As a holistic practitioner who offers health coaching I am frequently asked why I don't accept insurance. The truth is that right now we aren't eligible, although this will soon be changing due to the rise in certification and demand. More and more physicians have been adding health coaches to their practice, the need is there and they have the knowledge. We call these practitioners functional medicine Doctors. They realize they don't have the time during an appointment to go into detail about what you need to be doing with regards to nutrition - but a health coach or holistic practitioner does. Enter in a whole new field of modern day practitioners that are helping people get back to optimal health.
You see, the insurance model is broken. It just isn't a great fit for naturopathic medicine, holistic practitioners, health coaches and various others in the medical field. We are looking a the 'new model of medicine' and it's taking off fast. In my clinical practice I realized I needed to not only be a successful practitioner I also needed to be a successful clinician, which means more than just helping people, it means getting it right and making it as convenient as possible. House calls, skype sessions, phone sessions and more email access. When do you get that kind of attention from a traditional MD? Times are changing. You just can't shove holistic, integrative or functional nutrition at a conventional model. There is a ton of education, coaching and even occasional counselling involved. The insurance model doesn't allow for that kind of extensiveness, which means that if I do offer insurance you get way less bang for your buck. I still have to be board certified, don't get me wrong, but to offer you coverage means to limit your access to important information and restricting your time with me. Truly tailored and individualized programs simply cannot be put in a box. Right now our system is just not set up for preventative treatments.
Let me explain a little better. Preventative medicine or treatments such as health coaching practices are looking at whole body health. We are looking at preventing the need for the treatments that insurance covers. If that isn't an outdated model I don't know what is. Isn't it better to be preventing the disease rather than having to treat it?
It's time to change the way medical practices are looking at health. Operating on a therapeutic order, attending to diet first, a holistic minded nutritionist or certified health coach as a part of each medical practice. These should be a staple in all clinics. When using these in conjunction with conventional methods the become stronger. Nutritional counseling is as important as procedures as far as conventional and functional medicine are concerned.
Naturopathic Doctors, Holistic practitioners, nutritionists, functional medicine Doctors, certified health coaches and the like can all be a bit like finding the right hairstylist. You want to find the person who is a great it for you and not for your friend. Chose the correct match as they can have very different approaches. Just as no one dietary theory will work for everyone, no one practitioner will have all the answers or jive with everyone.
Finding someone who understands the role of diet and chronic disease, like a holistic practitioner or health coach is important. While not taking insurance may seem like a bad idea to some, to me the idea of not being limited in my practice, having availability across Canada and the USA, can be very beneficial to not only my clients but also patients in general.
Give people an environment where their health can flourish instead of being suppressed.
Holistic is a term which is being redefined. The language around health and wellness has been quite limited. People are realizing it isn't about lotions, potions and gimmicks. It's about a total wellness. Mind. Body. Spirit.
The previous labels were not truly honoring the level of expertise that naturopathic Doctors, chiropractors, functional medicine and holistic practitioners had to offer. It downplayed what they had to contribute in the way of a more holistic approach. It didn't mean just drinking a magic tea or eating tons of kale. It Means so much more.
What about dieticians? You see this applies to the role of nutritionist or health coach. Whereas a dietician may have the advantage of being a member of a particular college and the benefit of offering insurance coverage, they do not however have the freedoms to treat you on a holistic level. Their hands are tied. They follow an outdated food plate, in most cases they do not deviate from the outdated information they once learned. They haven't the benefit of the holistic training or nutritional counseling that is just as in depth and almost more important when it comes to deciphering the root cause and finding much needed holistic approach. I have met a few holistic dieticians who 'get it', I wish we had more of those around.
I feel the need to clarify, when choosing a health coach, nutritionist or holistic practitioner, you want to be certain they are board certified and have the proper insurance coverage for their practice. You want to know what is within their scope of practice and what their area of expertise is. Sometimes you need more than what they are able to offer. A good practitioner will have a referral program set up, they know when something is out of their scope of practice and arent afraid to refer you to an expert.
Remember, we are redefining the term holistic. Less hocus pocus and more science mixed with function. We need to start a new conversation and discover what holistic REALLY means. It doesn't mean you use a natural medicine, it's a whole philosophy. It's identifying the root cause and solving it. It's one of the areas that doesn't seem to get a lot of focus in private practice but deserves to have a front row seat.
Did I mention I get to say no? Yup that's right I can choose who to say yes or no to when it comes to taking on a client. No I don't discriminate, but if I can't help you r or don't feel you are a good fit then I wont waste my time or yours. I also won't team up with a physician who I don't believe in or a specialized treatment that I haven't tried first. Identifying who is a good fit for my practice is important to me. Not having to work with everyone, having the ability not only to specialize but also to work with those who have the same philosophy as me, makes my practice seamless, especially when I need to make a referral. This ensures that my clients have the best results possible.
The structure of my programs are not typical. I offer group and one - on - one coaching, which is set up according to the program level and individual needs. In a conventional model you are rushed, 15 minutes would be great if you actually got the 15 minutes and felt that the attending physician was actually listening to you. How often have you waited for hours for that 15 minutes of fame only to leave more confused than when you went in, or with a gut feeling that maybe they got it wrong? How would it feel to have an entire hour, twice a month? All that time to discus which ever issues are bothering you with regards to stress at work, diet or health issues. Can you imagine? Not having to worry about packing it into 15 minutes then leaving the appointment ad remembering what you just forget..too late. This is why I created two programs. My 90 day and my 6 months intensive. We sit down and discuss which best suits your needs best, if you are working with a physician and want me to work with them as well I can do this at no extra charge. i have many local physicians who incorporate this into their practice and refer their patients to me.
Realizing that this is a process, allows a lot of time for education and individualized treatment.
Another area of my practice that you will notice is different is my commitment to not sell supplements. I'm not saying they are all bad, but I see far to many get involved with an MLM company and push the line like it's gospel. Losing sight of the whole reason for these programs altogether, real food. As highly controversial in this industry I made the commitment to educate through nutrition. Most of what we get can be had via food, good food combining and healing the gut. Yes, sometimes we require a boost, but that can be addressed if and when it is necessary. What little supplements I do recommend I refer out. This means I don't sell them, no conflict of interest. No financial benefit to me at all, this way you know you are getting what you need, not feeding a bank account. I feel that this is an ethical issue that will need to be addressed as this profession grows. Not having to manage a supplement line means more time to research with an open mind, more benefit for you. Your success means being able to offer more in my programs, not less.
Want to book a consultation and see what this is all about?
The philosophies work, it's the model that needs to change.
The current model could be the obstacle to the cure.
Naturopathic, chiropractic, and functional medicine are the staple needed. Supportive fields such as health coaching, nutritionists and integrative health are the evolution.
We need to almost be modern day shaman connecting the mind, body and spirit.
The future of medicine and supportive therapies is growing beyond the body, healing those systems that have been damaged along with our health and restoring them.
Time to give people a situation they can thrive in.