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Telephone Consultations:  How to ask for more specific help if you live far away from my office...

Many people travel from other states to see me. If you come to see me personally, you'll find the area to be a beautiful place to combine vacation and a trip to the physician: my offices are close to the Gulf Coast (beaches of Pensacola and Gulf Shores).  Travel for medical care, can be a tax deductible expense.

Some people, however, are just not able to travel to see me personally due to time or money constraints.  I can't prescribe medication without seeing someone in person, but I can offer advice about lab work that I think should be done and offer an opinion about the results of lab work and even make suggestions concerning diet and exercise.

General advice can be found in my writings and recordings.  A very simple question, I'll  gladly answer for free by e-mail.  For more detailed specific advice, I'm obligated to charge.  The popularity of my book and the high traffic to my web site necessitates that I charge for specific advice or else I would spend several hours per day working for free answering medical questions by e-mail.  Though I enjoy doing what I do enough that I would do it for free, if I spend much of my day giving away detailed specific medical advice....well  it would be like going to work for free...it just doesn't help much toward taking care of my three sons.  

In general,  medical knowledge seems to be valued less than procedures in medicine.  I'm not stretching the truth when I say that when I still billed insurance carriers (like Blue Cross), I would collect more for 5 minutes work taking off three warts with a freeze gun than I would spending two hours with an elderly person two weeks post heart attack figuring out the best way to adjust 12 different medications.  Unfortunately, many physicians compensate by spending less time with patients (the average primary care physician breaks even after the 21st patient by one New England Journal article).  I simply fired Blue Cross and now sell my time by the hour allowing me to spend as much time as people need.

So, I love taking care of people, even in other towns, and even if you can't see me.  And, I'll offer as much free general advice as I can here on this website.  But, for specific advice about your lab testing or your medications, I'd gently ask that you consider paying me.   I can order lab testing without seeing you and I can give you advice about the meaning of the results of those tests.  I can answer questions about medical problems and what the next best approach should be or where to look for more information.  And, if you want, I can write a letter to take to your physician which outlines what I recommend and why.  

How it works:  For a telephone consultation, I charge $200 for 30min.  Payment for the first 30min is made when you make the appointment.  Because I don't want to take anyone's money if they don't think I gave them more than what they paid for, if we talk and you don't think the advice was worth the price, I will completely refund the money.  

Even Christ couldn't help everyone, so I'm perfectly comfortable with the fact that I can't help everyone and absolutely don't want to charge you if I don't help you.

To set up an appointment for a phone consultation, call my receptionist at 251-342-6466. 

Peace and Health,

Charles Runels, MD