GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is functional medicine?

The functional medicine model of care is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.   

Functional medicine looks upstream to determine the cause of your symptoms and works to diminish inflammation, rather than making a diagnosis that needs a prescription. In functional medicine, we may that find one condition has many different causes and one cause may result in many different conditions. For more information check out the Institute for Functional Medicine

What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse that has completed a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and has advanced clinical training well beyond their nursing preparation. Nurse practitioners are required to undergo rigorous national certification, periodic peer review, clinical outcomes evaluations and adhere to a code of ethical practices. A nurse practitioner’s training sets them apart from other health care providers because of the unique emphasis on the health and well-being of the whole person. A nurse practitioner’s education is focused on health promotion, disease prevention, and health counseling. Nurse practitioners are able to order and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays. They are able to diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions and are able to prescribe medications as needed. In South Dakota, nurse practitioners collaborate with physicians in all specialties to ensure optimal care for a patients’ health and healing, however, they are licensed and credentialed to provide independent care and services. Nurse practitioners specialize in a certain area of healthcare, I am certified as Family Nurse Practitioner. For further information see The American Association of Nurse Practitioners

What conditions do you treat?

All ongoing health conditions can be improved with functional medicine. Examples of specific conditions include allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, adrenal disorders, anxiety, brain fog, cognitive decline, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and leaky gut. Addition diagnosis include fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, gluten sensitivity, hypertension, headaches, insomnia and other sleep disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, nutritional deficiencies, and thyroid disorders.

How important are vitamins and supplements in a functional medicine treatment plan?

Certain basic supplements are almost always recommended, but it is not required that you purchase them through the clinic. I work to keep supplement recommendations to a minimum and for the shortest time possible. My primary goal is to formulate a diet plan for you that will help you obtain maximum nutrients from your diet. I also work to make sure you are digesting your food properly so that you receive optimal nutrition from the food you are eating. In most cases, I will order testing which will help determine exactly what is needed so that you do not take unnecessary supplements. I do provide access to quality supplements that have personally vetted to guarantee quality and reduce potential reactions.In my own experience with supplements, many of the over-the-counter supplements made my symptoms much worse, presumably because they are contaminated and not FDA regulated. 

What do you offer that tradition healthcare providers do not?

A typical visit with your primary care provider (PCP) is between 10 and 15 minutes. They have sufficient time to say ‘Hello’, ask a few questions about your symptoms and then they must quickly make a diagnosis and from there give you a prescription before they move on to the next patient. You are left wondering if they even have the right diagnosis? You start the prescription which sometimes does help your initial symptoms but now you have new side-effects and you need another prescription to deal with the side-effects. It’s a never-ending cycle and you aren’t getting better. I  take the time to get to know you, find out what your goals are, review your current symptoms and review the events in your life that may have contributed to those symptoms. From there, I work with you to develop a personalize plan for testing and for healing so that you being to heal instead of having your symptoms continue to worsen.

SCHEDULING AND VISIT QUESTIONS

How do I schedule an appointment?

During our Clarity Call, if you choose to be seen, I will set up an appointment for you and register you on the patient portal.  

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, check or credit card are accepted

Can you be my primary care provider?

Unfortunately, I am not considered a primary care provider. A primary care provider provides your annual preventative care such as pelvic exams, mammograms, colonoscopies, and immunizations. They are also available in the case of an acute illness like strep throat or minor injuries and they manage ongoing prescriptions for things like high blood pressure or diabetes. 

What is your cancellation policy?

You will receive an email and text reminder prior to your scheduled visit. There is a 72 hour cancellation policy for your first visit and a 24 hour cancellation policy for all visits after that point. You will be charged a $50 cancellation fee if you cancel after these appointment windows. 

What if I am late for my visit?

We will start as soon as you arrive and end at the scheduled time. 

Do you do virtual visits?

Yes! The first visit needs to be in-person and as long as there are no significant concerns that come up during that visit, follow up visits can be virtual. If we decide virtual visits are good option for you we will use a secure, HIPAA complaint video conferencing system. Please Note: There is a minimum requirement of one in-person visit per year.

Do you see children?

At this time, I am only seeing children over the age of 12. 

Do you provide urgent or after-hours care?

No, it is necessary for you to have a primary care provider who manages your urgent care needs.

Will you complete my disability paperwork?

I do not complete disability paperwork and am also unable to see any work-comp related claims.

BILLING AND INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Will you take my insurance?

I am considered an out-of-network provider for insurance. I will provide a receipt for your visit that you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement. Depending on your insurance, co-pays, and deductible, your insurance provider will reimburse you directly, though this can never be guaranteed. 

Why don’t you accept insurance?

I definitely understand the financial challenge that not accepting insurance presents to patients. Unfortunately, the current insurance environment has been designed in such a way that it is very difficult to provide more than a 10 or 15-minute visit. Insurance companies require providers to sign an agreement with them that dictates what a provider can and cannot do and how much that provider will be paid. Insurance companies typically are not focused on preventative or wellness services and dictate what tests can be ordered and prefer that prescriptions are always given to treat a particular disease. In order to spend the necessary time with each patient, I have chosen not to accept insurance. 

Do you take Medicare?

I have ‘opted-out’ of Medicare and therefore I am not able to accept payments from Medicare. If you have Medicare, you will have to pay out of pocket for the visit. However most of the labs that are ordered are still covered by Medicare.  You will sign an agreement prior to the visit stating that you will not submit the bill for our visit to Medicare. However, this does not cause you to forfeit your Medicare benefits for services elsewhere.

Do you take Medicaid?

Unfortunately, I do not see any patients on Medicaid.

Can I use my Healthcare Savings Account (HSA)?

Please check with your employer for information regarding your specific HSA. With an itemized billing summary for the visit, you typically are able to use your HSA account.

Is the cost of testing/labs included in the cost of the visit?

Any testing or labs ordered are an additional cost. Because I use third-party vendors,  the lab bill can be submitted to your insurance company for partial coverage. 

How much will labs cost?

The cost of labs varies greatly depending on what is needed. I will review all lab orders with you and discuss cost concerns. I work to keep the cost at a minimum and labs are usually partially covered by insurance.