Frequently Asked Questions - Annual Healthcare Plans
Is an FMC Annual Healthcare Plan right for me?
Yes! Our Annual Health Plans are designed to give you options based on your lifestyle and needs. With each plan we become your primary care provider, offering all the services you expect from your family doctor. Our plans also include women's wellness--yearly Pap smear and breast exam. With an Annual Health Plan, we will handle your acute illness (cold, flu, allergies, belly pain, UTIs, etc.)—often with a quick message through our online patient portal or even a Skype call! Best of all, all of these services are provided from a functional medicine perspective, meaning we look at you as a "whole person" to figure out how genetics and lifestyle factors such as nutrition, sleep, stress management, and exercise play a role in your health. We absolutely write prescriptions--we are just looking to find out how you can avoid them whenever possible! You won't find this perspective on primary care anywhere else in the area.
Which tier should I choose?
The Essentials Plan is perfect if you normally have one yearly checkup with lab work (including female yearly exam!) and one to two sick visits per year. Minor illnesses can often be handled by sending us a message through our easy-to-use patient portal, which we can use to fax a prescription directly to your pharmacy. Follow-up or sick visits can even be done via Skype if you prefer! This plan may also work if you have one minor chronic condition that requires infrequent monitoring of blood work such as hypothyroidism or high blood pressure that is well-controlled. And don't forget that this plan includes visits with our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to help you determine the best way to eat to reach your goals and maintain optimal health, as well as easy access to messaging us through the patient portal when you have questions or concerns (no more leaving a phone message with an automated answering service and waiting for a call back).
For those requiring a little more attention, or if you are interested in prevention and optimizing your wellness routine, the Wellness Plan if for you. This is our most popular plan, because it not only includes all the primary care services that you receive with the Essentials, it also includes more visits with our physicians (useful if you have more than one minor condition requiring more frequent follow-up), more visits with our dietitian nutritionist to keep you on track, PLUS a limited number of vitamin shots as indicated (B-12, Vitamin D, Biotin, Fat-burning MICC, etc.), infrared sauna visits AND a discount on all supplements purchased in our retail store.
If you are really looking to up your healthcare game, consider our Premium Plan. This plan includes everything you get with the Essentials or Wellness, along with additional follow-up visits with our physicians and dietitian nutritionist, plus more vitamin injections, IV drip sessions, and unlimited infrared sauna visits.
How long is the term for my Annual Health Plan?
Each tier of our Annual Health Plans includes 12 months of care. This means one year of cutting-edge primary care from a whole-body perspective, with personalized guidance and unlimited access to messaging and your health information through our easy to use patient portal.
What happens if I use all of my visits before the 12 months ends?
Our providers and knowledgable staff will help you choose the plan that provides an appropriate number of visits based on your needs. And keep in mind that you will be able to message our office through your patient portal for minor issues, questions and prescription refills for the entire 12 month period. If you do require additional visits, however, you will be able to add those for the cost of an a la carte follow-up visit ($275).
Am I able to upgrade or downgrade my Annual Health Plan tier?
After purchasing an Annual Health Plan you will have 30 days to make any changes to your plan, including cancelation.
Do I have to purchase an Annual Health Plan to be seen in your office?
We believe that health is a journey and as such we believe that an Annual Health Plan is right for most patients. We believe it encourages you to commit to making changes in your lifestyle that will lead to living well and feeling your best for the long haul. You are not, however, required to purchase an Annual Health Plan to be seen by our providers and you do have the option to pay "a la carte" for each visit.
What is the cost of paying for each visit "a la carte"?
Please see our website under "Patient Info" and "A La Carte Pricing."
Must I decide before I schedule if I want to do an Annual Health Plan or pay “a la carte”?
No. We encourage you to have your visit with Dr. Chavers or Amy first to determine the complexity of your case and treatment plan, which will allow us to help you choose the payment method that will be best for you.
Am I required to pay $450 on top of the registration fee and monthly payments?
No. The $450 is the cost of our "Foundational Assessment," which is the initial evaluation by our providers and dietitian nutritionist, if you choose to pay a la carte. If you choose an Annual Health Plan, you will only pay the $150 registration fee plus the first month's payment at your first visit, depending on which tier you choose. Your remaining payments will be auto-drafted from your account monthly until the end of your contract.
Are lab tests covered by the Annual Health Plan?
Typically, any blood work that we order is covered by your insurance if you have it drawn at a location that is approved by your insurance company (Quest, LabCorp, etc.) and any billing for lab costs will be handled by that lab. In our office, we draw labs for Quest who again will bill your insurance. For Annual Health Plan members there is no charge for a lab draw in our office, whereas non-members will incur a $25 lab draw fee. If you do not have insurance, you will work out the cost of your testing with the lab. For patients who pay out-of-pocket, we recommend ProHealth in Santa Rosa Beach, Milton, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach, Gulf Breeze, or Pensacola. You may also require more specialized Functional Medicine testing. This may include urine, stool, saliva, and blood tests, some of which you will do at home. Generally, these things are not covered by insurance. Prices will vary depending on which test you take.
Are hormone pellet implants included in an Annual Health Plan?
Testosterone pellets are billed separately and are not included in the Annual Health Plans at this time.
May I substitute services on the Annual Health Plan?
The services included in each health plan are set and there are no substitutions.
Does the Annual Health Plan include follow-up visits or sick visits?
Follow up visits that are included with your Annual Health Plan may be used how you need them most! All new patients should expect to be seen for follow up 4-6 weeks after the initial evaluation to go over results of lab testing and then 1 to 2 additional times within the 12 month period depending on the complexity of your case. Any of the follow up visits may be used as sick visits, however, if you need to be seen. We can often handle minor illnesses through our patient portal messaging system if we feel that this can be done safely.
General Frequently Asked Questions
Anti-aging. Functional Medicine. Optimal Health.
OFFERING HOPE FOR HEALING BY DISCOVERING THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF DISEASE, EMPOWERING THROUGH EDUCATION, AND PROVIDING TOOLS TO RESTORE OPTIMAL HEALTH.
What exactly is Functional Medicine?
In its simplest form, FM seeks to find the root cause of disease. At Foundations Medical Center we take an extensive history and spend a great deal of time discussing lifestyle factors such as sleep, exercise, nutrition, genetics, and stress. We order personalized lab testing including conventional labs like thyroid tests, cholesterol panels, and hormones levels, as well as more complex functional testing such as stool analysis, adrenal profiles, and nutritional panels. Our goal is to find any excesses and remove them, and uncover any deficiencies and replace them.
Who can benefit from a Functional Medicine consultation?
Everyone. The goal of Functional Medicine is not only to improve your health if you have a chronic illness, but to prevent future health issues. It’s a patient-centered approach, where we address the whole person not just your isolated set of symptoms.
How is your clinic different than my regular family medicine clinic?
We spend about an hour and a half with you on your initial visit, taking a comprehensive history and addressing all of your concerns. We ask lots of questions and take a detailed nutrition history. Our treatment plan involves a much more holistic approach including a prescription diet, exercise plan, stress management techniques, targeted supplements, and pharmaceuticals if needed. Our practitioners practiced conventional family medicine for several years, and one of the biggest frustrations was the lack of time to address the whole patient. In our office, we strive to allow every patient ample time to tell their story, and have all their questions answered.
What can I expect during my Functional Medicine consultation?
The first office visit typically lasts an hour and a half. We will discuss your symptoms, health concerns, medical, family, and social history, childhood, diet, exercise and sleep habits, among other information that will help create your treatment plan. We will also review any previous lab testing and/or medical records from your primary or specialty physicians. You will also have a physical exam as well as ample time to ask any questions you may have. At the end of the visit, we will determine which laboratory tests you should proceed with. We typically start with conventional labs to assess your thyroid, blood chemistries, hormones, and cholesterol. Functional testing is also important. Stool analysis and nutritional testing are two of our most common tests, as they give use lots of useful information about what is going on, and how to move forward with treatment.
How do I pay for my visit?
We operate as a self-pay clinic and payment is expected at the time of your visit. We accept cash, check, or credit card. Functional Medicine consultation services may or may not be covered by your insurance plan. We are considered “out of network” so it will depend on your individual insurance policy and the coverage of that policy as to the services and amounts they may reimburse. If you’d like to check with your insurance company prior to your appointment, visits are considered level 5 office visits.
Our office does not bill your insurance directly but we will gladly provide an invoice at your visit with your diagnosis codes, treatment codes and all pertinent provider information to you so that you may send it to your insurance company for reimbursement of billable services. IV infusions, injections, testosterone pellet therapy or the purchase of supplements are not billable services. We are not a participating provider in Medicaid or Medicare.
Why do you not accept insurance?
Accepting insurance means that a provider directly bills the health insurance company on behalf of the patient. To do that, the provider must enter into a contract with the insurance company—and these contracts limit our ability to provide the best possible service to our patients. Foundations Medical Center providers have chosen to not contract with insurance companies which allows us to maintain our principles and give our patients the time and care they deserve at every office visit.
What kind of laboratory testing do you do and is it covered by insurance?
Typically, any blood work that is requested from a lab that is on your insurance plan is covered. However, you may also take Functional Medicine tests. These include urine, stool, saliva, and blood tests, some of which you may do at home. Generally, these things are not covered by insurance. Prices vary depending on which test you take, and reimbursement depends on your insurance.
What is your cancellation policy?
Due to the amount of time set aside in our schedule for each patient, cancellations must be made 72 hours prior to your appointment time. This helps ensure that we are able to meet the needs of all our patients who are waiting for an appointment time. A credit card will be required for your appointment to be reserved and you will be charged a $75 fee for cancellations made less than 72 hours in advance or in the case of a no-show.
How do you address thyroid disorders?
Detailed testing is critical when assessing thyroid function. Most physicians do a standard TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) when evaluating the thyroid. We perform in depth testing of the thyroid that is much more accurate in treating and diagnosing thyroid disorders. A free T4 (thyroxine), free T3 (tri-iodothyronine) and reverse rT3 (tri-iodothyronine) are done in addition to the standard TSH. The T3 and T4 are the thyroid hormones released by the thyroid in response to TSH levels. Patients may have symptoms of thyroid disorders if any of these are low. The reverse T3 is the inactive thyroid hormone and if abnormally elevated will cause hypothyroidism as well. It is also important to test for thyroid antibodies. This will give your doctor an indication of an autoimmune thyroid disorder. By testing all of these important thyroid levels we can treat you properly.
Our goal is to keep your thyroid levels at an optimal range not just "average" or "normal". This will help you feel your best throughout the day and improve your energy and sense of well-being. Patients are generally treated for hypothyroidism with a synthetic thyroid (man-made) that will improve the TSH and T4 levels in the blood. Not all patients get the relief they need with this method because T4 must be converted to T3 in the body to be used and improve symptoms. Without enough active T3, symptoms will still exist. Treatment is customized for each individual and can include different forms of T3 and T4 replacement. Plans include specific recommendations for diet, lifestyle and high quality supplements.
Are Amy and Dr. Chavers able to write prescriptions?
Absolutely! Dr. Chavers is a Medical Doctor (MD) and received his degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, AL (UAB). He completed his residency in Family Medicine in Tuscaloosa, AL and remains Board Certified in Family Medicine. Amy Drab is a certified Physician's Assistant and received her Bachelor of Science in Health Professions/Physician Assistant from Kettering College of Medical Arts and her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska.
Do you see children?
While our practice is generally geared toward adults, we do see children over the age of 6 on a case by case basis. Conditions that we commonly manage in kids includes allergies, asthma, eczema and other skin rashes, abdominal pain, constipation and other digestive issues, and headaches. We do not treat Autism spectrum disorders or seizures at this time. Children will billed using the a la carte pricing and are not eligible for an Annual Health Plan.