To me, the most fascinating part of clinical care is to understand the complex mind-body aspects of GI illness, particularly the functional GI disorders (FGIDs), and to help in the management of patients so affected. There have always been challenges to accomplishing this: poor reimbursement for spending the time needed to understand these disorders and establish the necessary relationship-centered care, helping patients ignore dualistic biomedical dogma that lead to stigmatization, helping patients understand their conditions as “real” and manageable, and helping to educate the referring physicians in ways to successfully continue in their patient care. With the assistance of my physician assistant, Ms. Kellie Bunn PA-C, we have established a specialty practice in FGIDs Drossman Gastroenterogy and are most pleased we have to received referrals both locally and from around the world.
So what makes my practice so different? First, my career in gastroenterology has led to the care of patients having very difficult to understand and manage painful GI disorders. This is the group where the usual GI medications have ceased to work. My interest in mind-body (or mind-gut) interactions has led me to provide very modern methods of pharmacological and behavioral treatments to improve these disorders. Second, anyone having these painful difficult to treat disorders become painfully affected personally; they may feel stigmatized, told simply “its stress” and to “learn to relax”. They may also get over studied with more and more procedures that end up being negative. This is a very difficult situation (and potentially dangerous) for the health care providers and their patients, since there seems to be no way out. I try to make it clear that their symptoms are not only real but very much understood because of modern science. That is why my educational program “DrossmanCare” focuses on training health care providers internationally on these newer methods of care. Third, the practice involves patient centered, or more appropriately relationship-centered care where we work as a team to understand the problems and devise proper solutions. More of this will be discussed later.
Finally, my PA Kellie Bunn works closely as part of the care team. She sees all patients with me and is available throughout the week to handle phone calls and emails regarding questions that may come up providing prescriptions and the like. Because I receive referrals from all over the world, more than 50% of my patients are from out of state. This also allows us to provide some of the care (once a patient has been seen once or twice) with telephone or Skype consultations. We encourage the option of involving your local physician so we can coordinate the care. For further information and to set up a visit you can contact Elizabeth Mauch at 919 929-7990. We do require that the referring physician send a letter summarizing the care as well as adequate documentation for review. First visits may run as long as 90-120 minutes.