HW: East meets West under one roof at GJ medical practic
It’s unusual to find a medical doctor and a naturopathic doctor working in the same building, let alone with the same patients.
The Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado, which opened in April, is changing the norm. Experts in several health and wellness fields, including doctors practicing Western and Eastern medicine, work under the same roof at the center.
The professionals collaborate to provide patients with holistic care by using complementary treatment methods. With patient permission, the health and wellness experts meet to discuss individual patients.
Teri Rawlins-Cardell, 54, is a patient at the center, working with three doctors from three different disciplines: Christopher Lepisto, a naturopathic doctor; April Schulte-Barclay, a doctor in acupuncture and Oriental medicine; and Scott Rollins, a family physician.
“It’s nice that the three of them talk to each other about (me),” Rawlins-Cardell said. “I feel like
I’m getting total care and somebody is paying attention to my needs. Each one contributes something different. Together, they comprise a wonderful, caring alternative health treatment for you.”
Educating the public about integrative health care will take time, said Dr. Paula King, one of two psychologists also with the Integrative Medicine Center.
The concept of integrative health care includes multiple providers working with one patient and communicating with each other about what treatments are or are not working.
“I believe it’s the most efficient, cost-effective way to get people well,” said Dr. Chris Young, a psychologist.
Several years ago, Rawlins-Cardell began experiencing menopausal symptoms so severe she had trouble sleeping, concentrating and controlling her mood swings, and she struggled with depression.
Her medical doctor recommended pills, including Valium, which upset her.
“Menopause is natural,” Rawlins-Cardell said. “Why treat it with synthetic drugs?”
Rawlins-Cardell consulted with Lepisto, who suggested natural supplements and a visit to Schulte-Barclay.
“It helped a lot. I still have the symptoms, but they are much more under control,” Rawlins-Cardell said.
Rawlins-Cardell also works with Rollins when she needs more traditional Western treatment.
Several of the doctors or other experts at the center also maintain private practices.
“I wanted a medical doctor who would work with the natural doctor and acupuncturist and not say it was voodoo,” said Rawlins-Cardell, who added that “there are times when your body demands Western treatment.”
Integrative health care isn’t necessarily covered by insurance plans, although insurance providers may cover aspects of integrative care, such as psychologist visits or diagnostic procedures.
The Integrative Medicine Center does not accept insurance, but patients can file their own claims if some form of their treatment at the center is covered.
The center’s staff includes a medical doctor, a medical assistant, nurse practitioners, a naturopathic doctor, a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, two psychologists, a message therapist, a yoga and Tai chi instructor, an occupational therapist, a nutritionist and a laser skin specialist.
For more information, call 245-6911 or go to http://www.imcwc.com.