Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to expand the answers.

What is naturopathic medicine?

We have an extensive article on that subject here.

What kind of training does a naturopathic doctor (ND) receive?

Like conventional health care practitioners, such as a medical doctor or a dentist, a naturopathic physician is required to successfully complete pre-medical studies at the university level. After being accepted into one of the accredited naturopathic medical programs, the naturopathic candidate must complete a four-year, full-time course of study. The training is similar to a medical doctor, including basic science and clinical courses, with an emphasis on scientific and traditional medical interventions. In addition to this training, the future naturopathic physician is extensively educated in the philosophy and implementation of safe and effective natural therapeutics with a strong focus on disease prevention.

During the course of this training, the candidate is required to pass two professional board examinations: one at the end of their basic science courses and one upon graduation. After completing their formal training, the graduating naturopathic physician also needs to satisfy all licensing requirements for the particular state or province where they set up their medical practice.

Naturopathic physicians are trained in the modalities of clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, vitamin/supplement therapy, homeopathy, IV therapeutics, physical medicine, and lifestyle counseling. They also order laboratory tests and imaging studies as appropriate and they regularly refer to specialists when needed.

For more information on this subject, please visit the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Colleges website.

I noticed that all of the ND's at your wellness center are licensed by the state of Washington. Are all "Nature Doctors" licensed?

The public should be aware that there are several organizations that allow people to obtain “mail order” or “correspondence school” ND degrees. These programs have haphazard standards with little to no hands-on training in clinical settings under the supervision of licensed professionals.

In states like Washington that require licensure, naturopathic clinicians are required to meet rigorous standards, including passing professional board examinations, before they are allowed to practice. Licensure sets minimum standards for education and training so that the public can be assured of the safety, effectiveness, and quality of these
healthcare professionals.

What is acupuncture?

We have an article on that subject here.

What is a Diplomate in Acupuncture?

This designation, which Dr. Piscopo has earned, is a certification awarded by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in recognition of professional achievement. For more information, please visit the NCCAMOM website.

Are you open to working with my medical doctor (chiropractor, massage therapist, etc.)?

Of course. We strongly believe in assisting our patients in finding the best medical care services possible. For that reason, we maintain an extensive referral network and frequently collaborate with other medical professions in the community.

How is a naturopathic doctor different from a homeopath or herbalist?

In the state of Washington, a naturopathic doctor is a licensed primary care provider, which is not true of a homeopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor. Homeopathy and herbal medicine are two modalities that naturopathic physicians are trained to use. A homeopath or herbalist may have more intensive training in these areas but they are not allowed to diagnose, order medical tests, and treat disease in the same way that naturopathic physicians are.

Can you prescribe medications?

Yes, due to the recent expansion of our scope of practice, naturopathic physicians are able to prescribe most medications, with the exception of controlled substances. We are allowed to prescribe testosterone, however. Given our professional philosophy and treatment style, most of the medicines we use are based on natural substances. However, in order to provide important or timely medical interventions, we will utilize medications appropriate to the situation, such as antibiotics.

Please note that we do not prescribe controlled substances and have no interest in prescribing them, due to onerous medico-legal and management issues. We also do not prescribe medications that require specialized knowledge, such as chemotherapy drugs. For these kinds of interventions, we can be of service by making an appropriate referral.

Will my insurance company cover the cost of supplements?

Supplements are usually not covered by insurance companies. However, there is no sales tax on supplements if prescribed by a physician. If you have a health saving account, you can use it to pay for your supplements.

Do naturopathic physicians base their treatments on ancient healing methods, traditional interventions, or scientific medical information?

Here is a reply from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medicine Colleges:

Today’s naturopathic physicians artfully blend modern, cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. These physicians are succeeding in their goal to present the world with a healing paradigm founded on a rational balance of tradition, science and respect for nature.

Because naturopathic physicians believe in understanding patients from the cellular-level up, they actively pursue the latest biochemical findings relating to the workings of the body and the dynamics of botanical medicines, nutrition, homeopathy and other natural therapies. Their diagnoses and therapeutics are increasingly supported by scientific evidence.

Are you covered by my health insurance? Are you covered by Medicaid/Medicare?

Please see our section on Insurance Issues, which should address your questions. Currently, naturopathic services are not covered by Medicaid/Medicare.

How much do you charge for your services?

Given how rapidly financial realities change within the health care delivery system, including reimbursement schedules of insurance companies, it usually works best if you would contact us by phone so that we can discuss your specific situation.

Why is there a charge when I page you? The doctors at MegaIndustrial Clinic do not charge a paging fee.

One of the limitations of being a small business owner is that we are not subsided by a large conglomerate. The costs for the pager, paging service, and our time is also not reimbursed by your insurance company. The main reason that we charge a fee, however, is that a minority of patients have a tendency to abuse the paging service for issues that are not emergencies. Sadly, a paging fee seems to be the only way to curtail this unfortunate practice.

Why is there no link to contact you by email?

The main reason there is no link to contact us by email is that we are responsible for all information that is communicated to us through any official channel. While phone-messaging systems are for the most part stable, emails are not. If someone was to send us information by email that we did not receive (for a host of reasons), we could still be held liable for that information. Given the current level of technology, as well as the requirements of state and federal privacy guidelines, we feel that email communication is not a viable option for us at present.

Have you considered making supplements available online to established patients?

Yes, we have considered this. The biggest challenge at present is that we would need to hire a new employee to manage handling the order fulfillment and shipping responsibilities. At this point, it is not clear that many of our patients would want this option, so if this would be valuable to you, please let us know.

Why is there no way for me to leave comments about the topics you blog on your home page?

Unfortunately, while we would enjoy reading our patients’ comments on the topics we blog, the website is open to everyone. We currently do not have the staffing that would be required to manage who could comment or to constantly monitor the site for inappropriate language. Therefore, the comment function is not operational at this time.