How I Practice Functional Medicine with Yousef Elyaman, MD

Physician in pediatric clinical visit

Functional medicine clinician Yousef Elyaman, MD, uses an insurance-based hybrid in his Florida-based practice. “I see patients with insurance, and we try to use their insurance as much as possible, but we also don’t want to keep patients from getting the services that may help them.”

One of the initial challenges that clinicians first face when adopting functional medicine is often how to make this model of care work within a traditional insurance-based practice. Given that both the evidence and the demand for functional medicine are growing and gaining traction, more patients are seeking functional medicine that is reimbursed through traditional insurance fee structures. The challenge of this mode, however, is balancing the delivery of more thorough care and experiencing the rewards of clinical success against offering functional medicine to a wider range of patients. Recent updates to billing and coding procedures show promise for a wider acceptance of functional medicine practices in the coming years.

In the following video, Dr. Elyaman describes his functional medicine practice:

Dr. Elyaman combines functional and integrative medicine through a systems-based approach. He believes in taking the time necessary to get to know his patients and involve them in their path to health. To this end, he works with an exercise physiologist and nutrition specialist on staff as well as a behavioral health specialist to develop comprehensive treatment plans.

Finding that they can deliver value-based care that leads to better patient outcomes, many functional medicine practitioners tend to favor a private-pay model or a hybrid insurance model. Doing so can lessen the financial burden of healthcare costs while still delivering comprehensive care to patients. A private-pay model places fewer restrictions on the type, scope, and length of care, meaning providers can personalize treatment plans for each individual. Patients know exactly what they are getting and for how much, allowing them more flexible options for specialized treatments and pay structures. At Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP), clinicians acquire new skills for approaching clinical care from multiple angles and creating personalized and cost-effective treatment plans that meet patients where they are in their health journey.

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