Dr. Kara Fitzgerald FAQ

Last Updated: Feb 2019

With Functional Medicine the focus is on the underlying factors that are causing symptoms and affecting your health. Then we determine your specific treatment plan which integrates Western medical practices, such as prescription medications, with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” approaches like nutrition, botanical medicines, supplements, detoxification programs, stress-management techniques and exercise, among others. In Functional Medicine, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment so even if you and a friend had the same symptoms or condition you won’t get the same treatment plan. In contrast, most traditional doctors take note of your symptoms and figure out what diagnosis they can bundle those symptoms into and this dictates your treatment. Therefore, if you and a friend have the same symptoms, you often get the same diagnosis and then the same treatment. Also, traditional medical testing can only measure or see cells that have died or are diseased. The testing done in Functional Medicine can show an underlying imbalance. Learn more about Functional Medicine here.

Everyone. The goal of Functional Medicine is not only to improve your health if you have a chronic illness, but also to prevent future health issues. It’s a patient-centered approach, where we address the whole person not just your isolated set of symptoms. The result? A program that’s personalized for you, one that will remedy or reduce the severity of your symptoms, help prevent chronic disease and get your body and mind as healthy as possible.

Many of our patients come to us with a chronic health condition, to prevent chronic conditions and achieve optimal health, to focus on women’s health and hormone balance or to create a holistic health plan.

At The Sandy Hook Clinic we have multiple clinicians treating patients and specializing in Functional Medicine & Nutrition. This includes the doctors and nutritionists. For those concerned about the cost of an appointment, you will have the option to see the clinician of your choice that best suits your financial circumstances.

You should expect a thoughtful, humanizing experience that is the first step on your journey to better health. During the appointment, you and your clinician will discuss your symptoms, health concerns, medical, family, social and psycho-spiritual history, childhood, diet, exercise and sleep habits, among other information that will help create your treatment plan. Your clinician will also review any previous lab testing and/or medical records from your primary or specialty physicians so provide these in advance or bring them with you if you have them.  If you have an in person appointment, you will also have a physical exam as well as ample time to ask your clinician any questions. At the end of the visit, the clinician will determine which laboratory tests you should proceed with and suggest basic changes in your diet and nutritional supplementation. Initial visits range from 1.5-2.5 hrs.

At your second appointment, which is typically 5-6 weeks after the first, your clinician will review the results of your laboratory testing. Armed with this data as well as the results of your physical exam and the information you provided in the first appointment, the clinician will create your personalized treatment program. In addition to targeted nutritional recommendations, we use vitamins, minerals, herbs and targeted supplements to treat the underlying cause of your health issue.

Our clinicians have an integrative approach to practicing medicine. The treatment plans they create combine Western medical practices, such as prescription medications, with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” approaches like nutrition, supplements and stress-management techniques. As a result, the clinician understands the medications you are on and can work with you as a complement to your current medical regimen. That said, they are always working to help you get off prescription medication by treating the underlying cause of your illness, and will work with your prescribing doctor toward this goal. They will never change your existing medication; your prescribing doctor will change it if he/she determines you don’t need it anymore. For example, as you and your practitioner work towards lowering your cholesterol, and your levels drop on lab testing, then you can talk to your doctor about reducing your cholesterol-lowering medication.

During your initial visit, the clinical nutritionist will ask you questions about your medical history, family history and personal lifestyle. She will also review any recent blood work, a three-day food diary that you should keep prior to your appointment and any herbs, supplements or medicines that you take regularly (so please make a list of these). This will provide a full picture of your nutritional lifestyle that will help the nutrtitionist create your nutritional program.

The Clinic is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am – 5pm, and Friday from 9am – 2pm.

While The Sandy Hook Clinic doesn’t accept insurance, we are happy to provide you with the appropriate documentation and properly coded forms for you to submit to your insurance company. Most patients with out-of-network benefits, who satisfy their deductible, are reimbursed. Medicare patients will not be able to submit their visit as all clinicians at The Sandy Hook Clinic are opted out of Medicare.

Full payment is expected at each visit by cash, check or credit card.

Typically, any blood work that is requested from a lab that’s on your insurance plan is covered. However, you may also take Functional Medicine tests, which include urine, stool or saliva kits that you take home, and/or have blood drawn at a local lab and generally these things are not covered by insurance. Prices vary depending on which test you take and reimbursement depends on your insurance.

Most traditional doctors don’t do this testing because they don’t have the experience or training or are too busy or skeptical to invest the time to learn.