FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Do MSP Premium Assistance recipients receive financial assistance for appointments with Naturopathic Physicians?
A: Naturopathic medicine is not covered by MSP; however, if you are on Premium Assistance, MSP will reimburse you for a portion of the cost of the visit ($23), up to a total of 10 visits per calender year of any combination of naturopathic physician, chiropractor, physiotherapist and massage therapist appointments.
If required, Dr. Loreen Dawson also offers shortened and discounted appointments for those on MSP Premium Assistance: Two initial consultations (30 minutes each), and all follow-up appointments can be reduced to 20 minutes. Please contact the clinic to inquire about the reduced rates.
Q: Is Naturopathic Medicine covered by medical insurance plans?
A: Most extended medical insurance plans provide some coverage for naturopathic medicine up to a yearly maximum. Contact your insurance provider or Hummingbird Clinic for more details.
The following employers/organizations on the Sunshine Coast have some coverage through their extended health benefits packages (please contact directly to confirm details of specific coverage):
- Howe Sound Pulp & Paper
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Sunshine Coast RCMP
- Sunshine Coast School District #46
- Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD)
- Lehigh Hanson Materials
- BC Hydro
- Canada Post
- Life Labs
* If you have extended health coverage through your local employer, please let us know as we would be happy to add it to the list above!
Q: Do we offer direct billing for patients with insurance coverage? If so, who are the participating insurance providers?
A: Currently, we are trialling a direct billing service that allows us to submit claims to several insurance providers. Here is a list of the participating insurance providers:
- Great-West Life
- Manulife Financial
- Sun Life Financial
- Johnson Inc.
- Johnston Group Inc.
- Chambers of Commerce Insurance Group
- First Canadian Insurance Corporation
- Maximum Benefit
- Group Source
- Industrial Alliance
- Pacific Blue Cross
Q: How are Naturopathic Physicians trained?
A: Naturopathic physicians (NDs) receive their specialized training from one of six accredited naturopathic medical colleges in North America. Prior to attending a 4 year full-time program at a naturopathic medical college, they must complete at least 3 years of pre-medical sciences in an undergraduate degree. The study of naturopathic medicine includes all basic medical sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, diagnosis, and pharmacy, along with intensive studies in nutrition and diet, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physical therapies, Chinese medicine theory, stress management and lifestyle counselling. In addition to their extensive academic training, clinical training begins in their 1st or 2nd year, and continues concurrently throughout their program. After graduation, NDs must complete two sets of NPLEX licensing exams (after 2nd and 4th year) - the standard examination used by all licensing jurisdictions in North America, as well as further oral and written exams in order to practice in British Columbia.
In Canada, the following provinces are licensed for the practice of naturopathic medicine: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
Q: What is the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and Homeopathy?
A: Naturopathic medicine is a holistic form of primary care medicine that uses a variety of natural therapies in practice. Homeopathy is just one of the therapeutic tools that a naturopathic physician may use in practice. All naturopathic physicians are trained in homeopathy, and most use it to some extent. Homeopaths receive training in homeopathy but do not typically use other therapeutic modalities.
Naturopathic physicians differ from homeopaths in that they are licensed to practice medicine in BC. This means they can order lab tests, diagnose and treat the majority of medical conditions. Naturopathic physicians can prescribe many, but not all, prescription medications. In addition to conventional medical training, they receive training in nutrition, herbal medicine, hydrotherapy, stress management and physical therapies.
Q: How does Naturopathic Medicine compare with Conventional Medicine?
A: Like conventional medicine, naturopathic medicine is a form of primary care medicine that uses an evidence-based, scientific approach to assessing symptoms and providing a clinical diagnosis. In regards to medical training, they both require a minimum of 3 years education in pre-medical sciences, and a 4 year medical degree with a clinical component. Both are required to pass board exams and do regular continuing education.
The major differences between the two approaches to medicine lies with the philosophy upon which they are founded and the main treatment modalities used. Conventional medicine uses primarily pharmaceutical and surgical interventions to manage acute and chronic symptoms/diseases. Naturopathic physicians are trained to understand and treat the root causes of illness, and to follow a therapeutic order which uses the least invasive, most effective treatments first. Naturopathic physicians are also trained to know when surgery or pharmaceutical interventions may be the best option in a specific situation.
Naturopathic medicine can be used to address acute and chronic symptoms, but, is also focused on going deeper by identifying and removing the obstacles to cure, treating the whole person and restoring optimal health. Prevention and education are also major components of the naturopathic approach.
Q: Are Naturopathic Physicians licensed to prescribe pharmaceuticals?
A: Yes, as of the fall 2010, legislation was passed to allow licensed NDs practicing in British Columbia, authority to prescribe a wide range of pharmaceutical medications. This was initiated to provide NDs, as primary care physicians, the ability to appropriately manage patient medications, and prescribe in emergency situations or when deemed necessary for the patient. This also allows NDs access to a number of traditional medicines that have become restricted for use without prescriptive authority.