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  • What is this practice all about?
    We are the only practice in the state that integrates comprehensive, naturopathic and conventional medicine while foregoing insurance reimbursement or fee-for-service payments. In this model, your affordable monthly or annual fee allows you to get personalized, unhurried, excellent health care.
  • Is this "concierge medicine?"
    Well, not exactly. “Concierge medicine” generally describes a practice with very small patient panel and a very high price. Our goal is not to fly to Europe with you to meet with your German orthopedic surgeon! We believe that excellent heath care should be available to everyone, not only the uber wealthy. We provide timely, individualized care for a moderate number of patients – small enough to know everyone well, but large enough to care for a sizable hunk of our community. Most would call this “direct primary care.”
  • So, what is "direct primary care?"
    The idea is that you pay our for your medical care directly, rather than relying on a complicated reimbursement system organized by a third party payer – your insurance company. Insurance companies are incentivized to limit payments, and this leads most physicians to see as many patients as possible in as little time as possible. When you pay us directly, we can do what matters most to you: provide truly excellent care.
  • My employer pays for me to have Hawaii-mandated comprehensive insurance, which covers office visits. Why should I have to pay you a fee, too?
    We get that most people don’t like paying “extra” for something. However, we can not possibly provide the quality of care we think everyone deserves at the reimbursement rates mandated by insurance companies. And to have a combination of both conventional and naturopathic medicine available to every patient is far beyond the scope of a traditional practice. We think that our fees — which are less than many people pay for their cell phone bill, or a daily visit to the cafe— are a reasonable price for having a level of health care that greatly exceeds that of a typical medical office.
  • I'm healthy and rarely see a doctor. Why should I pay a retainer for something I rarely need?
    First of all, we strongly believe that the foundations of good health must be nurtured from early on — or poor health in later years is the certain result. Fortunately, by addressing possible cracks in the foundation now, whether they be genetic, environmental, or lifestyle in nature, you’ll probably feel a lot better, too! Also, when you do need a doctor, for a new problem or sudden illness, you’ll have someone who already knows you well, and is quickly available. We think it’s worth it!
  • I see there is a major emphasis on health and wellness. Does this mean you can't help me if I have serious medical problems?
    Not at all! Dr. Suber and Dr. Baird have both been in practice for over two decades, and have cared for many very ill patients. In fact, we think we have a great deal to offer those with some of the most serious chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune illnesses, and cancer, among others. Caring, competent, and comprehensive care is our goal.
  • How do you combine both naturopathic and conventional care? What if I’m only interested in one type of medicine?
    When you join Iris Integrative Health, you become a member of the clinic, much more than “Dr. Suber’s patient” or “Dr. Baird’s patient.” That said, if you are a better candidate for one form of medicine or another - or if you simply prefer one approach over another - that’s perfectly fine. We will meet you where you are. Dr. Suber and Dr. Baird work in close collaboration in all matters of clinical care. In addition to sharing hours in the office, we meet weekly to learn from each other, discuss cases, and study how each of our contributions can help you better reach your goals. If you want to see both of us, we can help you optimize timing for doing so. If you want to see one of us exclusively, we can make that happen; and if you aren’t sure, feel free to schedule with either of us and we’ll help you sort it out!
  • What happens if I need medical attention after hours?
    Currently, we ask that you report to your local emergency room for any after hours concerns too urgent to wait until the following weekday morning. After hours availability may increase in the months to come; stay tuned.
  • I'm a busy person. Do I have to come in to the office to see you?
    We think there is something to be said for person-to-person contact — and physical exams are possible that way, too! However, since we are not reliant on insurance reimbursement (which requires face-to-face meetings), we can manage a lot via phone, video call, or email.
  • Since you say that all visits to the physicians are covered by the membership fee, does that mean that I can come in every week, just to talk about articles I read on the internet?
    No, even though it sounds delightful! All your visits with both physicians ARE free of additional charges or copays. That said, timing of routine visits are agreed upon by both patient and doctor. This can range from once per year to once per month to near daily during times requiring intensive care. Which doctor you see, and when, is a shared decision.
  • Do you take care of children?
    We love to care for children! With specialization in family medicine, we are both trained in care for all ages. We offer limited immunizations in our office, and can refer as needed.
  • What about prenatal care?
    This is something of particular interest to Dr. Suber and her study of epigenetics and the importance of a mother’s health during pregnancy to her child. Dr. Baird provided prenatal care and deliveries for over 20 years, and while she no longer offers this service, she has the experience to help your OB or midwife manage your acute or chronic health issues before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Once I pay my membership fee, is EVERYTHING in your office free?
    Most services are covered completely by your membership. Supplements are not included in membership fees, but are discounted for members. Certain services for which we pay directly, such as those for specialized labs and program software fees, incur an additional, modest fee.
  • Does this mean we don't need insurance anymore?
    No. We think everyone should have at least catastrophic insurance — for unanticipated medical disasters. An oft-used analogy of the current reliance on “comprehensive” health insurance, though, is that it is like getting car insurance that covers your gasoline… and limits the gas stations you are allowed to use… and negotiates individual prices with each vendor.. and so on. Everyone needs to see their doctor periodically. We think seeing a doctor who can take enough time to really think through your problems is best left outside the insurance system. Having a safety net for major accidents or illnesses, though, is sensible.
  • Is there any way I could actually save money with this system?
    Yes! If you buy your own health insurance, choosing a high-deductible plan and joining our practice could absolutely save you money over a traditional plan.
  • Can I still use my insurance for medications and labs and X-rays if I join your practice?
    Of course, with one caveat: if your insurance is an HMO-type, since we are non-participating with insurance companies, they will not pay for tests, equipment, referrals, or medications that we order on your behalf. We are not fans of HMO plans, since they create a administrative burden on medical offices and delay care to patients; so we recommend changing to PPO plans if at all possible. However, if you have no other good option, it is wise to maintain/find a primary care physician (“PCP”) willing to collaborate with us to order such things for you when needed.
  • Can I use my Flexible Spending Account to pay for your fees?
    Yes, probably — although this falls in a grey zone and is plan- and administrator-dependent. As long as you are using our fees to cover actual services (i.e. comprehensive preventative exams and follow-up), most plans (and the IRS) are friendly to this concept.
  • I already have comprehensive insurance and rarely see the doctor. Why should I pay extra per month on top of all that money?
    We hear you. Medical insurance has become incredibly expensive. We see it this way: you value your health enough to purchase traditional health insurance, which is largely allocated towards potential emergency expenses. Is it worth increasing that expenditure just modestly to have experienced doctors who can spend quality time with you and make that insurance truly a “health” plan instead of just an emergency plan? If your honest answer is that one or two 20 minute visits with a doctor per year is enough to truly maximize your health — then a traditional “no fee” medical practice might be fine for you. This is especially true if you think acute health problems can be thoroughly managed in a 15 minute visit. If you have your doubts that 30 or 60 minutes per year of a busy physician’s attention is a fair service to your health — then come see us!
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