Help this Santa Monica girl stop relying on Big Pharma.
August 25, 2010 11:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations for a primary care physician who is also a naturopath, acupuncturist, or osteopath, or who at least is receptiveto eastern and/or complementary medicine. Preferably in Santa Monica but will consider the greater west side of Los Angeles. Bonus points if they accept my lousy Blue Shield California HMO insurance. Thanks in advance!
posted by chez shoes to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've searched for "complementary medicine" physicians in LA, and most of them do not accept any insurance plan. Let alone HMO plan [with its miserly stipend]. There's one doctor in Pasadena who has been rated the best doctor in LA several times, practising for 40 years, who does not accept insurance because he won't let the bean-counters make medical decisions.
Do you have medical savings plan at your company? Sometimes you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for medical care.
posted by ohshenandoah at 1:25 PM on August 25, 2010

Thanks ohshenandoah, it's not the financial side I'm worried about as much as finding someone with actual experience with the physician, so I can ask a few more specific questions about the experience. Even on my craptastic HMO plan, there are a few family practice docs who do acupuncture, so I know they exist.
posted by chez shoes at 1:38 PM on August 25, 2010

I can't steer you to anybody in particular. So, a couple of suggestions:

You can try filtering the list of local primary care doctors Blue Cross gives you so that you have a list of DOs instead of MDs. My primary is a DO (whom I chose because growing up my primary was a DO that was also knowledgdable regarding acupuncture, acupressure and chiropracy, but was in East County San Diego), and I like the DO philosophy when it comes to primary care. I don't know my current DO's thoughts on eastern/complimentary meds, though.

Also, check your plan; it may actually cover acupuncture. I have Blue Cross Anthem, and it covers some acupuncture. Anyways, when you get your list of approved acupuncturists from Blue Cross, see if any of them are actually MDs or DOs that do primary care.

Once you have your list of potential doctors, don't be afraid to call and ask them about their policies on eastern meds, osteopathy, and naturopathy. The worst you will get is no response.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:46 PM on August 25, 2010

Thanks, jabberjaw. I do have a separate plan that does cover acupuncture to a very limited extent, but I'd like to have a primary care doc who is a little more open-minded than the ones I've seen thus far. My current Blue Shield (not Blue Cross, oh I *wish* it was!) plan claims to also cover it, but has refused every request my primary care doc has put in. Frankly, I don't think he's trying hard enough.

Blue Shield doesn't even have an option for filtering to find DOs, but I know they have DOs in their system since a neurologist they sent me to was a DO. They just don't make it easy to find them.

I'll keep shopping around...
posted by chez shoes at 3:53 PM on August 25, 2010

In Pasadena, we have Paracelsus (Dr. Barker is one of the coolest docs ever... I haven't seen him personally, but he and I have lots of mutual clients, and I can tell you that he's very well-loved and well-respected by his patients). Maybe they know of some westsiders?
posted by so_gracefully at 9:33 PM on August 25, 2010

Thank you, so_gracefully! I'll give them a call.
posted by chez shoes at 7:34 AM on August 26, 2010

Not sure if this exactly fits your bill, but the UCLA Parkside office (takes lots of different insurance) has 3 or 4 regular doctors as well as, I think they call it, their "Eastern Medicine" office, right next door in the same building. The regular doctors are very good, but I don't have any experience with the Eastern Medicine docs. I suppose they probably are used to working closely together. It's on Santa Monica just east of St. Johns hospital - I think around 26th-28th street.

It's not exactly what you're looking for, since definitely not the whole package in one doctor, but maybe it would get you closer until you find what you're looking for.
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:42 PM on August 26, 2010

Thanks bluesky78987, that's very helpful - based on their website, it looks like their regular doctors might take my insurance and that I may be able to self-refer to the Eastern medicine doctors.

BY any chance, do you have a particular physician that you can recommend?
posted by chez shoes at 7:27 AM on August 27, 2010

Ha, you would ask that. My favorite doctor (and I loved him soooooo much) moved to Texas a few months back, so I switched to Dr. Kennedy. So far I like him, but I've only been in to see him once.
posted by bluesky78987 at 10:22 PM on August 27, 2010

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