“Functional Medicine” Explained

You have described some conditions and/or problems that have persisted in spite of prior diagnostics and management.  To assist you, we would analyze your health within a “Functional Medicine” model.  Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease,  investigating systems such as the gastrointestinal, endocrine, immune, and blood sugar metabolism to name a few.   It is an approach focused on discovering the underlying causes of disease.  It requires time be dedicated to reviewing histories, lab work and interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors as well as food intolerances.  By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medicine to a more holistic approach, making dietary changes and using nutritional compounds; Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just a set of isolated symptoms.  Because of time constraints, Dr. Phelan can only accept a limited number of patients into the program and must confine this service to those enrolled in it.  This is considered an uncovered benefit by insurance companies.  In order to offer it, we have had to develop a fee schedule to provide this service.  The fee is charged in advance and will cover the initial 5 visits.  With some patients, additional follow-up visits and lab work may be necessary in order to further diagnose or monitor progress.  This is a mutual decision, made after the initial 5 visit treatment plan is concluded.

For more information regarding Functional Medicine, please read on.

Much of our work at Wake Forest Chiropractic is considered neuro-musculoskeletal care, or “structural health care.”  However, because of changes in patient management in the health care system, coupled with a significant rise in disease among all age groups; we have had to broaden our practice. We now find ourselves required to play a role filling a gap in management of patient health.  To best understand functional medicine, picture health care as a series of steps:

A decade ago, all 3 steps of this health care spectrum seemed to be adequately addressed.  Healthy people were evaluated, preventive medicine was practiced and illnesses were treated.  Unfortunately, managed care and the purchase of many health care offices by “for profit entities” has margined and restricted the way health care is delivered. Essentially, managing the above middle step of the healthcare continuum, (where health is declining, but illness has not yet fully developed), has been identified as an unnecessary cost.  Lab biomarkers, advanced imaging, specialist referral, surgical and non-surgical interventions have been pared down in this area to the point that we are left with two steps:

The result is front end savings for the for-profit companies, followed by escalating health care costs because of illness that develops, rather than being prevented.  In our office we see an increasing number of under diagnosed, over-medicated patients that are told their lab values are “fine” … and they do not feel or look well.  As a result, we find a need to play a larger role in the diagnostics and advocacy process for our patients. Choosing to invest some time and resources in exploring a Functional Medicine approach, is likely to make a significant, long term difference in your life and the lives of the people that depend upon you.

If you are interested in learning more about our Functional Medicine treatment plans, please let the staff know.

Forms for Functional Medicine

Patient Billing Acknowledgement Form

Functional Medicine/Clinical Nutrition Treatment Plan