Frequently asked questions
For now, yes. While we are currently focusing on Long COVID care, we plan to expand our care offerings to additional patient groups (i.e. those with POTS, ME/CFS, MCAS, IBS, etc. not associated with COVID) in January 2023. We will be opening up the waitlist to non-Covid19-triggered illnesses in December 2022, so please check our website in December!
We are accepting patients age 18 and up. For 17 year olds who are turning 18 in a few months, please still sign up on the waitlist. We are looking to expand access to ages 6 through 17 very shortly.
Yes, we accept patients who developed Long COVID symptoms after vaccination as well as after infection! We are interested in the mechanisms behind “vaccine long haul” and how they are similar and different from “infection-induced long haul.” At RTHM, we feel it’s our duty to help the people who got the vaccine to help protect themselves and those around them and then suffered ill effects.
During the consultation, you and your provider will review your medical history & symptoms and determine what labs and testing are needed, and any specialist referrals. Visit two with your provider occurs when all or most of the lab results are back so they can be reviewed with you and the best protocols for treatments, and any additional testing or referrals.
Visit two is generally where your provider will order any prescriptions or supplements that are part of your plan through your local pharmacy or a trusted supplement distributor.
You pay for your prescription through the pharmacy or the supplement distributor.
If a pharmacy prescription is very expensive, or not covered by your insurance, please check GoodRX.com for a coupon for your medication (there are many excellent discounts you can get on prescription medications).
If the medication costs >$50 despite the coupon & it is helping your symptoms, we will submit an insurance prior authorization to try and get the medication covered for the following month, however, prior authorizations for off label use of medications may often be denied – we cannot guarantee insurance coverage, just work with you to try to reduce medication costs and find any alternatives as best we can.
No, RTHM does not replace your primary care physician. You are required to have a primary care physician while you work with RTHM.
RTHM focuses on complex illness medicine rather than primary care and will do our best to coordinate WITH your primary care physician to care for your Long COVID symptoms and conditions. As our providers are experts in complex illness medicine, we recommend seeing your primary care physician for age-appropriate cancer & disease screenings and management, as well as for acute issues (e.g. urinary tract infection, strep throat, etc.). We do not have providers on call after hours to handle acute care problems. For acute care issues, please see your local primary care, urgent care, or ER.
You can, but it will be a lot of blood to have drawn at one time, so we’d generally recommend breaking it over 2-3 draw appointments, especially if you have post exertional malaise (PEM or PESE), tend to get dizzy or lightheaded easily or know that you tend to become more symptomatic after blood draws.
If you are anemic, iron deficient, or get very ill with blood draws, please let your RTHM provider know at your first visit. There are some lab companies that can run more labs on less tubes of blood, but they do not accept insurance. Using such a lab may be a better option for you.
No, not at this time.
We are also unable to accept patients with Kaiser Permanente, VA or TriCare, Medicaid (or MediCal in CA) and certain Medicare health insurance plans because such plans do not legally allow patients to pay cash for parts of their care, and others generally do not cover labs, procedures, imaging, referrals and treatments ordered by clinicians who are not within their respective organizations.
We are not contracted or in network with any health insurance provider at this time, but are actively working on becoming in network! It turns out every clinician has to be registered for every insurance plan in every state…separately. There are multiple hundreds of insurance plans across the US, so this effort has been taking longer than we’d hoped. We appreciate your patience!
Lab tests will be covered by your insurance in most cases. For visit costs, we are not currently in-network with any health insurance carriers and are not able to bill insurers for the cost of provider visits at this time, so the costs listed above are out of pocket.
However, we are actively working on becoming in-network with several health insurance carriers to cover visit costs and will share updates as they become available.
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Spending Account (HSA) can be used to pay for any costs associated with your care through RTHM – (i.e. monthly subscription costs, lab work, imaging, procedures or other testing, medications, etc.).
Yes! RTHM can provide you with superbills for your visits if you wish to try to get some of the costs reimbursed on your own through your out-of-network insurance benefits.
This answer depends on your individual insurance plan, as each has different laboratory testing coverage policies & rates. Generally, our providers order labs through Quest Diagnostics if Quest offers them in your area because Quest is contracted with many major insurance plans. If Quest is a contracted lab for your insurance plan, the labs ordered by your RTHM provider through Quest should be covered in accordance with the policies of your individual insurance plan (since Quest is the one that bills your insurance for the labs, not RTHM). Your deductible and co-pays may still apply to lab costs.
Then, unfortunately we will not be able to have you join RTHM as a patient.
The labs we order can be quite expensive and are generally not affordable without insurance coverage.
First of all, thank you! You can donate to support the costs of visits and treatments for RTHM patients who need your help soon! We will share the link here when available. Your donation will be 100% tax deductible and you will receive the appropriate documentation thanks to our incredible charity organization sponsor, ErasePTSDnow.org. ErasePTSDnow was really struck by how many people with Long COVID have medical PTSD, so they generously agreed to manage and distribute funds on a needs-based basis that are donated for RTHM’s Long COVID patients using their non-profit charter. It would have taken RTHM ~9 months to get a non-profit charter of our own, so ErasePTSD’s generosity has allowed us to start supporting our Long COVID patients right away!