An Explanation of Tracy’s Financial Policy
As a “different kind of dietitian”, Tracy is passionate about what she does, and feels she has a calling to provide the highest quality natural health care possible. It means NOT having 8 or more patient consults a day, or God forbid, even more! Tracy only “sees” a few patients each day, and each patient receives several hours of research/protocol time behind the scenes. It is absolutely a full time job when done well. No two patients are the same. Because her services are unique, it’s hard to fit into the mainstream fee schedule. We have prepared this page to answer questions you or your family members may have about the rationale for our financial policies. If, after reading this, you still have questions, feel free to ask during your Get Acquainted Session.
Why Tracy Does Not Accept Insurance Assignment
First off, when Tracy had a face-to-face private practice in the early 2000’s, insurance typically only covered her services when patients had diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Now that Tracy has a virtual practice, insurance doesn’t cover any virtual/telephone/Skype work. So it is 100% out of pocket. Before you abandon us though, think about what it has cost you to be sick. How much have you spent in time off work or school, drugs and/or surgery, and doctor visits? Is it helping? Tracy’s goal is to identify the root cause(s) of disease and unwind the disease process. You may spend a fair amount of money to get well, but once you know the puzzle pieces, you are set out to fly on your own. The savings outweighs the costs of chronic illness long term.
We fully understand the financial challenges that truly getting well involves, but Lord willing, this isn’t a lifetime endeavor. The vast majority of patients have significant improvements within a few months.
Secondly, when practitioners bill health insurance companies directly, the providers are required to become “participating providers”. The provider must sign a contract that allows the insurance company to determine which services they will and will not provide and how much they can charge for those services, regardless of whether the fees are reasonable or applicable to that practice. Participating providers are also required to accept discounted fees for their services, and they cannot bill the patient for the difference between their fee and what the insurance company will pay. At the same time, the participating provider’s office overhead costs have increased dramatically because of the staff, time, and equipment necessary for processing and tracking claims. In all of this, its not the practitioner reaping in the profits; look to the health insurance companies and the salaries of their top executives as they rise to record levels.
Third, in general, insurance companies are not focused on any preventive or wellness services. They are heavily invested in the conventional model of health care that too often relies on drugs and surgery. Tracy is committed to the functional medicine model that addresses the underlying causes of your symptoms with specific nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
Most practitioners cope with all of this by keeping their office visits very brief, so that they can see many patients within a given time frame. When their clinic becomes unprofitable, it must be supported by another institution. Most primary care medical clinics are not self-sustaining financially and have had to merge with hospitals whose expensive, high-tech surgical and diagnostic procedures are priced to keep the clinics afloat financially. We can’t have it both ways meaning we can’t have GOOD health care at discounted rates, in a 7 to 15 minute office visit with a patient.
Why Tracy offers bundles of sessions, not one session at a time
If the two of you agree in your Get Acquainted session that you are a good medical fit, you’re both either in or we’re out. Both of you will need to commit to the process. You’ll be asked to make diet and lifestyle changes, get current lab work, complete functional medicine testing…….and Tracy will be reviewing your past medical history & connecting the seemingly unrelated dots, combing over your past labs looking for patterns, researching your condition, building custom protocols or treatment therapies…. and there’s no sense doing all of that if you don’t follow up.
At the current time, Tracy only offers bundles of sessions. You likely have been on a slow road to illness and it takes time to unwind the disease process as well. You may have a sense of how long you’ve been sick and what it might take to heal…and Tracy can help guide the decision making process as well.
By now you’re getting the message that this isn’t easy work. Each package has research and protocol development time built in to account for the hours it takes behind the scenes to get you well. Tracy decided a long time ago she didn’t want to be a book keeper so rather than trying to keep track of every 15 minutes with you, it’s done via a package which then dictates how long you’ll be working together and the number of sessions you have available. We do hope you to understand that identifying root causes and preventive health care takes considerable time and expertise on the part of the health care practitioner and as they say “time is money”. But we think money well spent.
About the Charges for Tracy’s Services
You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village” and Tracy’s practice is no different. It may appear that Tracy is a solo-preneur but in fact she relies on 5 staff to keep the world moving forward. And, there are no functional medicine training’s in Montana – they are all out of state and each involves several thousand dollars per training. Additionally there is malpractice insurance, her own health care as a self employed professional, fees for functional medicine forums, new textbooks, training’s via the web, office supplies and such. Tracy chooses this work because it is her passion and calling but you must know we walk in an expensive world. In fact, most who choose to practice via self employment know that their income will be substantially lower than it would be if they were practicing in a more conventional manner that is fully supported by the healthcare reimbursement system.
Why We Sell Nutritional Supplements and How We Price Them
Tracy recommends nutritional supplements as an adjunct to dietary and lifestyle modification. This approach is central to the well-researched and science-based practice of functional medicine. They work, with minimum or few side effects. Tracy recommends professional grade, therapeutic, quality nutritional supplements as a service to her patients via a few distributors. Tracy has the opportunity to make 30% off each supplement sold; she chooses to split that with her patients who all receive a 15% discount off their order. Putting together each patients protocol takes time and even more so, knowledge of the thousands of products out there. It seems to be a fair deal. Others have commended her pricing policy as ethical and fair. You are welcome to shop around. At the time of this writing the FDA doesn’t monitor supplements. That is good news and bad news – it’s become the wild, wild west as unscrupulous companies do anything to make a buck. The professional quality supplement products are more costly….but it’s because they voluntarily do 3rd party testing of both raw and finished products, and they meet GMP and US Pharmacopia standards. Those don’t come cheap.
PS – if you were looking for actual package prices, they aren’t on the website. The 1st step is to see if you and Tracy are indeed a good medical fit. The 2nd step is to determine which bundle seems most appropriate given your medical history. During your Get Acquaintedsession, all the packages and prices will be discussed.