Dr. Bridget Somine’s FAQ
What is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND)?
- Holistic primary healthcare providers.
- Skilled in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness, with an emphasis on optimizing health.
- Incorporate both modern biomedical sciences and traditional natural healing methods and are arguably among the world’s leading experts in natural health.
What is the basic philosophy of naturopathic medicine?
Under the right conditions, our bodies know how to heal. The philosophy of Naturopathic medicine is to remove any obstacles to healing and to stimulate one’s inherent vitality and healing mechanisms.
There are six principles that guide this practice:
- Do No Harm
- Utilize The Healing Power of Nature
- Find and Address the Cause
- Treat the Whole Person
- Prevent Disease
- Doctor as Teacher
What kind of training does a Naturopathic Doctor have?
- Naturopathic Doctors undergo a rigorous four-year medical curriculum involving over 2,500 hours in the health sciences and in the use of natural and conventional therapies.
- Additionally, Naturopathic Doctors receive a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised clinical practice.
- In order to be eligible for licensure, Naturopathic Doctors are required to pass a two-part licensing exam administered by the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board (NPLEX).
Do Naturopathic Doctors have medical licenses?
- There are currently 18 states and several US territories in which Naturopathic doctors are eligible for licensure, including California.
- Naturopathic doctors are distinct from lay practitioners of naturopathy who do not have accredited naturopathic medical training in the United States or Canada and are thus not eligible for licensure.
- For additional information, please visit the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s website or the California Naturopathic Doctor’s Association.
Do you accept insurance?
- Currently there are no (or very few) insurance companies that contract with Naturopathic doctors as in-network providers in the state of California. However, some insurance companies cover the services of a naturopathic doctor as out-of-network providers and will reimburse for visit fees, particularly if your coverage is a PPO.
- Check with your carrier to verify coverage and reimbursement rates.
Do naturopathic services qualify for HSA or FSA reiumbursement?
- Naturopathic services usually qualify for Health Savings Accounts or Flexible Spending Accounts.
- Check with your plan administrator to verify coverage.
Can Naturopathic Doctors order labs and diagnostic tests?
Yes! In fact, NDs tend to order and interpret labs differently than conventional providers.
- Lab values can show more than the presence or absence of disease; they can reveal areas that are trending toward imbalance.
- When indicated, NDs may order more extensive testing than the typical lab markers. For instance, if someone has elevated cholesterol, we might order an expanded lipid profile, to get a closer assessment of cardiovascular risk. Or, if someone has a suspected nutrient deficiency, we might look at red blood cell levels of a nutrient rather than serum levels, in order to get a more accurate representation of what the cells are actually working with. Looking deeper can help create more informed treatment decisions.
- To interpret the tests, NDs might utilize a more narrow reference range. This is because we want to optimize function and catch disease before it develops.
- Lastly, NDs will take the time to review your results in depth with patients, so you’ll understand exactly what the results do and don’t indicate.
Will my labs be covered by my insurance?
- Most standard labs are covered by insurance, especially if you have a PPO plan and the lab is contracted with the insurance provider.
- Some HMO plans will cover labs ordered by out-of-network providers.
- Check with your carrier to verify coverage and deductible requirements.
- Specialty labs, such as nutritional testing, food sensitivity analysis, saliva testing and other functional medicine tests are often not covered or only partially covered.
Are Naturopathic Doctors able to prescribe pharmaceuticals?
- Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are trained in the prescription and management of pharmaceuticals. Currently the state of California allows NDs to independently prescribe pharmaceuticals only with a supervising physician agreement with an MD or DO. A supervisory agreement is not required for hormone therapies (such as thyroid or bio-identical hormones), which are included in the scope of practice for all NDs in California.
- Dr. Somine maintains a supervising physician agreement, and is able to prescribe legend drugs (ie. non-controlled prescriptive items like antibiotics), in addition to hormone therapies.
- Dr. Somine does not maintain a DEA license in order prescribe controlled substances at this time. However, she can consult with patients and their prescribers regarding management of certain prescriptions, particularly in the case of drug tapering or testosterone therapy.
Why should I see a Naturopathic Doctor?
- Naturopathic Doctors take the time to understand your health concerns, not just your symptoms, and can provide you with a range of treatment options.
- Naturopathic medicine isn’t a one-pill-fits-all type of healthcare.Naturopathic Doctors are experts at integrating conventional and natural treatments. We are skilled in providing approaches that can lessen the need for medications or increase the efficacy of necessary medications. We are well versed in screening for herb-drug and nutrient-drug interactions.
- For those that primarily are managing their own healthcare, it is useful to have an outside perspective from someone you trust. Naturopathic Doctors can advise you on which treatments are likely to be the most effective and the safest in your unique situation.