What is the cost of Chinese herbs treatment?
As with all of our services, there are minor differences between insurance and cash-at-time of service pricing to cover our insurance billing costs. Basic cash price for a new patient appointment is $125, and the standard follow-up is $60. I also offer 15 minute $30 appointments in certain circumstances.
Chinese herbs range in price based on the formula, dosage and administration method (capsules versus tea, for example). In general, a patient can expect to pay $2-$3/day for their Chinese herbs. If this seems expensive, consider that these are largely imported materials, and that I work with companies that do rigorous testing for a wide variety of contaminants that can, unfortunately, be common in imported herbal materials. The herbs I source are also more potent, and guaranteed to be the right medicinal species, improving performance.
Does insurance cover herbs-only treatment?
As with all things related to health insurance in America, it's complicated! Nearly all Oregon and Washington insurance plans cover acupuncture treatment. Most of those will also cover an “office code” for every acupuncture visit, which helps the practitioner get paid for the intake, their research and treatment planning for your case, and the time doing hands-on diagnostics.
With herbs-only treatment, we bill ONLY for the office code, since we are not doing acupuncture. About 50% of plans will not cover an office code from an acupuncturist without the practitioner also doing acupuncture. For some plans, we know this ahead of time, and will let you know when you schedule. For others, unfortunately, we won't know until we try. If you'd like to discuss more about insurance billing for herbs-only treatment, please don't hesitate to reach out.
How do I get refills on my Chinese herbs?
Unless you are told otherwise, you should stay on your regular dosage of Chinese herbs continuously. In other words, if you get a formula at your appointment and it runs out prior to your next appointment – you should call for a refill.
The simplest way to get a refill on your Chinese herbs is to reach out to your practitioner to ask via email. They can then initiate the process. You may also call the front desk to request, but they will need to reach out to your provider to authorize first. If you are coming to pickup a refill, you can get it from the herb pickup box at the end of our hallway near the elevator – contact free! In this case, you will pay for your formula at your next visit, or you can call to authorize payment.
We are currently developing a more convenient system for refills.
Should I take my Chinese herbs if I'm prescribed a new pharmaceutical medication, or begin using an over-the-counter medication frequently?
In general, it is best to talk to your practitioner before continuing with your formula when another practitioner makes a medication change. This allows your practitioner to evaluate whether there is likely to be any conflict between your medication and the herbs.
If it is a small change in a medication you are already taking, you are safe to continue your herbal formula until your next appointment. The only exception is if the medication is a blood thinner, because even small changes in blood thinning medications can have consequences that need to be considered.
Should I take my Chinese herbs if I come down with a cold or the flu?
Again, it's best to ask your practitioner about this. However, for most herbal formulas treating internal disease, it's best to stop the formula when you have a new cold or flu. This allows your body to focus its resources on the fight against the cold, and avoids any risk of the herbs making your symptoms or the course of illness worse. This is of course not the case if the formula was prescribed for a cold or flu, or cold like symptoms.