We do not bill insurance, Medicare or Medicaid and cannot accept any insurance as a form of payment.
Many new and prospective patients have asked why we do not bill insurance directly when other health care providers do. We fully understand the financial challenge this presents to some patients. Unfortunately, at this time, it is not feasible for us to participate in the insurance networks (and many Colorado insurance companies do not allow naturopathic doctors to participate).
Insurance companies determine which services doctors are able to provide and how much they can charge for those services. In general, insurance companies are not focused on preventive or wellness services. They are heavily invested in the conventional model of health care that relies on drugs, procedures and surgeries – and that's what they're willing to pay for. As doctors who practice natural medicine, we are firmly committed to prevention, wellness and non-invasive solutions to health problems. Our goal is to address the underlying causes of your symptoms with specific nutritional and lifestyle recommendations — interventions that are generally not reimbursed by insurance companies.
Furthermore, the staff, time and equipment required for processing and tracking insurance claims substantially adds to a clinic's overhead costs. Most doctors and clinics cope with these requirements by keeping their office visits very brief, so that they can see as many patients as possible within a given time frame. Simply stated, we cannot participate in the insurance networks while still providing the time-intensive and personalized care that we do.
Although we do not bill insurance directly, most patients with Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flex Spending Accounts (FSA) can use their respective cards to pay for services, lab tests and supplements through our office.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in clinical sciences such as pharmacology, gastroenterology, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, gynecology, psychiatry, dermatology and minor surgery, plus all aspects of diagnosis using labs, imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound) and physical examination.
A naturopathic doctor completes an internship with over 1,100 hours of patient care and takes rigorous two-part board exams to become licensed or registered by a state or Canadian province. Some naturopathic doctors obtain board certification in the areas of oncology, endocrinology, pediatrics or other specializations.
NDs speak and understand the language of conventional medicine, but they have a broader set of tools and insights to offer their patients. Naturopathic medical education places a greater emphasis on healthy lifestyles, natural therapies and disease prevention, and less emphasis on pharmaceutical therapy. NDs also learn therapies such as Chinese medicine, physical medicine, counseling and homeopathy. Conventional medical school curriculum is based heavily on drug or surgery treatments, with few or no courses offered in nutrition or botanical medicine.
Where NDs differ greatly from MDs is in their philosophy and treatment approach. Naturopathic doctors correct the underlying disturbances that are contributing to a person's illness rather than only suppressing symptoms. NDs prioritize gentle, non-invasive therapies first and use drug treatments or surgery referrals only when necessary. Prevention is paramount to naturopathic practice; instead of waiting for disease to surface, NDs work to intervene before it happens. Naturopathic doctors are known for spending a considerable amount of time with their patients, which is in contrast to the short appointments that are common in the conventional setting.
With all of their similarities and differences, both conventional and naturopathic medicine play important roles in our health care system, and both have strengths and limitations.