FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE IN SANTA FE, NM

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What does medical care look like in the present age?

It usually means having approximately 5 or 10 minutes with your doctor, barely enough time to report one symptom or health issue. The doctor may quickly label your diagnosis and subsequently “match a pill to your ill.” An expensive pharmaceutical may be prescribed, with perhaps little attention to how the prescribed medication will be processed by your body or how it will interact with other medications you may be taking. With today’s medical care, there is usually very little attempt to listen to the patient’s complete story and get to the root cause of the illness.  There is usually little hope of healing the patient, because today’s medical care is more about managing illness.

When I completed medical school, I became a vascular surgeon because I felt that the surgical specialties presented the best opportunity for a doctor to intervene and resolve the patient’s medical problem, instead of temporizing it. A new branch of medicine has emerged in the early 21st century called “Functional Medicine,” which enables doctors to work with their patients in a therapeutic partnership focused on restoring biochemical balance, healing chronic illnesses, and living in a state of wellness. Instead of focusing only on the present symptoms of disease, it focuses on the antecedent events that precede the onset of diagnosis, a concept known as “upstream medicine.” I was very excited to learn about Functional Medicine, because focusing on the root cause of medical problems enables practitioners to potentially cure patients and prevent illness, a concept that is similar as to why surgery was appealing to me. 

In the body, your DNA contains genetic instructions for carrying out biochemical processes. Until recently, it was believed that diseases were “hard-wired” into our genes. We now understand that although an individual can carry a certain gene and be predisposed to developing illness, environmental factors such as nutrition, vitamins,  exposure to toxins, exercise, sleep, and stress have a huge impact on how your genetic material is expressed.  

As an example, identical twins are known to have the same DNA.  Their fingerprint patterns, however, are different and unique, related to different developmental experiences that twins have in utero.

Your genes are like a car, and the performance of your car can be affected by the quality of fuel you put into it.  You have the ability to make other performance upgrades to your vehicle, and you have control as its driver to select whether your destination will be illness or wellness.

Santa Fe Functional Medicine is a Functional Medicine program which begins with a comprehensive health analysis, physical examination, and usually some laboratory tests. The results of these things enable the creation of a personalized wellness plan. There are many different options for patient participation in the Santa Fe Functional Medicine program. With the purchase of a membership plan, we offer:

  •  Comprehensive health evaluations
  •  Identification of health imbalances focusing on medical root cause analysis
  • Creation of a Functional Medicine Timeline and Matrix to organize your clinical imbalances
  •   Creation of a personalized Functional Medicine Care Plan, using a team approach
  • Office visits with Dr. Biggs, an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP)
  • Specific medication and/or supplement recommendations
  • 10% off vitamin and supplement purchases
  • Free in-house phlebotomy for Functional Medicine laboratory tests drawn in the office
  • Interpretation of Functional Medicine laboratory tests
  • Personalized nutrition plans in a colorful booklet format, with food lists, shopping lists, recipes, and comprehensive guides
  •  Customized exercise plans
  • Stress reduction guidance
  • Mindfulness and meditation resources
  • Guide to achieving restful sleep
  • Free access to lunch-and-learn events
  • Free access to all Functional Medicine lectures and events
  • Access to the Santa Fe Functional Medicine community to build supportive relationships
  • Access to discounted health coaching programs
  •  Ongoing assessment and management of progress

We specialize in treating patients with:

  • A desire to improve overall health and increase longevity
  • Stress and adrenal issues
  • Thyroid problems
  • Peri-menopause or menopausal symptoms or concerns
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol problems
  • Pre-diabetes or diabetes
  • Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Problems with yeast and "bad bacteria" in the gut
  • Heartburn and digestive problems
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Concerns about memory loss
  • Excessive toxic burden
  • Allergies, sensitivities, and reactions to foods and environment
  • A desire for non-pharmaceutical, non-surgical weight loss
  • A desire for optimizing athletic performance and/or competitive athletic event outcomes

 

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How would you describe your practice?

Santa Fe Functional Medicine is a health education and wellness program.  Dr. Biggs works with her patients in therapeutic partnerships, restoring biochemical balance, healing chronic illness, and living in a state of wellness.  Instead of focusing only on the present symptoms of disease, Functional Medicine examines the events that precede the onset of diagnosis, a concept known as “upstream medicine.” 

Our health journey together begins with a comprehensive health analysis, physical examination, and usually some Functional Medicine laboratory tests.  The results of these things enable the creation of a personalized wellness plan. There are many different options for patient participation in the Santa Fe Functional Medicine program.

Through a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors, the information can be leveraged to create personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.

How can I learn more about how I might benefit from a Functional Medicine approach to my healthcare?

If you would like to read more about Functional Medicine, we recommend exploring the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website.  There, you can learn more about how the Institute for Functional Medicine was established, as well as tips and resources for being an empowered patient.  https://www.ifm.org/

Please describe your Functional Medicine training.

Dr. Biggs began studying with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) in June 2016.  Initially, she attended the five day seminar “Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP),” which piqued her interest in the novel root-cause approach to health and healing.  Over the period of two years, she has invested 500+ hours attending all six Advanced Practice Modules and preparing to take the Certification Exam offered through the IFM. Dr. Biggs successfully passed the examination process and became recognized as an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP) in May 2018.  At the time of this posting in June 2018, Dr. Biggs is one of seven certified practitioners in New Mexico and one of less than 500 certified practitioners in the United States. She is very passionate about this approach to health care and is excited to be offering the Santa Fe Functional Medicine program to the community.

Why is there a fee for the membership?

Health care in the present age usually involves a 5 or 10 minute visit with your doctor, barely enough time to report one symptom or health issue.  There is usually little attempt to listen to the patient’s complete story and get to the root cause of the illness. Today’s medical care is more about managing illness rather than promoting health and wellness.  Many services and technologies used by Santa Fe Functional Medicine, including the extensive amount of time required to deliver personalized health care, are not reimbursed by health insurance plans. 

What kind of medical experience do you have?

Dr. Biggs has over 18 years of medical experience.  After graduating from The University of Texas Health Science Center medical school in 2000, she completed a six year general surgery residency program at the same institution.  She then completed a two year vascular surgery fellowship at UCLA. 

Dr. Biggs relocated to Albuquerque in 2008 to become Assistant Professor of Vascular Surgery at The University of New Mexico Hospital.  Her initial roles there involved evaluating patients in the vascular surgery clinic and in the emergency room, performing scheduled and emergent operations on patients with arterial and vein problems, and caring for patients as they recovered from surgery.  She accepted a mentorship position as the Associate Program Director of General Surgery, enabling her to teach general surgery residents and prepare them for in-training examinations. Dr. Biggs served as the Medical Director of the UNM Vein Center from 2010 until she founded her own practice in Santa Fe in July 2012.

Dr. Biggs’s private practice initially focused on the evaluation and care of patients with vein problems and treatment of clients with aesthetic concerns.  She became interested in anti-aging medicine in 2016 and began studying the with The Institute for Functional Medicine at that time.

Please describe your Functional Medicine training.

Dr. Biggs has over 18 years of medical experience.  After graduating from The University of Texas Health Science Center medical school in 2000, she completed a six year general surgery residency program at the same institution.  She then completed a two year vascular surgery fellowship at UCLA. 

Dr. Biggs relocated to Albuquerque in 2008 to become Assistant Professor of Vascular Surgery at The University of New Mexico Hospital.  Her initial roles there involved evaluating patients in the vascular surgery clinic and in the emergency room, performing scheduled and emergent operations on patients with arterial and vein problems, and caring for patients as they recovered from surgery.  She accepted a mentorship position as the Associate Program Director of General Surgery, enabling her to teach general surgery residents and prepare them for in-training examinations. Dr. Biggs served as the Medical Director of the UNM Vein Center from 2010 until she founded her own practice in Santa Fe in July 2012.

Dr. Biggs’s private practice initially focused on the evaluation and care of patients with vein problems and treatment of clients with aesthetic concerns.  She became interested in anti-aging medicine in 2016 and began studying the with The Institute for Functional Medicine at that time.

Please describe your Functional Medicine training.

Dr. Biggs began studying with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) in June 2016.  Initially, she attended the five day seminar “Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP),” which piqued her interest in the novel root-cause approach to health and healing.  Over the period of two years, she has invested 500+ hours attending all six Advanced Practice Modules and preparing to take the Certification Exam offered through the IFM. Dr. Biggs successfully passed the examination process and became recognized as an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP) in May 2018.  At the time of this posting in June 2018, Dr. Biggs is one of seven certified practitioners in New Mexico and one of less than 500 certified practitioners in the United States. She is very passionate about this approach to health care and is excited to be offering the Santa Fe Functional Medicine program to the community.

Will you be my primary care physician? Why am I required to have a primary care physician?

No, we require that you have your own primary care physician.  Dr. Biggs’s training is in General Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Functional Medicine.  She does not provide acute care services or renew prescriptions for chronic conditions prescribed by primary care providers.  Our service model focuses more on keeping patients well, instead of simply treating them when they are acutely sick. Dr. Biggs will work closely with you as a consultant in preventive, nutritional, and functional medicine to help you address the root cause of chronic health concerns as well as to live in a state of wellness.  

What is your pricing? Do you take insurance? Or are you a cash practice?

Santa Fe Functional Medicine offers the following membership plans:

With a Qualified Insurance:
•    12 month Functional Medicine Consultation Membership ($2500), or 12 monthly payments of $210 each, plus tax
•    6 month Functional Medicine Consultation Membership ($1750), or 6 monthly payments of $300 each, plus tax
With a Non-Qualified Insurance:
•    12 month Functional Medicine Consultation Membership ($3000), or 12 monthly payments of $250 each, plus tax
•    6 month Functional Medicine Consultation Membership ($2250), or 6 monthly payments of $375 each, plus tax

Why is there a fee for the membership?

Health care in the present age usually involves a 5 or 10 minute visit with your doctor, barely enough time to report one symptom or health issue.  There is usually little attempt to listen to the patient’s complete story and get to the root cause of the illness. Today’s medical care is more about managing illness rather than promoting health and wellness.  Many services and technologies used by Santa Fe Functional Medicine, including the extensive amount of time required to deliver personalized health care, are not reimbursed by health insurance plans. 

How does health insurance work with my membership?

Health insurance covers medical services that fall within your plan in accordance with the terms of your plan.  Santa Fe Functional Medicine is not a substitute for health insurance or health care rendered by primary care providers.  The membership plans offered through Santa Fe Functional Medicine cover certain services that are not covered by your health insurance plan.  

Does my Santa Fe Functional Medicine membership cover my deductible and co-insurance or co-pay?

No.  When billing to health insurance, providers are contractually obligated to collect your co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible in accordance with your health insurance plan.  Knowing your insurance benefits and the terms of your plan is your responsibility. Your obligation to pay a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible to your health insurance plan does not change with participation in a Santa Fe Functional Medicine membership plan.  Since membership services are non-covered, they typically won’t count toward your annual deductible.

Can I use my health savings account (e.g. HSA) for payment of the membership fee?

The terms of health savings accounts differ among different programs.  It is best to contact the Program Administrator of your health savings account for the best, most current information.  Santa Fe Functional Medicine is unable to contact your Program Administrator on your behalf, but we can provide you with an itemized list of all expenses incurred throughout the year for you to submit for reimbursement, as applicable.

Why is the initial enrollment term for six months or one year?

Rather than apply a “quick fix” to a health concern, our belief is that it is preferable to search for the root cause and subsequently address it at that level.  This process can take time. Oftentimes, significant insight is gained by performing Functional Medicine laboratory tests and subsequently reviewing the data. Recommendations are made to optimize nutrition and modifiable lifestyle factors based on the laboratory results, and these lifestyle changes also require a period of time to implement.  Patients will receive health education which will empower them to make life-changing improvements in their health status rather than simply temporizing their health situation.

Do you use laboratory tests? Are they typically covered by insurance?

Santa Fe Functional Medicine provides access to many different Functional Medicine tests.  We offer free in-house phlebotomy for laboratory tests requiring a blood draw as part of our membership plans. Whether a laboratory test can be billed to health insurance depends on the test being performed and the insurance plan subscribed to by the patient.  Oftentimes, there will still be an out-of-pocket expense to the patient, even with laboratory tests billed to health insurance. We have negotiated favorable pricing with most labs used in the event that you do not have a qualified health insurance or the test is not covered by health insurance.  Santa Fe Functional Medicine will make every effort to advise you of any out-of-pocket expenses in advance. At times, it may be impossible to foresee individual out-of-pocket expenses due to changes in the health insurance industry.

1.Data on file. ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc.

What should I do to prepare for my first visit?

Congratulations on making the commitment to improving your health and altering your life’s course!  Please contact the office to receive more information about what is included in the 6 month and 12 month membership plans.  You will receive email access to the Living Matrix, our electronic medical record software program. Prior to your first visit, you can expect to fill out comprehensive health history forms in the Living Matrix in the comfort of your home.  This process may take up to two to three hours and can be saved throughout the collection process, enabling you to take breaks. In addition, we will send you some administrative forms to be completed prior to your first visit.

It is very helpful to gather recent laboratory tests or medical test results performed at other offices within the past couple of years.  We will also need an up-to-date list of your medications and supplements. Please bring these documents with you to your first appointment.

Dr. Biggs will spend one hour of time reviewing the data you entered on the Living Matrix before you come to the office.  Your appointment will be reserved for a one-hour block of time for your initial consultation. For these reasons, a non-refundable deposit fee is required at the time of securing your appointment.

1.Data on file. ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc.

Do you offer telephone or online consultations?

At this time, we are unable to offer telephone or online consultations.  This may be an option in the future.

It is very helpful to gather recent laboratory tests or medical test results performed at other offices within the past couple of years.  We will also need an up-to-date list of your medications and supplements. Please bring these documents with you to your first appointment.

Dr. Biggs will spend one hour of time reviewing the data you entered on the Living Matrix before you come to the office.  Your appointment will be reserved for a one-hour block of time for your initial consultation. For these reasons, a non-refundable deposit fee is required at the time of securing your appointment.

1.Data on file. ZELTIQ Aesthetics, Inc.

Athletic Performance Optimization

A Functional Medicine approach can be applied to athletic performance optimization as well. Rigorous athletic training can place excessive physical and emotional stress on athletes, potentially negatively affecting performance, health, and well-being. When athletes undergo performance optimization, they can potentially beat the performance of their competitors and their own personal records.

Athletic performance optimization is a program that involves a comprehensive health analysis, physical examination, and usually some laboratory tests. We focus on improving awareness of the modifiable lifestyle factors that affect performance, such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and relationships. Our program does not prescribe anabolic steroids, performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals, or illicit drugs.

Some athletes have received nutritional or supplementation advice from other sources which was neither based on their unique needs as determined from laboratory tests, nor promoted the use of a medical grade athletic supplement. At Santa Fe Functional Medicine, we make nutrition and supplement recommendations based on individual clients' laboratory test results, so the plan is customized to the client. The supplements available for purchase in the office are of a medical grade, meaning that they have undergone quality assurance and quality control procedures to confirm that they contain the actual ingredients described on the product label, in the actual amounts listed on the product label, and are free from contaminants and potentially harmful substances. Thus, the supplements are appropriate for sale in a medical office. Using Functional Medicine, each athletic performance optimization treatment plan is personalized for the athlete’s individual needs. Treatment takes into consideration a person’s individual history and biological background, the type of athletic pursuit the athlete specializes in, and modifiable lifestyle factors that can affect performance, such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and relationships.

We can help you with your Functional Medicine and athletic performance optimization needs here at our state-of-the-art center. Contact us for more details and we will be glad to assist you in getting the treatment you deserve!