Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, we sell nutritional supplements. We recommend 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, which all of our professional staff have studied. We sell therapeutic, quality nutritional supplements as a service to our patients. With a few exceptions, we do not sell nutritional products of similar quality to those that are widely available over the counter. We purchase high-quality nutritional products from the top nutritional research laboratories in North America and Australia.
Many people who have contacted the office for our services have asked why we do not bill insurance directly when other medical and naturopathic providers do. I fully understand the financial challenge this presents to some patients and I wish there were a way for us to bill your insurance company. Unfortunately, at this time, there is not. Here is why:
When clinics bill health insurance companies directly, doctors are required to become participating providers. The doctors 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. They are heavily invested in the conventional model of health care that too often relies on drugs and surgery. We are committed to the functional medicine model that addresses the underlying causes of your symptoms with specific nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
A participating provider must agree to accept fees the insurance company establishes, regardless of whether the fees are reasonable or applicable to that practice. In general, these established fees cover the actual cost of the briefest (and we believe the lowest quality) care. Doctors who are participating providers are 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. Therefore, the clinic must write off the difference, often as much as 50% or more of the doctor’s fee for service. 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 today’s healthcare environment, the actual cost for doctors to provide services continues to rise, while the percentage of reasonable fees that insurance payments cover is declining. At the same time, the profits of health insurance companies and the salaries of their top executives continue to rise to record levels.
Most doctors and clinics cope with the requirements of being participating providers 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. Most other independent clinics keep office visits very brief and see many people per hour. Ironically, some of my patients complain about their extremely brief and unsatisfactory office visits in other medical practices described, while at the same time expressing frustration that I do not accept insurance. Unfortunately, I have found that I cannot be a participating provider in the insurance networks and provide time-intensive, well-researched, expert intensive care that I do.
The lab companies we use for conventional and functional lab testing accept most insurance plans. We can review lab coverage in more detail once we collect your insurance information at the time of the visit. In the case our lab companies do not accept your insurance or you do not have insurance coverage, we have affordable in house testing rates.
When you become a patient you automatically receive an email inviting you to create a login with the secure Power2 Patient Portal. Here, when logged in, you can safely access your medical records including lab results, handouts, treatment notes and more. You can also request appointments through the patient portal.
I am committed to being on time with patient appointments in order to prevent you, and other patients, from unnecessary waiting. If you arrive late to the office for your consultation, your appointment will end at the scheduled time and you will be charged for the length of the scheduled visit.
Because we have extended visits with our patients and limited availability, it is extremely important that our patients avoid missing their appointments or cancel last minute. In order to avoid confusion, we have outlined our cancellation policies below.
- Initial Visit: In the event you miss your initial visit or cancel less than 3 days before your scheduled appointment you will be charged $150.
- Follow-up: In the event you miss your initial visit or cancel less than 2 days before your scheduled appointment you will be charged a $50 fee. We will make every effort to remind you of your appointment by both phone and email, however this is ultimately your responsibility. Please feel free to call with any questions or concerns related to our cancellation policy.
- All payments are due at the time of service. We accept FSA, HSA, HRA cards that contain a credit logo (Visa, MasterCard) and all major credit cards and checks as payment for service.
- In order to secure your schedule an appointment we require all patients to have an active credit card on file. Nothing will ever be charged to your card unless you violate the cancellation policy.
We are an out of network provider with all insurance providers, except Liberty Health Share. We do not submit claims for payment to insurance providers, however we will provide patients with a receipt for your services which you may submit to your insurance carrier and when applicable, include appropriate medical codes for reimbursement.
We are passionate about what we do and we feel that we have a calling to provide as many people as possible with the highest quality natural health care possible. Just as our services are unique to this region, our financial policies set us apart from mainstream medicine.
The consultation fee includes time spent before and after your visit for Dr. Sonza to review any past lab work and all paperwork and intake forms, including a 60-90 minute face-to-face consult with a complete functional physical exam. Please call the office for the consultation fee. Follow-up visits usually last 30-60 minutes depending on complexity and time to review lab work.
We require all new patients to have a primary care physician to cover emergencies, routine care and screenings. Dr. Sonza works as a functional medicine consultant in conjunction with your current health care team, not as a replacement for your primary care physician.