What is Functional Medicine?
With the inherent premise that the body can heal with proper support, Functional Medicine is a lens to medicine based on general principles of function that cross system lines. For example, an inflammatory process affects the GI system, cardiac system, musculoskeletal system and more. Today, medicine has been artificially driven into organ systems, like isolated silos, and treatment is mainly pharmaceuticals that further disrupt the natural function. Dr. Guminsky believes that medication has an important role in medicine, but only in the context of understanding their effects on the entire system. Often, lifestyle and natural supplements can help restore function, avoiding downstream side effects and further dysfunction. Functional medicine goes to the root process of imbalance and aims to restore health and function. See additional resources below.
Book: Young Forever by Mark Hyman, MD
Podcasts: Less Stressed Life Podcast
How do you function differently than only an MD or only a Functional Medicine Practitioner?
Conventional medicine has its advantages. Dr. Guminsky sees conventional medicine as an important rescue tool. As an internist, Dr. Guminsky can treat and follow diabetes, but also looks at the functions to identify imbalances to treat the root cause. The idea is to get off medication, if possible, or use the smallest amount possible. This takes the experience and trainingof an internist and a functional medicine practitioner. Dr. Guminsky believes that both can be useful in the right situation. As an MD and trained functional medicine practitioner, she has the unique ability to understand both and discuss both options with patients.
Do you take insurance?
No. Gateway Medical Practice is a membership-based practice, sometimes called direct primary care. It means that patients pay a monthly fee for the direct services of the doctor, rather than payment from a secondary source like an insurance company. It is not concierge medicine where doctors charge an additional fee from their patients and collect from insurance companies. In this model, your medical care is always between you and the doctor.
Can I use my insurance for labs, other tests and medications?
Yes. Many patients use their insurance for labs, imaging and medications, because it saves them money. However, in some cases, not using insurance can save money. For example, patients with high deductible insurance may pay large sums for lab work. Gateway Medical Practice offers discounted lab prices through LabCorp. In all cases, patient can use their HSA to pay for the specialty tests.
Does insurance cover the functional medicine testing like specialized stool tests, nutrient evaluation and food sensitivity testing?
This depends on the insurance. Gateway Medical Practice uses testing laboratories that are credentialed and validated. Some insurance companies will cover a portion of the testing. When these tests are recommended, the pricing will be discussed before it is ordered.
Can I be a patient if I live in another state?
Yes. Telemedicine is available.
Can Dr. Guminsky be my primary care doctor?
Gateway Medical Practice does not offer same day or acute care appointments. Therefore, for sudden symptoms or accidents, patients need to go to Urgent Care. Some patients choose to have a primary care doctor rather than going to Urgent Care for issues like upper respiratory infections, UTI's and joint swelling. For any medical concerns, patients can call the office for next steps, whether that means testing, a visit or referral to a specialist.
How does it work with an initial visit and appointments every 3 months?
The initial visit stands alone. It is a chance to meet Dr. Guminsky, discuss your case and decide on initial testing. Based on when those tests come back, a visit will be scheduled to discuss the tests and further formulate a plan. This is usually anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks once tests/labs are completed. From that point forward, your visits will be every 3 months. The schedule of your visits has nothing to do with the 6-month commitment mark. If you have 3 normal visits in the six months or 2 normal visits in the six months, it is dependent on how soon the first normal visit is scheduled based on testing ordered. Unlike other functional medicine offices, we do not do a “6-month program”. Instead, every patient has an individualized program. We just have a 6-month commitment with a month-to-month option after the initial six months.
When does the 6-month commitment start, after the initial visit or after the first visit on the membership?
The first month your card is charged on the first of the month counts as month #1. If you have your initial visit on the 30th of the month, you start payment for membership on the first of the month, which could be just one or two days later. If you have your initial visit on the 1st of the month, you will not be charged until the first of the next month.
Are phone visits included each month?
No. In between the 3-month appointments, there are no scheduled phone visits. If Dr. Guminsky is treating a chronic condition like diabetes or hypothyroidism, and you must go to Urgent Care, she wants you to call and let us know you went to Urgent Care if it pertains to one of your conditions. To follow up on the acute events and best manage the associated chronic issue, you will be contacted by our office. However, for general symptom management, she highly encourages patients to log their symptoms, but continue with the plan. If they develop a new acute symptom, it needs to be assessed at Urgent Care, but again, a phone call to the office is encouraged and Dr. Guminsky will determine if she should call you back, send a message in the portal, or send a message through the staff. It is important to understand that she does not do acute visits, but if there are issues with the protocol, an Urgent Care visit, or information from another appointment or test, she will respond.
What can I expect from the first visit?
The first visit is designed for the patient to discuss their health journey, not for Dr. Guminsky to review all their previous tests. Sometimes a recent blood test can be helpful, but before she looks at all the information, she needs to meet the patient, understand the goals and the two of you need to decide if you would like to work together. If so, Dr. Guminsky will let you know what reports she thinks are useful. The patient should feel free to bring anything they would like to bring to the first appointment, but they should not expect anything other than the appointment notes to be reviewed before the initial visit. The appointment note is the questionnaire emailed to the patient prior to the visit. Dr. Guminsky prefers to hear from the patient rather than just look at tests when it comes to initially evaluating the new patient and their case.
How will you treat my information?
We abide by all applicable regulatory laws governing the handling of medical information. Below is a link to download our Notice of Privacy Practices.
Notice of Privacy Practices