What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine, rather than targeting individual symptoms, focuses on the optimal functioning of the entire body and its organs. It addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach in partnership with understanding the conditions and history in which the disease manifested. Lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors all have a direct influence on long-term health and chronic health issues.
Do you treat "x" disease?
By its very nature, functional medicine is really not focusing on disease “x” or disease “y”, but is focused on the underlying basic physiology, organ systems, lifestyle confounders, and external forces that can inhibit or otherwise disturb a well-functioning physiology. Of course, disease states do matter and may require targeted treatment but we never lose our focus on the underlying root cause as the ultimate driver of disease. Dr. Christie has training in traditional medicine as well as advanced training in functional medicine. In addition, she is adding to this training on a regular basis. She does not have a singular focus, for example, just on hormones (ie a hormone only clinic) or only on detox (ie detox only IV clinics). Instead, she has a broad approach to work at a systems level – which may very much involve hormonal support, improving detoxification, absolving micronutrient imbalances – in order to achieve wellness.
Thus by addressing physiology and basic systems, we are not really limited to specific diseases since improving these issues will improve health in a deep and sustainable way. With advanced training in hormonal balancing, thyroid management, adrenal management, nutritional issues, gut issues including leaky gut and SIBO and more, we can help patients improve their situation in fundamental ways.
We realize that taking a functional medicine approach to health and wellness is a big commitment on the part of our patients but we have seen just how life-changing it can be. It is very exciting to see patients improve as they move on their health journey!
How long does it take to get results?
Results vary by each person. Some people feel dramatic improvement within the first month, others may take a bit longer. Our standard programs are for a minimum of 3 – 6 months. Remember, your body didn’t fail overnight. Years of stress and illness takes its toll and it takes a proper amount of time to restore. On average it takes one month of repair for each year you’ve suffered from a specific problem. Please know that there is no guarantee of results and individual results may vary.
Are internet/telemedicne consultations available?
Yes! We have telemedicine appointments available although patients do need to be seen in person at least once per year.
How long are the consultations?
Initial new patient consultations are 90 minutes. This may sound like a lot of time but it will go by very quickly.
Follow up lab result consultations will be scheduled for 60 minutes. If you have only 1 test we may schedule for less time if needed, which you and Dr. Christie would discuss in further detail. ION Panels require a 1 hour consultation (no exceptions).
Existing client follow up consultations can be scheduled for 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
How often are follow-up visits recommended?
Of course, this will ultimately depend on your particular clinical situation. The first follow-up visit is usually recommended in 1-3 months. After that they can vary according to need.
Can Dr. Christie be my primary care physician?
No. Christie MD Functional and Aesthetic Medicine is a consultative practice. We are not a primary care practice nor make claims to provide primary care. We do not provide for on-call medical coverage, and may be unable to address your medical concerns should our practice be closed. In addition, there are certain chronic medications that we are not able to manage (due to our practice being a consultative practice). Patients must have their own primary care provider.
Can I purchase supplements other than from Dr. Christie’s recommended supplement companies?
We recommend supplementsfrom high quality and reputable manufacturers that can only be purchased with a practitioner’s recommendation. The Wellness Plan that Dr.Christie creates has specific dosages based on the exact ingredients in that specific supplement. We do not provide any other recommendations nor advise on other specific blends or brands. Patients have the right to purchase other supplements from other manufacturers, buy directly from the company or to not use our online ordering. If you do so, please research carefully. Not all ingredients and manufacturers are equal, and we are unable to verify the quality of the product.
How much do the Wellness Programs/treatments cost after lab work?
Depending on the protocol created by Dr. Christie, the estimated cost on average is $200-$400 and depends on the length of the program.
What should I do if I am struggling sticking to my protocol?
We completely understand that many times, prioritizing a wellness plan requires major life changes. Our advice is to start one product at a time and take one day at a time. Often keeping a health journal allows one to stay on track and also shows the progression that we often forget when we need a little inspiration.
What is your cancellation policy?
We do NOT double book. Due to the length of each visit, we can see a limited number of patients in a day. In addition, Dr. Christie spends a considerable amount of time preparing for each patient visit (usually up to 1-2 hours prior to the visit). When someone cancels at the last minute, it is not possible to fill that void and that is a significant amount of loss for our practice. In addition, last-minute cancellations deny those on the cancellation list the opportunity to have their appointment.
If you need to reschedule or change your appointment, we ask that you give us AT LEAST 7 DAYS notice. Appointments cancelled/rescheduled within 48 hours or less (excluding holidays, Sat or Sun) of the appointment time will be charged a $150 cancellation fee.
How many labs are required per person?
The number of labs recommended will depend on your individual situation including the number of issues you struggle with and the length of time you have been experiencing them, but the range is generally 1-4 lab tests.
Do I have to take all the tests recommended at once? How long does it take to get lab results?
The results of your lab test(s) will be sent to Dr. Christie 2 to 4 weeks after mailing your specimens to the lab. After evaluation we will contact you to schedule a follow up appointment to review your results with Dr. Christie and she will recommend a wellness protocol. If all cannot be done at the same time, you and Dr. Christie will determine the sequence of labs to get over time.
Can I order my own test kits through the laboratories or can my primary care doctor order the tests for me?
Our authorized laboratories are only able to sell test kits to licensed practitioners. Dr. Christie uses specific lab tests from small lab companies that exclusively offer functional medicine tests. Larger national labs and local hospital based labs are not helpful for these types of highly specialized tests. Depending on the type of test, most of the samples required are saliva, urine or stool. These tests are completed by the client through easy test kits that are self-administered in the comfort of your own home. Some labs are blood tests and the phlebotomy can be done at a local laboratory.
What laboratories does Dr. Christie use and why?
The lab companies used for Christie MD clients have the highest testing standards and the most consistent lab results year after year. The accuracy of your lab findings and the quality of the professionals performing the lab tests is the key to you uncovering what’s going on. We are attempting to detect problems with the functioning of organ systems prior to the onset of a disease. Many times we see normal test results from traditional lab companies and our lab tests find many functional problems. There is a different approach for functional labs versus traditional lab testing. These are not replacements for regular medical tests – these tests are used to detect functional issues – rather than just medical problems.
How much do the lab tests cost?
Depending on the lab test, the cost is $200-$750 per lab kit and you can always start a program by ordering a single test.
Does Dr. Christie take any insurance?
We do not bill insurance companies. The cost of any services provided by Christie MD Functional and Aesthetic Medicine will be billed to you directly at the time of service. Dr. Christie is an out-of-network provider for all private insurance plans, and is not a participating provider with Medicare or Medicaid.
Non-Christie MD Functional Medicine medical expenses, such as lab tests and prescription medications, may or may not be covered by a member’s health insurance plan per that plan’s rules. If labs are covered by insurance, this will be discussed and determined between the client and the lab.
Christie MD Functional Medicine will not submit a medical claim to insurance on your behalf. We cannot assist you with claim resolution for our services.
Per your request, we will provide a superbill to you that lists CPT and diagnosis codes that you may submit to your insurance company. Our superbills provide the codes for consultations and lab tests. Medicare, however, cannot be submitted for reimbursement since we are non-participating with Medicare. Most insurance companies will not reimburse for supplements. Please note that we cannot guarantee reimbursement.
Why don't you accept insurance?
Christie MD provides an un-rushed, highly personalized care model that is absolutely not comparable with typical insurance models. In addition, the operational costs associated with medical insurance billing are staggering. Dr. Christie spends considerable time both before and after patient visits preparing for your visit as well as creating and updating the treatment plan. Insurance does not adequately compensate for this non-procedural medical work. In addition, adding additional staff to manage insurance billing would add to our costs. Because of these various factors, a functional medical practice with a hyper-focus on personalized patient care cannot sustain itself if it were to accept insurance.
What types of payment do you accept?
Methods of payment are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cash, and personal checks if received prior to the consultation.
How does Dr. Christie bill her clients?
Payment is due at time of consultation. If paying by credit card, the card number is required to be on file with our office prior to the consultation. Checks are accepted if received prior to the consult. We do not offer any type of discounts or payment plan.
Do I still need insurance if I’m Dr. Christie’s patient?
Yes. It is advised that all patients have at least catastrophic (high deductible) health
insurance since this practice is not a substitute for health insurance. Insurance can be helpful in that it can cover services that are not offered inside the office, including labs, x-rays, medications, emergency room and hospital care, and visits to a specialist.
Can I email Dr. Christie with any questions or concerns?
Dr. Christie is happy to answer brief questions you may have about your protocol or symptoms via the secure patient portal system. If it is a complex question which requires further back and forth communication, she will recommend scheduling a 15 minute consultation (or longer if needed). Please note, we do not share protected health information via email. Due to privacy laws, we must communicate via secure portal versus email.
If so what is the time frame in which I should expect an answer?
Dr. Christie and the office staff do our best to respond within 3 business days with the exceptions of holidays and when Dr. Christie is traveling. During those times the office staff will let you know there is a delay in responding. If you are experiencing a medical emergency you should contact your primary care practitioner or call 911.