Answers to the Questions

Are you a real doctor?

Yep! Naturopathic Doctors attend federally accredited, 4-year medical school, just like MDs. They receive training in the same medical sciences as an MD (pharmaceuticals, imaging, labs, etc.), with additional studies in herbal medicine, nutrition, counseling, homeopathy, and more.

What’s the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and functional medicine / holistic health / energy healing?

There are a lot of vaguely similar (and similarly vague!) terms floating around out there, often being used interchangeably by patients and practitioners alike.

Naturopathic Doctors are actual doctors. Here’s a quick glossary of some other modalities:

  • Energy healing The application of modalities (like acupuncture) where needles or massage are used to affect the flow of energy or chi throughout the body. Can also be applied to various other alternative medicine modalities.
  • Holistic health doesn’t describe any specific medical approach; it’s more of an indicator that the whole body is being considered (as opposed to isolating a symptom or symptoms). In that light, naturopathic medicine/chinese medicine/ayurvedic medicine could all be said to have a holistic approach
  • Functional medicine Functional doctors or practitioners that are usually MDs or other medically trained providers who go back to conferences and seminars to learn how to practice like an ND.

Why does it cost so much? / Is this worth my money?

To answer this question, you need to understand the laws in California (as they relate to naturopathic medicine). Unfortunately, there isn’t any legislation mandating insurance companies to cover visits with your naturopathic doctor, which means Dr. Norris isn’t in-network with any insurance plans. 

(That’s why she left California in 2013, and went to work in a state where coverage was mandated (Vermont). But darn ‘ol California love drew her back home, and that means that in order to see her, you have to pay out of pocket.) 

**If you have a PPO, you may be able to get reimbursed by your insurance plan. Since Dr. Norris is considered a PCP (primary care provider) in California, your PPO plan will cover labs and imaging, and should reimburse you for some of your visit.** 

As long as naturopathic medicine remains an out-of-pocket expense, it may seem more expensive than conventional medicine. But when you add up the cost of co-pays, high deductibles, and the increasing destabilization of the American healthcare complex—plus the unseen costs that accrue when these treatment options are ineffective (not to mention the lifetime costs associated with pharmaceuticals)—ND’s are kiiiind of a bargain.

If you want to be seen by a doctor who spends more time with you, listens well, and treats you with naturally based medicine and conventional pharmaceuticals (if needed)—AND who can treat you and your whole family—well, you’ve found her.

Is naturopathic medicine worth the cost?

Absolutely. Naturopathic medicine seeks to address the cause of the symptoms you are experiencing. When you invest in a healthcare plan that seeks to alleviate the cause of an illness you are making a long-term investment in your health. Many patients experience better sleep, better digestion, increased energy, and an overall sense of well-being.

Are there ANY insurance plans that cover Naturopathic Doctors?

Some plans, including certain health sharing ministries, offer reimbursement for office visits, labs, and even some supplements. Most of the time, you’ll need specific documentation in order to receive reimbursement.

If you have an insurance plan that allows you to see “out of network” providers (typically labeled as a PPO plan) you can often get reimbursed for 70-90% of your cost. We can provide you with the forms you’ll need, called a superbill, we’ve even created a form to help you discuss reimbursement with your provider.

Contact your insurance provider to find out exactly what’s covered when you see an “out of network” doctor.

I still want to keep my PCP, just in case. Is that okay?

Absolutely. Ideally your doctor is open to a multitude of approaches, knows their limits, and wants you to find the best possible treatment, whether it comes from their office or not.