As of November 15th, I will no longer be filing claims for most medical insurance and will be seeing patients in the model of direct pay medicine (or payment at the time of service.) I will not longer be “in network” with most insurance companies; I will be a non-contracted or out-of-network doctor.
For 19 years I have been doing the insurance billing for all my patients. As you can imagine, the time and effort required for fair and timely reimbursement has greatly increased Most often, in the last few years, reimbursements have been kept very low as insurance companies have increased their power over contracted providers. This is especially challenging for a solo practioner like me.
Insurance billing has felt particularly challenging when more and more policies are those with larger out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore there are so many limitations on covered services especially for a doctor like me who most values education, prevention, and natural therapeutics like diet, herbs and manual and emotional therapies.
Simultaneously you as patients (and I too) have had to contend with increasing premiums. It is a very discouraging situation for all of us.
I would rather provide my services at a reasonable cost to those who want to see me rather than continue putting so much energy into the insurance process. I care most about being a holistic practitioner–empowering, educating and counseling my patients to greater health. I want to help you make good health care decisions that are smart and focused on the long term benefits of prevention. I have always integrated emotional counseling with my work, as mind and body only work well, together. I will be more easily able to spend the time helping you to engage your heart, spirit and mind to insure your success, and won’t be limited by the value an insurance company accords such a focus.
I hope most will want to continue to see me as their primary doctor, and/or when you have special needs: a new diagnosis, a concern about another doctor’s prescribed treatment, a well considered approach to hormone replacement, an interest in nutritional based healing, weight loss, or counseling. I aim to help you in the most comprehensive way at each visit. I won’t be limited, like so many clinics, to just helping you with one problem at a short visit. And always, my commitment is to use all the natural strategies I know, to help keep you well, with foresight about the very appropriate placement of pharmaceuticals.
I invite you to continue to utilize my knowledge, support and experience in all areas. I welcome remaining your primary “go to” for all things medical, will always be available with my email address and with my accessibility. Additionally, early next year, as an out-of-network doctor, I will be able to give you a coded superbill so that you may seek partial reimbursement for the payment you make when you see me. Within a few days I will send you a fee schedule for most of the services that I provide.
I understand that some will conclude that paying cash for my services isn’t possible and therefore will need to see another practitioner. We are very fortunate to have many fine doctors in the valley and beyond with Confluence, FHC, Midvalley, Three Rivers and the Chelan Community Hospitals, and there are bound to be some great new doctor/patient relationships. Of course in these situations, I can help you to find some continuity and quality in your health care and will encourage you to keep striving to be really well, to make the necessary changes to improve the quality and the joy in your life through making great choices on so many different levels. And in these cases I welcome any input you might seek in your continued focus to be well.
I want to let you all know that I have learned so much from my tenure as a doctor in these 19 years. I will continue to be here, albeit in a way that will free me to better support you in really being well.
I will be working directly for you now, and I welcome this change and hope that you appreciate that by taking this direct responsibility for your health, that it may empower you more to be present and to strive for the best of health emotionally and physically, right now. Thank you very much for reading this and being my patient and helping me to be a better doctor and person all these years.
Dr. Sierra Breitbeil and Michael Strauss
Methow Valley Wellness Center
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
1. First, do no harm.
2. Act in co-operation with the healing power of nature.
3. Address the fundamental causes of disease.
4. Heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
5. Teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.