Answering Your Questions
We’ve addressed the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this page. Contact us for further clarification
- Click the “General FAQ” toggle for general information about naturopathic medicine and our practice
- Click the “Lab Testing & Instructions” toggle for specific information about collection of lab specimens for any tests that have been ordered for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that encompasses science, philosophy, and the practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness as well as restoring the health of the whole person.
What are Naturopathic Doctors?
A naturopathic doctor knows that illness does not occur without cause and that causes may originate in many areas. The underlying causes of illness or disease must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. The naturopathic doctor seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
Do you take insurance and/or does insurance cover Naturopathic Medicine?
Insurance companies have many different health care plans and coverage is dependent on your specific plan. Most health care plans consider naturopathic medicine as an out-of-network service. As our services are not covered, our office does not bill insurance and fees for services rendered would be an out-of-pocket expense.
What if my health plan reimburses me for out-of-network expenses?
Our office can provide you with an itemized statement that you can submit to your insurance for possible reimbursement. However, we cannot guarantee that they will reimburse you for all, part of, or any of your out-of-pocket expenses. It is strictly dependent on your individual insurance plan.
I have Medicare with a supplemental plan. Does it pay for Naturopathic Services?
Unfortunately, Medicare, with or without a supplemental plan, does not cover naturopathic services.
Is there a discount for cash paying customers?
We do not offer a discount for cash paying customers. Since our office does not bill insurance, all of our customers are cash paying.
How long does it take to get in to see a doctor?
Depending on the reason for your visit and which doctor you are scheduling with, it can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. To best meet your needs, we can place you on our wait list and move your appointment up, should a cancellation arise. We have found that we can accommodate most of our new patients with earlier appointments.
How do I prepare for my 1st consultation?
As soon as you are able, complete the New Patient paperwork and email it back to the office. We require your paperwork to be completed 48 hours or more before your appointment to allow adequate time for the doctor to review it.
During the initial consult, the doctor will also review your medications and supplements, so it is important to bring all of your current medications and/or supplements with you.
What should I expect from my 1st consultation?
Your first consultation is 90 minutes long and may include a non-invasive physical exam. During this consultation, your doctor will discuss your current health concerns while taking a very detailed health history. At the end of the appointment, you will leave with a detailed Treatment Plan outlining your doctor’s approach to your health and wellness. This may include a request for additional testing, as well as a supplement protocol and/or dietary and lifestyle suggestions. This treatment protocol and any labs ordered will then be reviewed at your next appointment.
During my consult I was given a lot of information. Where do I start?
During your consult, your doctor records the key information that was discussed, any supplements to start taking, and any recommended next steps to be completed before your follow up appointment. Upon check out, this information is handed to you in the form of a Wellness Plan. The Wellness Plan is your “how to” guide and should be thoroughly read for a clear understanding of what your doctor would like you to do before your next appointment.
After reading your Wellness Plan, if you still have questions, please email email@example.com, or call the office at 925-939-0300. Depending on the nature of your questions, they may be answered via email or you may be asked to schedule an additional consultation.
After my first consult, how often do I need to be seen?
Your care at Walnut Creek Naturopathic is individualized. This means that the frequency of your appointments depends on several factors, including the underlying causes of your illness, how well the doctor’s recommendations are being followed and how quickly your body responds to treatment.
Due to the amount of information to go over after your initial consultation, a 1-hour follow-up appointment is typically scheduled 4 to 6 weeks after your first consult. After that, the number of follow up appointments will be determined based on your health care needs.
Can I do my consultation over the phone?
After the initial consultation, you may schedule your consults as a phone appointment. In order to establish care, our office requires that initial consultations be done in person.
Is there a difference in price if I schedule a phone appointment versus an in-person appointment?
The fees are the same whether it’s a phone appointment or an in-person appointment.
The doctor has requested I have a follow up that lasts a certain time. Can I schedule a shorter one?
Our doctors carefully consider the amount of time needed to spend with you to provide you with the best care possible. Please do not try to shorten your appointments. If the doctors do not need to use the entire time scheduled, you will only be charged for the time you spend with them.
What should I do if I need to reschedule or cancel an appointment?
If possible, we ask our patients to avoid rescheduling, to avoid prolonging your follow-up visit with your doctor. However, if an emergency arises and you are not able to consult with your doctor by phone, you can call us at (925) 939-0300.
**We have a 48 hour (2 day) prior notice policy for rescheduling or canceling your
appointment. For existing patients, a $100 charge will be applied if proper notice is not given. The fee is $200 for New Patient consultations.
If the doctor wants me to have bloodwork done, is it done at your office?
Our office does not offer blood draws. For specialty labs, we have a relationship with Open Medicine Institute (OMI), which has two blood drawing facilities. We will direct you to the one most convenient for you. OMI is located on 3190 Old Tunnel Road, Suite B, in Lafayette and on 2161 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 100, in Walnut Creek. We may also ask you to go to a LabCorp or Quest as necessary.
What if the both blood drawing stations are long distance from my home and office?
Our office has a relationship with Bayside Mobile Phlebotomy that will go to your home or work to do your blood draw. Bayside Mobile will draw your blood for multiple labs as long as you have the test kits on hand. Fees for multiple lab kit draws range from $35 – $75 depending on the number of kits completed.
To set-up an appointment for mobile phlebotomy call 1(888) 357-8499. To have test kits drop shipped to your home for the mobile phlebotomist, contact our Patient Care Coordinator at 925-939-0300.
Will I need to go to OMI every time I need a test done?
We find that it is easier for our patient to go to one centralized location for their bloodwork instead of going to multiple labs. In addition, many of our tests (urine, breath, saliva and stool) can be done in the convenience of your own home. With in-home testing, you are given a kit with very specific instructions to follow including directions on how to mail them to the appropriate testing facility.
How long will it take for your office to receive my test results?
Time frames for when our office receives test results depends on several factors, including: when your blood was drawn; when your test kit was mailed out; if the test directions were followed; if you included payment as directed; the type of tests that are being run; and the processing times at the testing facility. Average time frames are from a few days to a few weeks. It is important that you complete your lab tests and kits as soon as possible or as directed by your doctor to avoid delays.
May I have copies of my test results before my appointment with the doctor?
Lab results are full of information that can be easily misinterpreted. In addition, some of the tests we order are through specialty labs that require additional training by our doctors for interpretation. Our office policy dictates that test results be reviewed with the doctor prior to releasing them. Copies of your results are given to you by your doctor during your follow-up appointment.
My treatment plan states I am to start on my supplements but I don’t know where to get them?
Our office carries many of the supplements that our doctors prescribe. During the checkout process you are given the choice to take what we have on hand or order them through our online dispensary. If you decide to order them through our online dispensary, FullScript, your account will be set-up with all the recommended supplements within 24 hours of your visit.
Once the account is set-up, you will receive two emails, a welcome email and an email with a link to your account. The link will take you directly to your account and will list all of your supplements by name. To view your supplements and order them, you will need to click the “view recommendation” button and then click the “add to cart” button. This will place your supplement(s) in your cart for purchasing.
If you are finished with adding your items to the cart, you can simply click “client cart” to review your order. You will then click the “proceed” button, which will take you to a new screen, where you will enter your address. Your actual address will appear under your inputted information and you will need to click on your address. Enter your phone number and click the “proceed” button. This will take you to a new screen in which you will need to enter your credit card information. You will need to click the “proceed” button to review your order and confirm your purchase.
Any orders placed after 4pm are processed the next business day. Orders take an average of 3 to 5 business days for delivery.
If your doctor has prescribed you any Xymogen Products, you will need to contact Maria in
our Dispensary department. She will send you an email with a link to Xymogen, where you
can set-up your account and order your supplements.
What if one of my supplements is on back order?
There is usually a short waiting period with FullScript’s out-of-stock items. For popular supplements, the average waiting period is one to two weeks. If your supplement is on back order, call FullScript at 1-866-807-3828 to get an in-stock date. If FullScript informs you that it will be several months before you will get your supplement or the in-stock date is unknown, call our office to see if your doctor can recommend an alternative.
What if I need a refill on my prescription medication?
If you have been prescribed a medication through a pharmacy and are running low, please call the pharmacy for a refill at least 7 business days before you run out. The pharmacy will then fax a form to our office for an approval and signature from your doctor. Have the pharmacy fax the request to (925)939-3181.
What is a Patient Portal?
A patient portal is a secure online website that gives you convenient 24-hour access to your personal health information and medical records—called an Electronic Medical Records or EMR—from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Why is using a Patient Portal important?
Accessing your personal medical records through a patient portal can help you be more actively involved in your own health care. Accessing your family members’ health information can help you take care of them more easily. Also, patient portals offer self-service options that can eliminate phone tag with your doctor and sometimes even save a trip to the doctor’s office.
What can I do with a Patient Portal?
The features of patient portals may vary, but typically you can securely view and print portions of your medical record, including recent doctor visits, discharge summaries, medications, immunizations, allergies, and most lab results anytime and from anywhere you have Web access.
Other features may include:
- Exchanging secure e-mail with your health care team
- Requesting prescription refills
- Scheduling non-urgent appointments
- Updating your contact information
- Downloading or completing intake forms
A patient portal may also allow you to access these features on behalf of your children or other dependent family members.
How do I get access to a Patient Portal?
Contact the front office and they will provide you with instructions for setting it up. There may be a couple of steps involved in setting up your account, including creating a secure password. This is to make sure only you have access to your health information. Once your account is set up, you’ll be ready to conveniently access your health information and medical records.
Your health information is Private, Secure, and Protected.
Patient portals have privacy and security safeguards in place to protect your health information.
To make sure that your private health information is safe from unauthorized access, patient portals are hosted on a secure connection and accessed via an encrypted, password-protected log-in.
EMRs also have an “audit trail” feature that keeps a record of who accessed your information, what changes were made, and when.
Although patient portals use safeguards, there are other safety tips you should follow when
accessing the patient portal. Always remember to protect your username and password from
others and make sure to only log on to the patient portal from a personal or secure computer.
*Fasting – No food for at least 10 hours and no more than 12 hours before having your blood drawn. Please drink plenty of water!
**OMI – Open Medical Institute is a blood draw station. There are 2 locations. One in Lafayette and one in Walnut Creek.
Quest– This lab can be drawn at any Quest Diagnostic location near you. Please take your insurance card with you. Make sure to fast if you are instructed to do so.
LabCorp– This lab can be drawn at any LabCorp location near you. Please take your insurance card with you. Make sure to fast if you are instructed to do so.
Doctor’s Choice– This lab can be drawn at any Quest Diagnostics. We honored you a discounted price for the labs ordered which is why you paid us directly. Be sure to fast if you are instructed to do so.
True Health Diagnostics– You can go to an OMI draw station to have your blood drawn. This lab also offers a mobile phlebotomy service free of charge to those in need. True Health Diagnostics is in network with a number of insurance companies and offers the lowest available cash prices. They also offer a variety of discounts that you may qualify for.
DiagnosTechs– This is a saliva collection. Please be sure to read the instructions inside the test kit very thoroughly before starting. The collection is to be done at home and shipped out afterwards. Be sure to complete the requisition form inside the box and include a form of payment before mailing. This lab does not bill insurance.
Dutch– This is a urine collection. Please be sure to read the directions before starting the collection process. You will need to fill out the requisition form on both sides and include a form of payment. Please put 7 stamps on the envelope and mail the envelope via USPS. This lab does not bill insurance.
Doctor’s Data– If you received a test kit from Doctor’s Data, please read the instructions inside the test kit before starting. Please be sure to complete the requisition form and include a form of payment before mailing it out. This lab is considered out of network with most insurance companies. If you have any questions about the collection process or billing please call DD directly at: 1-800-323-2784.
Genova– If you received a test kit from Genova, please read the instructions inside the kit before starting. If you have any questions regarding the collection process please contact Genova directly at 1-800-522-4762. If your test kit requires a blood collection please take the kit with you to an OMI location. Be sure to fill out the requisition form completely and include a copy of your insurance card and include a form of payment. OMI will ship the test kit out for you.
Biocept– A staff member will coordinate a mobile phlebotomy company to draw your blood free of charge. This lab will attempt to bill your insurance company for reimbursement. If you insurance denies the claim, there are various programs that Biocept offers. You will need to speak to Krystal in their billing department to arrange payment options and see if you qualify for any of their programs. Her direct number is: 1-858-320-8396.
Meridian Valley– Please complete the requisition form and include your payment. Please take the kit with you to an OMI location for the draw. There is a $25.00 processing fee payable to OMI for shipping the kit for you. This kit is not covered by your insurance company. You do not need to be fasting for this test, but please check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions or over the counter medications.
US BioTek– Please fill out the requisition form and include a form of payment. Please take the kit with you to an OMI station to have your blood drawn. This test is not covered by your insurance company. You do not need to be fasting for this test but, please check with your doctor if you are taking any prescriptions or over the counter medications.
Great Plains– This is a urine collection. Please be sure to read the instructions before starting the collection process. You will need to complete the forms inside the box and include a form of payment before shipping. Also include a copy of your insurance card as well. If you have any questions in regards to billing or insurance issues please call the lab directly at: 1-800-288-0383.
RGCC– A staff member will coordinate a test kit to be shipped directly to the office. When it arrives, she will call you to pick it up and direct you where to go and have your blood drawn. Payment arrangements and shipping details will need to be finalized when you come to pick up the kit.
Sibo Testing– There are currently 2 options available for testing. One is through NUNM and the other is through Genova. Genova recently introduced SIBO testing and the kits will be kept in the office. For NUNM, a staff member will fax over an order to NUNM and then email you instructions on how to pay for your test kit. Once you have submitted the payment, NUNM will ship out the test kit to your home. Instructions on how to do the collection will be outlined in the test kit.
At Walnut Creek Naturopathic, your health and wellbeing are extremely important to us. We appreciate how overwhelming being diagnosed with cancer can be. We understand that you and your families are contacting us in a vulnerable state and we are here to support you each step of the way.
At WCN we provide comprehensive, integrative support to adult patients with all types and stages of cancer. Dr. Heather Barrett and Dr. Melissa Gastellum have received extensive training in how to collaboratively work with the conventional standard of treatment utilized by medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Our doctors work alongside your conventional team to improve the efficacy of your conventional treatment, reduce side effects, and improve your quality of life.
Given the nature of your diagnosis, we know you likely have a lot of questions! We hope the frequently asked questions listed below will help guide you along:
I don’t want to do conventional therapy…
…What I saw on the internet tells me I don’t have to, so I called you. What can you do to treat my cancer?
At WCN we have your best interest at heart. Your life is very important to us and despite what you may see on the internet, please understand that naturopathic medicine is not a treatment or a cure for cancer. If you have cancer, the doctors at WCN recognize that your best chances for a positive outcome are to follow the advice of your oncologist and use conventional medicine if recommended (surgery, radiation, and/or drug therapy) with concurrent naturopathic support.
Conventional medicine is crucial to your chances of a positive outcome. Years of experience have demonstrated this to us over and over. We are so confident of this that if you choose to decline recommended conventional medicine, you will be asked to sign an acknowledgment form stating that your doctor at WCN has requested that you pursue conventional medicine, has explained to you that naturopathic medicine cannot treat or cure cancer, and that despite this understanding, you are refusing to pursue conventional treatment.
Our goal at WCN is to work together with your oncologist. As a team, we can provide you with the very best care! Click here for a discussion of our patient-centered Integrative Cancer Care.
What if I have no more conventional options?
We see a number of patients with late-stage cancers in which their oncologist has told them that conventional treatment would likely not benefit them. In these cases, depending on your current health, naturopathic medicine may improve your quality of life.
How do the doctors at WCN work with patients with cancer?
The doctors at WCN, together with your oncologist, can work with you step-by-step as you undergo your conventional treatment. We see, by far, the best outcomes when patients integrate naturopathic support with their conventional treatment. We excel at improving your quality of life and may also increase the efficacy of your conventional therapy.
If you have completed your conventional medical treatment, we can continue to utilize naturopathic medicine to enhance your quality of life and help to further reduce your risk of recurrence.
We hear time and time again from our patients that once they started a naturopathic protocol, they have never felt better!
What can I expect from my first visit?
During our initial visit, the doctors at WCN will spend the majority of the time reviewing your medical history. It is essential that you provide us with all labs and imaging relevant to your diagnosis, at least 2 days prior to your visit.
By the end of the first visit, your doctor will have created a wellness plan outlining the next steps we would like you to take. This will include labs to be ordered as well as lifestyle, supplements and any other therapies or referrals that we think would be best for you. It will also include a recommended follow up date, usually within 4 weeks (or less), at which time all follow up labs will be reviewed.
How do you determine what type of naturopathic care to give me?
In order to provide you with the most individualized naturopathic support, the doctors at WCN use a variety of methods to access your unique physiology and biochemistry. We collectively refer to this as your “terrain”. Research has shown that there are a number of identifiable factors that can set up a terrain for a cancer to develop and grow.
By supporting your terrain, we help you to get the best outcomes from your conventional medical treatment. In cases of early stage cancers that have been treated with conventional medicine and are currently “No Evidence of Disease (NED)”, terrain support and lifestyle modification may also help to reduce your risk of recurrence.
How long will it take to see results?
Once we have you started on a naturopathic support program, our goal is to improve your quality of life within a few days to a few weeks.
Terrain factor testing may take at least 8-12 weeks to show improvement.
If your oncologist is ordering imaging, we will use the results of these scans in conjunction with your symptoms to modify our naturopathic supportive protocol.
What is your success rate with _______ cancer?
As explained above, naturopathic medicine and naturopathic doctors do not treat, or cure cancer, only conventional oncology and conventional oncologists do.
In general, clinical outcomes appear to improve when naturopathic medicine is used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
What does the long-term plan look like?
Your first return visit will likely be scheduled for 1 hour, giving your doctor adequate time to review all testing and provide you with a detailed outline of how to begin the process of improving your terrain.
Your second follow up will likely be scheduled 4-6 weeks after that, at which time additional labs will likely be ordered and any necessary changes to your program will be made. The length of this follow up could be anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your individual needs and health goals.
Moving forward, the frequency and length of your follow ups will be determined based on your current cancer status, your conventional medical plan, your terrain factor results and your health goals. Terrain factor testing is typically repeated every 1-3 months, depending on what your doctor determines is best.
Follow ups and testing tend to be more frequent in the beginning of our work together, as we support you through conventional treatment and improve your terrain factor results. After that, we see some of our patients quarterly and others annually, depending on their individual needs and goals.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our website. We look forward to working with you!