Announcing the future of medicine … today. The Integrative Medicine Center of Santa Barbara has launched The Wellness Group, the first of its kind in Santa Barbara.

The Wellness Group offers unlimited access to its primary care physicians, Dr. Scott Saunders and Dr Jennifer Salcido, and many free or discounted services, including consultations with certified health coach Patti Moore and herbalist, Reiki master teacher and stem cell medicine consultant Jennifer Vasilakos — providing a higher standard of care for Santa Barbarans.

Members can choose from a broad range of comfortable treatments, including such therapies as infrared sauna sessions, weight loss coaching, bio-identical hormone balancing treatments, anti-aging scoring and many, many more.

In The Wellness Group, members pay a low monthly fee to cover their (unlimited) primary care doctor visits, enjoy free or discounted services, and a broad range of other primary care services, integrating modern medicine with ancient healing wisdoms. A number of insurance plans, including Medicare, are accepted.

However, the emphasis in The Wellness Group is on looking at health insurance from a new perspective, recommending that it be restructured in many members’ cases to cover catastrophic illness only. The Wellness Group will help members who wish to make these rearrangements. This allows members to raise their deductibles and reduce their premiums, using their unlimited access to the group physicians and their free or reduced cost of services, to provide the protection and peace of mind they want from their primary care provider.

By adopting this new perspective, members avoid paying huge monthly payments to insurance companies in order to attempt to cover every health-care issue they may have. This approach also eliminates expensive deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance costs that add even more to the ever-increasing burden of health insurance.

The average insured American and the average uninsured American as recently as 2009 paid almost the same amount for their health care every year — $654 and $583, respectively — one for health insurance and the other directly to doctors, according to David Goldhill, writing in the Atlantic Magazine, “How American Health Care Killed My Father” (September 2009).

A growing number of primary care providers, including The Wellness Group, and their patients have begun a movement in America to fix the broken health-care system — a failed system that the government has proven itself to be as much of a problem in as a solution. The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was sold as a plan to solve many of health-care problems, but in fact imposes more than 20 new taxes on Americans (all of which have yet to be imposed upon Americans but will begin to be in 2013) and does little if anything to halt the uncontrolled spiral of health-care costs.

A single-payer, government-run system is a top down approach to the spiraling-out-of-control health-care system. The Wellness Group and other similar groups found in a growing number of cities in America represent a bottom-up, grassroots movement that promises to bring the cost of wellness down to earth again — one patient at a time.

Primary care — the front line of health care — covers 80 percent of the Americans’ illnesses. Yet this key part of health-care services is in danger of extinction as insurance companies and Medicare continue to lower what they pay for primary care services. This means less and less consultation time for patients with their doctor, and less and less attention paid to patients’ real needs, at a stage where treatments are far more effective and far less costly than they become when unattended conditions ramp up to serious illness.

Meanwhile, more and more of the premiums Americans pay are funnelled to the remaining 20 percent of medical procedures. Often these cases stem from the very same neglected conditions just mentioned that have now grown into full-blown medical crises. Such treatments are more often than not highly invasive, or are done on big, complex machines, making cost accountability and containment in this area far more difficult. Notice also that almost nothing in the way of preventives is payed for by these insurers — an amazing oversight. Could it actually be deliberate?

Those who attempt to use insurance to cover their every medical need — a kind of “learned dependency” that many have come to accept — are often paying more for the benefits they actually receive than they would if they simply paid for their medical services directly. In effect, those of us who are conditioned to think only in terms of health insurance to pay for medical care are subsidizing the health care of others. Enter The Wellness Group.

For a low monthly fee — for many, less than their monthly cell phone charges — members have unlimited access to The Wellness Group doctors and a host of other benefits.This allows members to change their insurance coverage to make it a safety net rather than their principle means of covering the cost of their health care. Members enjoy much more personal attention and time with their doctor — truly a higher standard of care and, in many cases, may save considerably more on insurance costs than their monthly membership fee.

This new approach to wellness works well for business owners, too. They can work with The Wellness Group to create a custom Wellness Group plan for themselves and their employees that may dramatically reduce their cost of insurance, and provide unlimited access to doctors for them and their employees.

The Wellness Group focuses on preventing and reversing disease, and on getting patients off drugs and into a healthy, nutritious lifestyle. The group offers a wide range of high potency supplements and IV chelation therapies, to fortify and cleanse the body, while also heeding the urgings of hippocrates, encouraging members to enjoy whole food as their very best medicine.

With existing benefits, plans for the new year to add other practitioners, and to offer a number of ongoing workshops such as cooking-from-scratch classes, yoga, food energetics, t’ai chi, raw food intensives for diabesity and heart disease reversal, and so on. The Wellness Group promises to be the Santa Barbara nexus of wellness. To provide the time and attention every member deserves, membership is limited. When the membership becomes fully subscribed, Drs. Saunders and Salcido will be unable to accept new patients.

Those who are interested in joining or finding out more about The Wellness Group, click here are urged to do so by visiting or by calling the membership line at 805.845.3220, or by dropping by or writing the office at 601 E. Arrellaga St., Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Inquiries are welcomed. Join us and experience our higher standard of care.