Dr. Frank Sievert said his new Corvallis medical office, the Thrive Clinic, focuses on detective work to find out what’s really wrong with patients instead of just treating the symptoms with prescriptions.
“Functional medicine is a little bit different than conventional medicine. It’s all about finding the root cause of the problem,” Sievert said. “It’s thriving rather than surviving.”
Those suffering from chronic conditions that are mysterious or apparently unsolvable are people who could get help at the Thrive Clinic, which opened Oct. 1 and now has more than 150 patients.
Besides medical tests, Sievert makes detailed timelines of patients’ lives, sometimes going back before birth, to look for clues about health issues, to track childhood illnesses and more.
“Once we know the root cause, we can try to eliminate that,” Sievert said.
The solution to problems often is to make lifestyle changes and use medicine to optimize the body. And in some cases, Sievert said he can eliminate the need for prescriptions.
The clinic includes Angie Gallagher, a health coach who does cooking demonstrations, goes shopping with patients and finds ways to implement the lifestyle changes.
“She is the liaison between me and the patient. … Most people understand what they should do, but making the changes is difficult,” Sievert said.
Sievert previously worked in the Corvallis Clinic’s North Albany Clinic for 10 years. He’s already established in the mid-Willamette Valley, and he said that’s made opening up his own medical office easier.
He became interested in functional medicine after developing an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid, Hashimoto’s disease.
“Most people don’t even know they have that condition,” he said.
Medicine isn’t a true solution for the condition, because the immune system continues to attack the thyroid gland, Sievert said. So he had to make his own lifestyle changes.
He said that there’s been an explosion of people with autoimmune disorders due to environmental toxicity and altering the food chain to eat processed products.
“Most people don’t even eat real food now,” Sievert said. “Just changing the diet is huge.”
The Thrive Clinic doesn’t take insurance, but patients can get reimbursed for an out-of-network visit from their insurance companies.
Sievert said that the business practice is in place in part because he couldn’t bill insurance without having 24-hour on-call staffing 365 days a year for his office, which has one doctor.
Accepting insurance also would force him to dramatically increase his patient load for his office to survive, as insurance companies don’t pay enough for wellness or prevention visits, Sievert said.
“They never allow you to charge more than what they would reimburse for that visit,” he added.
The Thrive Clinic, 1755 NW Kings Boulevard in the Kings Professional Center in Corvallis, is open on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.
For more information, call 541-207-1670 or go to www.thethriveclinic.com or the office’s Facebook page. Sievert also has a weekly blog on the clinic website.