Category: Make the Most out of Your Health Care

What is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor?


Naturopathic Medical Doctors or Naturopathic Physicians (NMD) are the only licensed naturopathic providers in Idaho who are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges recognized by the US Dept of Education. They diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person’s inherent self-healing process. While naturopathic physicians can prescribe medications, they prefer to work to identify underlying causes of illness, and develop personalized, whole-body treatment plans to address them. 

In addition to practicing many natural modalities, NMDs can prescribe medications, order lab tests and imaging, and are licensed as Primary Care Providers in Idaho.

How are an ND and an NMD different?

The terms “ND” and “Naturopathic Doctor” and “naturopath” can be used in other states to denote licensed naturopathic physicians but these titles remain unregulated in Idaho and can be used by anyone – with or without any training.  In Idaho, only the title “NMD” is used by licensed naturopathic physicians.

What is Functional Medicine?

Many kinds of licensed and unlicensed providers use the term “functional medicine” to describe the services they offer, but there is no standardized training or requirements of education to use the term. Functional medicine providers sometimes have conventional training first and then add holistic training later, on their own or through a certification program. 

For More Information:

Two Simple Ways to Save Money on Health Care


Many insurance plans have high deductibles or limited coverage that don’t cover the tests or medications you need.  These two services below may be able to find you a lower price than your insurance co-pay. 

UltaLabsTests.com

  1. Order and pay for your own lab tests directly online.
  2. Get your blood drawn at Quest Diagnostic in Meridian
  3. Receive results yourself online.
  4. Share results thru BNHC Patient Portal or bring a copy to your visit.

Ulta will not bill your insurance and their receipt isn’t coded for insurance reimbursement.  In exchange, you don’t need a doctor’s order and they have very low prices.  They often run specials you can receive emails about.

Ordering labs can be tricky if you aren’t sure what to order.  If you like reading about health, Ulta offers lots of information that will help you navigate your choices.  Some tests need to happen in coordination with your medication or diet.  When in doubt, consult your provider prior to ordering. 

GoodRx.com

  1. Find fee coupons
  2. Show coupon to your pharmacist
  3. Save up to 80%

Over 70,000 pharmacies participate for most commonly prescribed medications.   When you use a coupon, the pharmacy will not bill your insurance. You will often pay less than your insurance co-pay.  You may be able to submit your receipt for potential reimbursement or credit toward your deductible.  It’s easy to compare pharmacy prices.  Be sure to do your research AHEAD OF TIME so you can tell your provider which pharmacy to send your prescription.  

You might also want to check out Mark Cuban’s new drug company costplusdrugs.com that has comparable offerings. 

Medical Research – A Disturbing Corruption

Doctoring Data: How to sort out medical advice from medical nonsense

by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Book Review by Dr. Haynes

Almost all of the medical research is funded, conducted, and reported by the corporations with vested interests.  Dr. Kendrick has been studying the problems in medical research for over 30 years.  After reading his book, I will never look at health news or published research in the same way again.  It turns out we simply can’t believe what we are being told.

Dr. Kendrick’s book was compelling and his witty, irreverent writing makes it a fun, if disturbing, read.   He explains the basics of understanding a study and then shows us how to question data we’ve previously taken as fact.  He tackles cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, hormone replacement therapy and more.  He shares that the popularly accepted “cholesterol hypothesis” has been disproven for many years but continues to thrive due to profits made from statin medications.

As a naturopathic physician, people often expect me to be skeptical about Big Pharma medicine.  But questioning the current medical system is not limited to those practicing alternative medicine.  Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet are the most well respected, peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.  Here’s what their own editors have to say about the state of medical science today:

 “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.  I take no pleasure in this conclusion which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.” Dr. Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analysis, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet

With all this doubt about truth in medical research, what is a patient to do?  I strongly believe in the tenants of Naturopathic Medicine and use them as guiding principles with all of my patients (see a more detailed description):

  1. First Do No Harm – primum non nocere
  2. The Healing Power of Nature – vis medicatrix naturae
  3. Discover and Treat the Cause, Not Just the Effect – tolle causam
  4. Treat the Whole Person – tolle totum
  5. The Physician is a Teacher – docere
  6. Prevention is the best “cure” – praevenire

I encourage all patients and practitioners interested in being savvy consumers of medicine and advocates of their own health to read Dr. Hendrick’s book.  It is one of the most informative books I’ve come across and is enjoyable to boot!

Health Savings Account

Joan Haynes, NMD

A Health Savings Account (HAS) makes a lot of sense for people who would  rather spend their money on alternative medicine instead of paying for insurance premiums for health care they don’t use.

In Idaho, Naturopathic Medicine and/or massage is covered by some, but not all insurance companies. Instead of paying high insurance premiums, many patients are opting for a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) along with a Health Savings Account (HSA). An HAS makes a lot of sense for people who rather spend their money on the kind of health care they want instead of paying for insurance premiums.

A HDHP, also referred to as a Catastrophic Health Insurance has deductibles ranging from $1000 to $5000 or more. HDHP are offered by many employers and can be purchased by individuals as well. There are many insurance companies that offer these programs.

Like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the HSA allows you to contribute tax-deductible dollars into the account and spend them tax-free on medical costs. However money in a FSA is lost if not used within a grace period. In a HSA funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. HSAs are owned by the individual and most accounts accrue interest. HSA funds are used to pay for qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability. However, beginning in early 2011, OTC (over the counter) medications cannot be paid with HAS dollars without a doctor’s prescription. BNH doctors can provide patients with a prescription.

Utilizing an HAS will help you get the kind of medical care you want. If you are going to pay for alternative medical care out of your own pocket, you might as well pay less.