Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from my first and subsequent visits with The Doctor.
Generally, the first visit lasts between an hour and an hour and a half. During the initial visit, the majority of the time is focused on gathering a thorough history and discussing the patient’s reason and goals for seeking treatment. In the later part of the visit if time allows, the treatment approach is discussed and various options for further testing and lifestyle modifications are reviewed. No blood work is performed on site.
Follow-up visits usually last between a half hour and forty-five minutes and are spent reviewing health concerns, reviewing test results and fine-tuning treatment plans and lifestyle modifications. Shorter time slots are available for straight forward problem focused visits.
The goal in treatment is to use natural means whenever possible and medications only if medically necessary. A functional and holistic approach to the patient is taken. In many cases, Dr. Bernstein coordinates with the Patient Advocate or Integrative Functional Nutritionist to implement dietary modifications, nutritional and herbal supplements, exercise prescriptions, hormonal balancing and stress reduction techniques as the first lines of treatment. Testing options, Max Pulse results and nutritionally oriented test results may also be reviewed by various members of the staff. Referrals to other practitioners for bodywork and stress reduction are common.
Can Dr. Bernstein be my primary care physician?
No. Dr. Bernstein specializes in Holistic Functional Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her focus is to treat the whole person using primarily natural means. Some patients feel comfortable using her for most of their needs but it is strongly recommended that the patient have a primary physician for acute medical emergencies and other issues they would rather have treated with conventional medical therapies. Dr. Bernstein does not personally admit to any hospital. Patients who have HMO insurances will need a referral since Dr. Bernstein is considered a specialist. Dr. Bernstein is not on call for medical emergencies since that is not her area of expertise.
What is a HSA (health savings account) or Flex spending?
Some employers offer these programs. Employees can put a certain amount of money away each pay cycle and that pre-taxed money can be used for copays, office visits, nutrients recommended by a physician etc. We encourage all of our patients to look into and participate in such plans as a means of cost savings and personally choosing to invest in their own health.
Can I see the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist without being a patient of Dr. Bernstein?
If you are generally healthy but have a couple straightforward health concerns, the answer is definitely yes. You can see her individually or in a group session. If you’re waiting to see Dr. Bernstein and she has determined that Nutritional Counseling will aid in your initial treatment, you may be scheduled to see the Integrative Functional Nutritionist under the guidance of Dr. Bernstein before your initial visit with the Doctor. On the other hand, if you have a more complicated medical history and want both medical and nutritional support, we advise you to see Dr. Bernstein first.
What should I bring to my first visit and subsequent visits?
You are required to complete your paperwork and either submit it online or mail it to us prior to your first visit. On the first visit, bringing the actual nutritional supplements and medications you are currently taking is very helpful. For the first visit and all subsequent visits, bringing along copies of recent x-ray results, laboratory studies and pertinent doctor’s findings adds useful information as well.
Does Dr. Bernstein accept insurance?
Dr. Bernstein accepts many insurances. She is generally in network with most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, most Horizon plans, AmeriHealth PPO, Independence Administrators and Personal Choice. She is a Medicare provider and accepts Tricare as well. She doesn’t accept Medicaid. She is out of Network with United HealthCare, Aetna and Cigna and will currently submit a superbill for the patient’s visits if they have a reasonably low out of network deductible. For patients that have Managed Medicare plans that the Doctor is out of network with, ie Aetna Medicare, United Health Care Medicare or Cigna Medicare, we cannot submit because these plans do not have out of network benefits. She is not participating with either Keystone or AmeriHealth HMO or POS and cannot submit for those plans.
Again, for patients that have Managed Medicare plans, for example, Keystone Medicare, we cannot submit to this plan. Copays are expected to be paid at the time of the visit. Cash, check, credit cards and debit cards, including HSA or Flex Accounts, are accepted for payment.
Patients for whom she does not accept insurance or are out of network are responsible for their fee at the time of their visit. The fee is based on the complexity and time involved for the visit.
We are happy to create a receipt for the amount that can be applied towards an HSA or FSA account. Acceptance of various insurance plans and fees are subject to change.
Does Kirsten Hamilton RDN LDN FMNS work with insurance?
Kirsten Hamilton RDN, LDN, FMNS is in network with Independence Blue Cross, BCBS Highmark plans, Aetna, United Healthcare and Cigna. She will be in network with Medicare, but they have very limited coverage for nutritional counseling. She doesn’t accept Medicaid.
Copays are expected to be paid at the time of the visit. Cash, check, credit cards and debit cards are accepted for payment. Patients for whom she does not accept insurance or are out of network are responsible for their fee at the time of their visit. The fee is based on the time involved of the visit. Some visits require more time than others. Her current rate is 2 dollars per minute. Initial visits usually require approximately 90 minutes and follow-ups are usually about 45 minutes. Acceptance of various insurance plans and fees are subject to change.
*We need to remind you that each insurance company and each plan within that insurance provider has different benefits and eligibility requirements for their coverage of Nutrition. When we call to verify benefits and eligibility, we are dealing with a different department than when the claim is being processed. Therefore, there can be discrepancies when the claims are processed. Understand that ultimately you are responsible for payment of uncovered diagnoses, unmet deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance and are also responsible if the insurance rejects or denies all or a portion of the claim. We will submit the claim on your behalf and follow up if necessary.
For those that do not have good coverage or are not eligible, we offer affordable packages for visits with Kirsten!
Will Dr. Bernstein see men and children?
Dr. Bernstein treats men, women and children. Her approach is to use natural means when ever possible. She will provide lifestyle and nutritional advice to people of any age.
Dr. Bernstein’s approach works best when patients participate and take action to enhance their own health and well-being.