GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is the International Headache Center?

A vision and a work-in-progress. A place where patients with headache and facial pain can come for treatment that is comprehensive and streamlined - and is accessible to all individuals across the globe.

What's the difference between a headache center and a headache clinic?

"Center" is a more comprehensive umbrella term which incorporates different modalities of healthcare - this includes a more traditional clinic structure. So, yes, we are a headache clinic, but we go beyond that to provide services that promote overall well-being in order to ensure we are treating the whole person.

What is Direct Healthcare?

A healthcare model that promotes a direct doctor-patient relationship. This model encompasses not only direct access to the medical professionals themselves, but also to the financial system within which they operate. By using a direct-pay model, patients pay for what they need, when they need it, and in a way that works for them. Insurance policies do not factor in unless they become required for more complicated and costly procedures.

What does it mean to be an IHC Member?

It means that you are an integral part of a community. We get the struggles and the victories associated with headache conditions and their management. Our community aims to empower its individuals and get them in control of their neurological condition. Members are able to develop a functional framework built on respect and support. This respect includes the clinic, the patient, and our extended network of professionals. Membership also outfits us with a financial structure that allows us to continue providing services and enabling access to necessary resources while keeping direct-care costs low.

What sets The International Headache Center apart from other practices?

Inclusion. We are working on creating a dynamic healthcare facility with an underlying philosophy all in one - a philosophy that includes the patient in every aspect of care provision. We tailor our plans to meet your individual goals and we provide as many of the necessary services as we can in-house. Moreover, our goal is to be able to do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We want to make this a model clinic for headache management and awareness, and we welcome your input while we make our dream come true!

Are you a “concierge practice”?

Not really. Even though direct healthcare and concierge medicine are sometimes used interchangeably, we focus on affordable access to headache care for everyone.

What if I need medical attention while I’m away from home?

Contact us, that's why we are here!

What happens if my provider goes on vacation?

We care about the well-being of all individuals connected to IHC, this includes patients, but also office staff and providers. Taking time off is essential for maintaining individual health. Don't worry, there will always be someone to cover your care provider’s post during times they are unavailable.

May I contact IHC after hours?

We are working on a system to provide 24/7 care, please stay tuned.

I have some feedback and suggestions, what should I do?

We are always looking to improve and grow, so we welcome your feedback! Call us, we can coordinate an in-person or over-the-phone meeting to discuss suggestions. If you prefer to remain anonymous, drop suggestions in our comment box. Thank you for helping us provide outstanding headache care!


MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS

Why do I need a membership to get care?

This is how we keep costs as low as possible, assure an acceptable provider-to-patient ratio, and make certain we have the resources necessary to accomplish the background work required to give you the quality care you deserve.

Can children become members of International Headache Center?

Yes, we take children 14 years and older. One of our goals for the future is to establish a clinic specifically geared toward children in the transitional phase from childhood to young adulthood. In the meantime, we are working hard to provide the best care possible to adolescents suffering from headache and/or facial pain.

I just want a second opinion, is there a consult-only option?

Yes, we are happy to provide a second opinion. An initial consultation-only option is allowed without becoming an IHC member. We will provide you and your referring physician a consultation note. Please be aware that this implies that we are not assuming headache care, but providing you with our recommendations about next steps. The referring provider will then take this into consideration to help formulate your treatment plan. No follow-up or access to the patient portal will be granted. No medications will be prescribed or other referrals initiated.

I have decided to be an IHC member, but chose the initial consultation-only option. Can I still change my mind?

Of course. You can decide to set up IHC membership at any point within 6 weeks after your initial consultation with an IHC provider. We are always more than happy to guide you through the process, discuss your options, and respond to your questions and concerns. Give us a call!

I just need a procedure, do I still need to sign up?

Yes. We want to make sure more invasive treatments such as injections are truly indicated in your care. We are willing, however, to review this on a case-by-case basis

What if I want to opt out of membership after signing up?

No hard feelings! We believe in the direct headache care model, but want you to do what is best for you. We also want you to be happy with your provider and headache management.

What payment methods do you accept?

Credit/debit card or bank draft.


MEDICARE & INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Do I still need to have health insurance?

Yes. We recommend our patients continue a major medical plan to ensure financial help should hospitalization, imaging, or more expensive treatments not covered by the clinic become necessary.

Can you see me if I have Medicare?

Yes. You will need to sign a one-time waiver declaring that neither you nor your doctor will bill Medicare for our services.

Do you take insurance?

No. IHC operates under a model called Direct Healthcare and is based on active membership and honest fee-for-service prices. No billing of insurers is undertaken. If more costly medical services are necessary, then IHC can help, with prior authorization, to cover medication and associated service costs. This allows us to provide the kind of quality care we believe you deserve by taking away the "middle man." The reduction in paperwork for us makes it possible for us to focus on your individual care and keep costs low.

What if I want to submit my own insurance claims?

At IHC we provide diagnostic and procedure codes so that you have the choice to submit to your insurance company if you so desire. We are here to help and can get you started on the submission process.

I have a Health Savings Account (HSA). Can I use my HSA debit card?

It depends. Every HSA account varies. You will need to inquire into the specifics of what is allowed by your HSA. Very often you can use the card for itemized visits and procedures with providers. Please note that we cannot keep you HSA card as the sole form of payment on file, therefore IHC must have an alternate method of payment on your account for membership.

If you do not take insurance, will prescription medications still be covered by my insurance?

Yes. Most insurance companies honor prescription requests made by out-of-network providers. Please check with your insurance company to see if they cover out-of-network prescriptions, and, if not, then we can work with you to find an alternative approach. For example, in cases where out-of-network prescription requests are not honored by the insurance company, we can often work with your primary care provider to get headache medications prescribed.

What is "prior authorization?" Will IHC help obtain prior authorization if needed?

Prior authorization is a process used by some insurance companies to determine whether they will cover a treatment (medication, procedure, or service) recommended by the patient's provider. This creates a "middle man" to the patient and provider, and is a model IHC discourages. Because some medications, procedures, and services can be cost-prohibitive, however, we will help patients through this process. Since the prior authorization process is labor intensive (often requiring forms, submission of documentation, and multiple phone calls to obtain approval), IHC charges a nonrefundable fee to cover associated costs. The charge is per pre-authorization filed, so, once approved, it does not recur unless it needs to be submitted again. Nonrefundable.

What are common treatments in headache management that require prior authorization?

Prior authorization is often required for medications like Botox, potentially Aimovig, and services like direct inpatient admission.


HEADACHE MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS

What is your treatment philosophy?

Treat the whole person, not just the headache, and provide access to headache care across the globe.

What is the treatment goal for me?

Every individual patient receives a tailored treatment plan that is unlike any other, so you will have a goal that is entirely yours. More importantly, we include you in the process of creating your treatment plan. We want you to be happy with your plan and we want to help empower you to live your life to its fullest. We can make it our goal to wean you off daily medications, make a plan for long-term care, or even to “graduate” from our clinic. It all depends on you!

Do you prescribe medication? Opioids?

Yes, we prescribe medication. We do NOT, however, prescribe opioids. Our focus is headache care, not pain-management. If you currently use opioids for headache pain, we are willing to offer an initial consultation and discuss treatment strategies.

What is "collaborative" or "shared" care?

Collaborative care, sometimes referred to as ‘shared care,’ allows doctors to work with extenders. We have nurse practitioners (NPs) in our clinic who are able to provide more comprehensive care and are able to connect you directly with subspecialists.

As the term implies, a doctor will be involved every step of the way and is usually physically present in the clinic. The doctor is available for questions and will be there to review your record and help the extender tailor care to you. This model allows one trained specialist to provide care to 2-3 times the number of patients without taking time away from the quality of each visit. Generally speaking, in the medical world there is a shortage of headache specialists, but not of NPs, so working in tandem is the best way forward.

Why am I seeing a Nurse Practitioner?

2 brains are better than 1! The MD and NP work together to find solutions to help patients. At IHC you will have direct access to a NP under the supervision of a MD. A MD will be there every step of the plan whether you choose to see them on your visit or not.

I get Botox shots and they are pricey. Will I need to pay for them?

Insurance is meant for medications and other treatments (like hospitalization) that can be overwhelming to pay for out-of-pocket. We will help preauthorize the injections, but you may still have to pay a portion depending on your insurance plan.

If I need an MRI and a blood test, is that covered?

We will work with your insurance or primary care provider to make it happen. If you don't have insurance, then we can help coordinate a low out-of-pocket cost.

What happens if I need to go to the hospital?

Let us know. We will try to help with headache management wherever you are! Please note that membership rates apply only for pre-authorized direct admission for headache. All other emergency room or inpatient hospitalizations (for headache or other neurological reasons) where neurology is consulted and staffed by an IHC provider will be billed out-of-network via insurance.

What if I have "graduated" from the clinic?

Congratulations! This implies your headaches are well controlled without need of procedures or continued provider care by a headache specialist. You have a choice to opt out of IHC membership and continue headache management with your primary care provider. It is up to you and we are here for you should you need us in the future.


IF WE HAVEN'T FULLY ANSWERED ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA PHONE OR EMAIL SO WE CAN FURTHER ASSIST YOU.

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