FAQ - frequently asked questions
Where does the name Spectrum Family come from?
Spectrum Family was first conceived as an integrative medical practice for families with children on the autism spectrum, but has since expanded to include other behavioral health issues. The idea of a spectrum is that when we face a behavioral health challenge, it presents a little bit differently in each of us as individuals. This is true of autism but also ADD, addiction, depression, anxiety and so many others. At Spectrum Family we recognize that each patient is unique and needs to be seen as a whole, unique person with treatment right for them.
The family in Spectrum Family comes from the fact we practice under the family medicine model of care. We recognize that although we are each individuals, we are part of a family, a community, a culture. The health of these groups and how we interact with them is a big part of our wellness and needs to be part of treatment as well. We are also Spectrum Family because when you're a patient here, you become a part of our family. The doctor patient relationship is supposed to be one of trust and vulnerability. Our culture has lost this in recent years due to insurance companies and the government putting burdensome requirements on doctors, reducing how much time they spend with patients and causing burnout. We've also seen urgent care centers replacing primary care doctors, a place where you're in and out with a doctor you'll never see again. That's bad medicine. Things are different here at Spectrum Family.
We hope you'll feel like you're family here from your first interactions with our staff to your time in our family friendly, comfy waiting room, to the care you receive from our physician.
What conditions do you treat at Spectrum Family?
Spectrum Family is an integrative medical practice treating addiction and providing certification for medical marijuana.
What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine combines the best of mainstream medicine with alternative and complimentary treatments. Our physician is board certified in Family Medicine but has also studied complimentary medicine and is board certified in Integrative Pediatrics as well. We believe in keeping an open mind to new treatments (unlike much of mainstream medicine) but always applying critical analysis and scientific scrutiny before accepting it (unlike some of the alternative treatment community). Your treatment plan here may include prescription medicine but also alternative treatments such as supplements, exercise, aromatherapy, nutrition, prayer or meditation, osteopathic manipulation as well as others.
Integrative medicine also seeks to get to the root of health problems instead of just treating each symptom. For instance, mainstream medicine might treat acid reflux with a medicine like an H2 blocker but our approach is to ask why the stomach is producing too much acid and to try to heal the gut to prevent the problem instead of covering it up with prescription medicines. We're focused not on disease, but on wellness. We're here not only to help you achieve as much healing as possible of your diagnoses, but to help you achieve good health, whatever that looks like for you.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not accept insurance at Spectrum Family. Unfortunately, insurance companies today have imposed so many restrictions and requirements on doctors, it prevents quality medical care. Doctors who accept insurance spend 20% of their day dealing with paper work and calling insurance providers about denied claims. This leads to two things: physician burnout and reduced time with patients. Because of decreasing reimbursement and increasing overhead, physicians are forced to see more and more patients for the same income. They can't spend the time they want and need to with their patients. This contributes, along with other factors, to extremely high rates of physician burnout. Symptoms of burnout include a lack of empathy and compassion, depression, desire to leave the medical profession and irritability. Do you want a physician who dreads coming to work and can't wait to get done with your appointment so they can leave? Do you want a rushed appointment with a distracted doctor? At Spectrum, we want something better. Healing cannot happen in that kind of environment. As a result, we only accept direct payment from our patients.
Can I submit a claim to my insurance for my visit?
Yes. Many patients are able to recover a portion of the office visit fee by submitting it to their
insurance after the visit as an Out of Network visit.
Do you offer medication assisted treatment (MAT)?
Yes, at Spectrum our physician prescribes Suboxone or Subutex when appropriate.
Do you offer induction?
Yes, we are able to begin you on Suboxone or Subutex. Induction is begun in our office and then continued at home if needed. It is often possible to begin induction the same day as your initial appointment if you discuss it with us when making your appointment.
Do you see pregnant patients?
Yes, our physician is board certified in Family Medicine and able to treat pregnant and nursing patients for opiate addiction. Care will be coordinated with your obstetrician who will need to be aware of your treatment.
Do you prescribe Suboxone only, or Subutex too?
Our physician does prescribe Subutex where clinically indicated.
Is there mandatory counseling?
We require either counseling or AA/NA meetings at least once a month. Beyond that, you will work with our physician on developing your treatment plan which will often include individual or family counseling or more frequent AA/NA meetings. The treatment plan is individualized for each patient and there is no counseling, group or individual, currently offered at Spectrum. Our patients are free to find the counselor or group that is best for them.
Do you provide the Suboxone on site?
We do not. We do, however, have a good relationship with local pharmacies who are happy to fill your prescription.
Do you only see addiction patients?
Spectrum Family sees patients with a variety of behavioral health issues, not just opiate addiction
How many physicians do you have?
We only have one physician so you see the same doctor every time and are able to build up a relationship.
What should I expect at my first visit?
When you arrive at our office, there will be an intake packet waiting for you in the waiting room. You will have time to fill this out before the doctor sees you. This is an important part of your appointment. You will also find the Welcome to Spectrum packet and have time to begin to review it.
After meeting our physician, she will take a thorough history and conduct a physical exam. You will complete a urine drug screen as part of your exam. The doctor will get to know you and answer any questions you have. She will create a treatment plan and review it with you, encouraging your input. We'll schedule your next appointment and let you know what's next.
Why do you treat autism and PANDAS in particular?
Our physician, Dr. Spaar, has two children on the autism spectrum and three with PANS: Mies is thirteen and has PDD and PANS, Max is twelve and has Asperger's and PANDAS and Lena is five and has PANS. She became interested in alternative medical treatments even before her oldest son received his official diagnosis. She's seen improvements in both her children with medical treatment and has seen the results other parents have had in her clinical training and with the parents she has spoken with over the years as a part of the autism community. Dr. Spaar made the decision to become a doctor when her son was a newborn. He'd been diagnosed with a genetic and a neurologic disorder at 6 days old. She was frustrated with the way most of his physicians dismissed the research she did on her own and the questions she raised with them. She decided to go into medicine to be a different kind of doctor. She diagnosed her son Max with PANDAS after eight years of seeing over a dozen specialists who all failed to accurately diagnose him. She is passionate about treating these children as well as reaching out to physicians to educate them to catch PANDAS cases early on.
Will you be my child's PCP?
No. We provide specialized care and will not be your child's PCP. We recognize the importance of primary care for wellness and will work with your PCP.
What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine combines the best of mainstream medicine with alternative and complimentary treatments. Our physician is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulation but has also studied complimentary medicine and is Board Certified in Integrative Pediatrics as well. She is in the process of entering the MAPS fellowship program also.
We believe in keeping an open mind to new treatments (unlike much of mainstream medicine) but always applying critical analysis and scientific scrutiny before accepting it (unlike some of the alternative treatment community). Your child's treatment plan here may include prescription medicine but also alternative treatments such as supplements, exercise, aromatherapy, nutrition, osteopathic manipulation as well as others. Our physician is always researching new treatments and theories of possible causes of autism as they come up. We also welcome you sharing anything you may have read about it or heard about from other parents so we can discuss it.
Integrative medicine also seeks to get to the root of health problems instead of just treating each symptom. Researchers are learning more about the complex causes of autism today which allows for more treatments of the disorder itself rather than the symptoms. We now know it is not simply a psychiatric condition but a disorder involving the gut, the immune system, the nervous system and even the musculoskeletal system. Mainstream medicine is lagging behind even as solid research from major medical centers comes out.
We're focused not on disease, but on wellness. We're here not only to help you and your child achieve as much healing as possible, but to help them achieve good health, whatever that looks like for them