Q: What are Naturopathic Physicians?
A: Naturopathic Physicians, or NDs, are trained as primary care physicians with 8-10 years of education. We perform physical exams, diagnostic laboratory tests and imaging studies familiar to all types of family physicians and general practitioners. Naturopathic physicians are also trained in when and how to refer to specialists and for urgent care. They have been licensed in British Columbia for nearly 70 years.
Q: How are NDs Different From Regular Physicians?
A: A Naturopathic Physician is trained in the methods of treatment commonly referred to as alternative medicine. When you see an ND for health care your treatments may include therapeutic diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, such as a stop smoking program, herbal medicines, nutritional medicines, manual manipulation or physical therapies. You and your ND would work together to determine the best possible treatments available including those traditionally provided by specialists such as cardiologists, allergists, pulmonary specialists and so on.
Q: Is naturopathic medicine covered by MSP?
A: Provincial subsidies for naturopathic medicine were cut by the liberal government on January 1, 2002. At present there is no MSP coverage available for visits to an ND unless you are on premium assistance. Most extended health plans (i.e., private plans usually through your employer) do cover visits to NDs. Most plans pay 80% of patient visits but make sure you clarify coverage with your benefits manager.
Q: Can you prescribe medications or order lab tests?
A: The physicians of Okanagan Natural Medicine are authorized to write prescriptions for conventional pharmaceutical drugs. They are also able to order labs, however these tests are not covered by MSP.
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