Functional Medicine FAQs
Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease.
Each symptom or diagnosis may be one of many contributions to an individual’s illness. For example, depression can be caused by one or more factors in an individual’s life. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on an individual’s lifestyle, genes, and environment, and only a treatment specific to that individual will address all of these drivers.
There are several ways that functional medicine differs from conventional medicine:
- Functional medicine is proactive, focusing on the prevention of diseases and is cost-effective in the long term. Conventional medicine is reactive, focusing on detecting diseases once you already have them. This can become very expensive in the long term.
- Functional medicine focuses on the biochemical uniqueness of an individual while conventional medicine often treats people based on algorithms.
- Functional medicine is holistic while conventional medicine is specialized.
- Functional medicine focuses on the root cause of a disease while conventional medicine treats the symptoms, not the disease.
- Functional medicine is patient-centric and health-oriented, whereas conventional medicine is physician-centered and disease-oriented.
- Functional medicine treats chronic illnesses while conventional medicine focuses on acute illnesses.
Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just a set of symptoms or diseases. Functional medicine practitioners use a holistic approach to understand who you are, knowing that every person is unique and should have a medical plan that is custom fit for their needs.
To put it simply, functional medicine helps you prevent ever getting a disease, rather than merely detecting and treating a disease after you develop one.
Functional medicine by nature is a very individualized and personalized approach to medicine. Between balancing large patient rosters, paperwork, and dealing with insurance premiums, primary care physicians simply don’t have the time to dig deeper into each patients’ medical history. Instead, their focus tends to be on symptoms, not causes.
No. However, Boston Direct Health negotiates significantly lower costs for medications and lab tests.
Boston Direct Health specializes in functional medicine and emboldens every patient to perform at their very best.
To make best utilization of your time for your visit, you should have medical records and recent labs sent to our office prior to your Functional Medicine Evaluation. Our office staff can help facilitate getting records sent. We ask that patients fill out the “Medical Symptom Questionnaire” and the “Three Day Food Journal” on the patient portal: http://bostondirecthealth.md-hcom. Come with a list of questions and goals for the visit.
You can inquire about pricing by calling our office, 617-304-1965 ext1.
Direct Primary Care (DPC) FAQs
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is an innovative medical philosophy that eliminates third party insurance. With DPC, patients can contact their physicians directly for their health care needs. With direct primary care, doctors can keep their practices small and maintain a roster of 400-600 patients as opposed to traditional medical practices, where doctors often juggle 2000-3000 patients.
According to Qliance Medical Management, Inc., patients enrolled in a Direct Primary Care program have on average:
- 80% fewer surgeries,
- 62% fewer references to specialists,
- 59% fewer ER visits, and
- Spend 30% fewer days admitted in a hospital.
DPC’s follow a monthly membership fee – usually between $75-$125. You are then given immediate access to a private physician. Boston Direct Health’s membership covers ingrown toenail removal, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and many services in between. To put this into perspective, US health spending is estimated to have reached $11,559 per person in 2019, and increased at an average rate of 3.5% per year over teh 2007-2017 period. DPC memberships cost a fraction of that.
The biggest difference is accessibility. A study conducted by Merritt Hawkins, an AMN Healthcare company, found that the average wait time for a new patient to see a specialist in Boston is 45 days. If they want to see their family doctor, the average wait time is 66 days. Instead of waiting sometimes more than 2 months to be seen, many patients instead go to the emergency room or urgent care to seek a faster – and usually much more expensive – solution.
Members of a DPC program are able to meet with their doctor on the same or following day, thus evading the process of waiting for their appointment entirely. Patients also enjoy unlimited office visits, no co-pays, and direct, unlimited communication via text, phone, email, or video chat. Outside of some procedures, medications, or labs, the only cost you incur by being a DPC patient is your membership fee.
In addition, traditional doctors spend an average of 15 minutes or less with their patients. Shorter visits increase the likelihood that patients leave with a prescription as opposed to physicians taking more time to determine the root causes of an illness.
Most traditional doctors dislike abbreviated visits, but they lack other options. A study by the American Medical Association that followed 57 US physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, orthopedics, and cardiology revealed that physicians spent 27% of their time seeing patients and 49.2% of their time doing paperwork. While seeing patients—for 15 minutes or less—they spend approximately 37% of that time doing paperwork as well.
DPC patients get a full hour with their physicians and none of that time is interrupted by insurance paperwork. That time is spent developing the physician-patient relationship. This allows for physicians to firmly understand your medical needs, your passions and goals, and to foster a vested interest in your well-being. Having a strong relationship with your physician can allow your doctor to provide more accurate advice on subjects such as nutritional counseling, lifestyle care, preventive care, and your overall medical well-being. There’s no putting a price on that level of care.
Boston Direct Health is one of Boston’s only practices that uses the Direct Primary Care model and emphasizes functional medicine and lifestyle care. We also specialize in nutritional counseling, preventive care, and help you achieve your performance goals.
DPCs can lower costs because of their simplicity. Patients pay a monthly fee that’s often much less than a traditional premium (and that’s not including co-pays and deductibles, which are overhead costs that DPCs don’t have). Boston Direct Health membership fees also cover a wide variety of your basic services and routine exams. They also negotiate significantly lower costs for medications and lab tests.
Urgent care visits, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions for serious medical problems are stressful and often confusing for patients and their loved ones. Reach out to a physician at Boston Direct Health. They will facilitate communication with your emergency and inpatient team.
Distance and circumstances permitting, we do our best to arrange a home visit for our patients when appropriate.
Board certified in Family Medicine, our physicians have undergone comprehensive training that allows us to handle most of your healthcare needs. However, in the event that you do need to see a specialist, we will help you find the right doctor and coordinate your care.
If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. A family member or caregiver can call us later so we can be in contact with the emergency room. For urgent problems that are not emergencies, you can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In many cases, we can diagnose and treat your need without a visit to the ER. Direct primary care has been shown to result in fewer ER visits for members because we can discuss urgent medical needs any time of the day or night, and you can see us the next day!
Today’s technology allows us to have virtual meetings, so you can talk to your physician wherever you are. We will help diagnose and treat any medical conditions that can be done by a virtual visit. If you have a condition that requires in-person evaluation and treatment, we will direct you to appropriate, nearby care, and coordinate a follow-up when you return home.
Our office is open 9am-5pm Monday through Friday for routine matters. Whether you call during or after business hours, you can expect the doctor to answer the phone or return your call shortly.
We do not accept insurance.
Yes, you do. Our medical practice is not a health insurance program. While direct primary care is more affordable than traditional health insurance, we strongly recommend that you maintain insurance (and/or Medicare). You will need medical insurance in case an unpredictable event affects your health, such as surgery, emergency care, and hospitalization. Not doing so can leave you financially vulnerable if these scenarios where to arise. To minimize costs, Direct Primary Care is often paired with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and/or a health savings account (HSA).
Direct Primary Care practices are changing the utilization of health insurance. Think of car insurance as an example. With your car, you cover yearly emissions tests, car maintenance such as oil changes and gas out of pocket. If you get into an accident, that’s when your automobile insurance kicks in.
Absolutely. We have opted-out Medicare, which means neither our practice nor the member can submit a claim to Medicare for reimbursement for primary care. Medicare or primary insurance payment for medications, blood work, imaging tests, specialty referrals and care, and hospitalization will continue according to your specific plan, without change.
If you have an HMO and are interested in joining, please contact us to discuss how to join.
Medical Aesthetics FAQs
Boston Direct Health is proud to be a popular Boston medical aesthetics practice providing some of the most well-known aesthetic treatments, including BOTOX®, dermal fillers, skin rejuvenation, skin tightening, and acne treatments.
We are located conveniently on 18 Newbury Street, centrally located off Newbury between Arlington and Berkely Back Bay neighborhood.