A new functional medicine practice has recently opened in Ponte Vedra Beach and is now accepting appointments for consultations.
Located at 100 Executive Way across from PVPV-Rawlings Elementary School, Health Partners LLC provides area residents with a “relationship-focused” option that staff members say bridges the gap between traditional, prescription-based primary care and alternative treatment.
“We go upstream from where symptoms are, and we do more than just treat symptoms,” said Founder Lynn Kettell-Slifer, a family nurse practitioner with experience in preventative care, healthcare for the uninsured, medical missions and hospital oncology.
As explained on the practice’s website, functional medicine uses a systems-oriented method to address the underlying causes of disease by engaging both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership – hence the company name, Health Partners.
This is where Kettell-Slifer said functional medicine distinguishes itself from primary care practices. Insurance companies, she said, dictate much of the care that is delivered by primary care providers, often resulting in brief appointments where physicians simply prescribe medications to treat patients’ symptoms. As a result, Kettell-Slifer said, the current healthcare environment has become overly pharmaceutical-based and isn’t helping to solve patients’ problems.
“We’re seeing that prescriptions will treat a symptom and may be a band aid, but it really doesn’t fix you,” she said. “That’s where functional medicine comes in.”
Kettell-Slifer said Health Partners works diligently to develop relationships with its patients to optimize their health. The practice emphasizes the importance of investing time with patients to establish the root cause of their respective issues and help them return to a state of health. In addition to functional medicine, the practice provides weight management services, health coaching and nutritional counseling.
According to Kettell-Slifer, the majority of the practice’s patients are middle-aged people experiencing chronic disease, such as cancer, diabetes, weight issues, fatigue and inflammation. She said many of them have already visited traditional doctors and taken several prescription medications. But unfortunately, she added, they’re not feeling better, and they have decided they want to take control of their healthcare. In addition, she noted that the practice also sees very healthy patients who are trying to maintain their health by identifying potential vulnerabilities in their lives.
Initial consultations, which cost $150, last an hour and a half and include a detailed clinical and lifestyle assessment. The examination dives deep into all aspects of the patient’s makeup, including nutrition, sleep and relaxation, exercise and movement, stress, relationships, mental disposition and spiritual health. If necessary, the consultation also includes targeted diagnostic testing for an additional cost. Patients leave with a personalized evaluation and treatment plan based on their specific needs.
Kettell-Slifer said follow up appointments last 30 to 45 minutes, with costs for additional care depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
Health Partners does not take insurance, said Kettell-Slifer, because it would require additional staff to deal with the health care companies, which would increase the cost of care. More importantly, she noted that insurance companies would dictate the type of care her practice could provide, as they do with primary care practices. That wouldn’t allow the practice to invest the necessary time with their patients to establish the true source of their problems, she said.
Kettell-Slifer opened Health Partners in early March with her business partner Dr. Suzanne Kersbergen, an osteopath certified in obesity medicine. The practice’s team also includes office manager Stephanie Bedsaul.
“That’s our small group trying to make a difference in people’s health here in Ponte Vedra,” she said. “We are really passionate about the health of our patients. This is about working together with the patients to optimize their health in a true partnership.”