Frequently Asked Questions
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. A consultation in Functional Medicine is nothing like your usual trip to the doctor. Functional Medicine doctors bring all the scientific evidence-based research and training from years in medical school and residency and add what’s been missing for far too long: humanity. From the beginning, the doctor and patient collaborate as partners as the doctor listens and understands that the entirety of that patient’s life has come to bear on why they present for care. Patient-centered rather than disease-centered care is the essence of the Functional Medicine model as it is the patient who must feel empowered in regaining their own health and incorporating new behaviors. Functional Medicine doctors enter the therapeutic relationship as your partner and never your decision maker.
Functional Medicine differs greatly from the traditional Western medical model as we acknowledge each patient as an individual with unique genetic predispositions, biochemical make-up, environmental exposures, lifestyle choices, social stressors, and spiritual beliefs. There simply isn’t a treatment that will work for every patient with a given set of symptoms and together we must get to the root of imbalance that is manifesting as illness or disease. Recognizing the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit, treatment addresses all three. Healing plans blend traditional Western Medicine with holistic modalities to focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise plans; when indicated, Functional Medicine incorporates the latest laboratory testing to create a customized approach with prescribed combinations of pharmaceuticals and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
Can Dr. O'Brien be my Primary Care Provider?
Dr O’Brien is a Functional Medicine consultant for adults who works with your primary care physician to help address the underlying cause of illness and reduce your need for pharmaceuticals and frequent visits and to improve your overall health in ways your PCP may not utilize. She does not, at this time, provide the screening tests (PAP, mammogram, etc), well visits, vaccinations and other annual services that your primary doctor provides. It is always best to contact our office with your reason for visiting before making an appointment. Whenever possible, Dr O’Brien would be thrilled to see you and partner in your journey toward whole health.
Does Dr. O'Brien accept my insurance?
Dr O’Brien is dedicated to filling the void found in our healthcare system by shifting the focus from insurance corporation demands to a meaningful relationship with each and every patient. Dr O’Brien is not a participating provider in any insurance plan, therefore, our office does not accept or bill insurance. However, we will provide a detailed “superbill” for the services performed and you can submit this to your insurance carrier. Many patients find their particular policy provides for coverage with an out-of-network provider. It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company to review the coverage rules, requirements and policies. Important exceptions are Medicaid and Medicare. Our services cannot be billed to either of these programs.
What are the fees? What forms of payment are accepted?
To review the Fee Schedule and what is covered in each appointment, please view the Fees page.
Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, AmericanExpress, Discover, and your HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account) cards are all accepted.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
New patients, please contact our office to share the reason for your visit. Alternatively, you may click Registration and begin the process of completing your intake forms online and submitting through the patient portal.
Please note any prior medical records (including labs, pathology, etc) should be obtained and sent to our office for Dr O’Brien to review. We want your valuable time and financial investment to be spent developing a relationship and creating a plan for your healing. Bring all medications, supplements, shakes/nutritional products with you to your consultation. Spouses/partners are welcomed and encouraged.
Existing patients will normally be given a journal of some sort to track symptoms, diet, exercise, etc in response to the treatment plan we created together. It is very important for you to complete these journals and to bring them with you to all appointments as they are key for Dr O’Brien to make changes, add interventions, and work with you as partner in achievement of your goals.
Ready to start your journey to whole health? We’d love to partner with you!