Dr G Path to Wellness

OUR SERVICES:

Functional medicine treats each patient as an individual, and focuses on finding a healthy balance that is unique to each person, so there is no one type of disease or process that we specialize in treating.  We see all ages, all types of problems, all backgrounds.  All we ask is that you be motivated to find your path toward wellness. 

Each patient’s needs will be slightly different, but in general we offer the following types of visits:

Functional medicine consults:  We are here to help you with whatever you are facing, for example food allergies or intolerances, IBS, fibromyalgia, auto-immune disease, cancer, chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression, or arthritis.  Thorough one-on-one visits with Dr. G to help you understand the root of your health concerns, so that you can get back on track with your health.  In general, we recommend one hour for the first visit.  Follow up visits will be individualized to each patient’s needs. 

Health education and coaching:  As you are taking the first steps on your new plan, you may need a helping hand with the details, so we are here to help you overcome any obstacles you may encounter in your path.

Wellness planning:  If you are feeling good, but just want to keep it that way, we offer a wellness evaluation option, for all ages, to help you get the most out of your journey.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Health consults: mom’s health during pregnancy and lactation has a huge impact on both her and her baby’s wellness.  Let us help you get the best start possible for you and baby.    

Group visits: (in development)

INSURANCE POLICY:

I believe in putting you in charge of your health care choices, so that you can decide what type of care or treatment is right for you.  Unfortunately, the current insurance system treats health care more like a factory than a service, which does not empower good health for anyone.  Patients feel rushed and misunderstood, and doctors are pushed to follow checklists and bury themselves in a computer instead of having the time to fully understand each unique patient’s needs.  With current high deductibles and coverage exclusions, many people are paying for more and more of their care without having more say in the process.  In order to make the highest level of care available to as many people as possible, this practice does not take insurance at this time.  Instead, you pay directly for the time you spend with me, and there are no middlemen dictating what care you receive.  I work hard to keep the overhead low, with online resources and flexibility in how you arrange your care, so that my rates are reasonable.  Also, I am happy to provide an invoice for each appointment, so that you can submit it to your insurance for possible reimbursement if you wish.  I accept credit card, checks, and cash at your visit.
If you have an insurance plan that covers certain preventive services (pap smear, colonoscopy, etc) fully from an in-network provider, I recommend that you take advantage of that service with your regular in-network primary care provider and save my services for your less well-covered concerns.  I am happy to work in conjunction with any other providers you have to be sure that all your needs are met in the way that works best for you. 

SUPPLEMENT POLICY: 
I do not sell supplements or devices, so there will be no pressure sales here.  Gloria and I are happy to help you find reputable and affordable sources for supplements, if you need them, but our goal is to keep the number of medications (supplement or prescription) as low as possible at all times. 

LAB/TESTING POLICY: 
Sometimes history and physical are not enough to fully understand what is going on inside your body, so we will order labs when appropriate.  Each patient’s circumstances are unique, however, and there is no standard labwork that is required for everyone.  You and I will work together to decide which labs are necessary, and how often, as well as where they should take place.  When possible, we will get labs through a local, insurance-approved source for you, but there may be times when we need something less traditional as well.  No matter what I recommend, the final decision is always up to you, as it is your body and your health.  If you already have had bloodwork or other testing done through another provider, please bring it with you to your appointment, so that we do not accidentally duplicate something you have already done.  I am also happy to review any and all of your previous labs, to help you better understand what they mean for your health.  

FAQ SECTION:

Do I have to choose between Functional Medicine and my regular doctor?
No, one of the most beautiful things about functional medicine is that it is INCLUSIVE.  I am still a Family Medicine doctor, and I did not have to forsake everything I have learned in school and practice in order to pursue a functional practice.  Functional Medicine adds tools to my toolbox, and changes the way in which I think about disease, but it does not have to be one or the other.  My goal in this practice is to help people work with all of their healthcare providers to achieve the very best health outcome possible.  Many primary care services, such as pap smears and physicals, are covered fully by your insurance, so those services may make more sense from a traditional doctor’s office. 

Do you take insurance?
I do not take insurance at this time, although I am happy to give you an invoice at the end of each visit that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement (I am an “out of network provider”).  We are facing right now a crisis in health care delivery.  It feels like an assembly line, with doctors expected to follow the same impersonal guidelines with every patient, and the rules are dictated by the insurance companies, who are looking out for their own bottom line rather than your health.  I want you to be in charge of your health care choices, not your insurance company.  I work hard to keep my overhead low, so that root-cause medical care is available to all patients.

Can I afford it?
Yes.  If you place value on your health and you are willing to make changes in your life to feel better, then functional medicine can be one of the cheapest options available.  My goal in this practice is to put you in charge of your health, so that you do not need to see me (or any other doctor) very often.  I charge only for my time, and I will work with each and every patient to be sure that any labs that we order are necessary and meaningful, to keep your costs reasonable.  If you need medications or supplements, we will work together to keep it to a minimum and choose a supplier that is respectful of your budget. 

How does it work?
To start, you would come in for an initial visit to meet me and go over your health concerns, goals for the future, and intensive medical history.  At the end of that visit, we will come up with an initial plan for how to move forward, including a written list, online resources, and email support.  For most people, the initial visit will take an hour, but it does run over sometimes, so please do not schedule anything right after. 
After that first visit you will have lots of ideas and suggestions to help you start walking your new path toward health, but people often need a little extra help and support to speed up the transition.  I have recently allied with a wonderful wellness coach, Gloria Treister, who has decades of experience in helping people understand how to make healthy changes in their lives.  She may do a follow up call after your visit with me to check in and see if you need more support with diet, stress-management, supplements, or any other health questions. 
Typically you would come back for a follow up visit with me about 6-8 weeks after the initial visit, to make sure that everything is going well and to fine-tune any next steps.  Depending on your particular health concerns, this may be all that is needed, or you may have something that is going to take longer, such as lyme disease, that will need additional follow-ups over time.  Each patient’s situation is truly unique, so additional follow-up support is tailored to each person’s particular needs. 

How much does it cost?:
When I decided to do this, I wanted to keep this service comparable to what people were paying on their self-insured or high-deductible plans, so that everyone would have access.  Typical self-pay billing rates at my previous standard office were approximately $110 for a 20-30min visit, so I set that as my base rate ($220/hour).  I bill only for the care I provide.  I do not sell anything except my time and expertise, because I never want you to wonder if I recommend a plan or supplement because it gives me profit. 

    • Initial 1 hour visit = $220.  I understand that it is sometimes scary to try new things, so the first visit is a flat fee, even if we run over the 1 hour time allotted.  If it is a very uncomplicated patient that takes less than an hour, such as a young child with constipation, then you are only billed for the time that it takes.  For example, 45 min would be $165.
    • Follow up visits are billed at the same hourly rate ($220/hr), so it depends on the complexity of the visit.  A 30 minute visit to make minor adjustments would be $110, but if there are still a lot of complex issues it might take an hour, which would be $220.
    • Wellness/lifestyle coaching – Gloria will do a brief check-in call after the visit and help you with ordering any supplements you need without charge.  Additional coaching is $45/30minutes. 
    • Other costs:
      • Labs are done through insurance whenever possible, and only as needed.  All lab decisions are made as a team, and there is no markup on any lab kits that have to come through me.
      • Supplements, if needed, are your choice, but Gloria and I will help you find affordable options that are still high in quality. 

Once your path is established and you are making progress, you only see me as needed for new issues.  My goal is for you to “graduate” out and take over your own health, knowing that I am always here if you need me.