.”
This is perhaps the hardest request for friends and family to honor, but please, do save us both the awkward interaction of me having to remind you of these policies!
Please do not discuss your health matters with me in public, at social gatherings, or when we’re spending time as friends/family. Likewise, please abstain from asking medical questions or work-related favors of me through my family members or mutual friends.
If you have a quick question, send me a portal message. If you want to talk, then please make an appointment. I offer appointment times as short as 15 minutes in duration.
This policy allows me to have pleasant social interactions with you in which I do not have to be “on” or think about work. It also ensures that you have my full attention when we do discuss your health during appointments. So thank you!
Care for Others
If I’ve agreed to work with you, this does not mean that I am able to care for your other family members. Please keep our appointments focused on your health.
How to Make an Appointment
Appointments can be made through my website, www.SimbaHealth.com or www.DrZelfand.com. (Both URLs lead to the same place.) The website is also where you can find the link to sign in to the portal, shop for supplements online, and read my snazzy articles.
If you cannot find an appointment time on my scheduler, you may send a message through the portal to Front Desk (my admin) or call/text the office number to see about getting in sooner.
All Other Terms & Conditions Apply
All friends/family must review, agree to, and sign off on the same office policies – including no-show/late cancel fees/policies – and consent forms as other patients/clients.
As cumbersome as these policies may seem, they allow me to provide you with the best care possible. I aim to give your health matters the proper time they deserve, as well as my full, uninterrupted attention when it’s needed.