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3708 Forestview Rd, Suite 202
Raleigh, NC 27612


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a science-based health care approach to assess, prevent and treat complex chronic disease. It is a new model of medicine that has evolved through the efforts of scientists and clinicians from the fields of clinical nutrition, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, conventional medicine, and a wide array of scientific disciplines. Functional medicine evaluates the body as a whole with special attention to the relationship of one body system to another and the nutrient imbalances and toxic overload that may adversely affect these relationships.

The vast majority of modern-day illness is not from acute illness that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Most illness is chronic and almost always preceded by a lengthy period of declining function in one or more of the body's systems. Functional medicine is a new clinical model that replaces outdated and ineffective acute-care models of health care and attempts to return patients to wellness. Illness is addressed by identifying specific dysfunctions that have contributed to the disease state. Those dysfunctions are, for each of us, the result of lifelong interactions among our environment, our lifestyle and our genetic predispositions.

For more information, please visit the website for the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Can you help me with my health problem?

If you suffer from a chronic medical condition, if you are frequently ill, tired or in chronic pain or if you simply seek to optimize your health, we may be able to help. If you feel you are taking too many prescription drugs, want a more natural approach or wonder which supplements are right for you, we can help.

Mainstream medical practice does not focus on finding the root cause of illness. The usual medical tests do not look for food sensitivities, hidden infections, environmental toxins, mold exposures, nutritional deficiencies and metabolic imbalances. New genetic testing can uncover underlying genetic risks that can be modified through diet, lifestyle, supplements or medications.

Dr. Susan Denny, Dr. Frances Meredith and Blair Cuneo, PA-C, are highly skilled in evaluating, assessing and treating chronic problems such as fibromyalgia, fatigue syndromes, autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal illness, inflammatory disorders, mood disorders, memory problems, and other chronic, complex conditions. They also focus on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, hormonal imbalances and digestive disorders. Please contact us if you would like to discuss whether or not we can help with your particular health condition.

Are Dr. Denny,  Dr. Meredith and Blair Cuneo primary care providers?

We do not provide primary care services. We will work with you closely as a consultant in preventive, nutritional and functional medicine to help you address the roots of chronic health problems. We will confer with your primary care doctor and specialist physicians if required.

Do our providers prescribe medicines?

We can and will prescribe medications whenever necessary.  Dr. Denny, Dr. Meredith and Blair Cuneo are fully licensed and certified medical providers.

What about laboratory testing?

Some testing can be done through conventional laboratories, and others are only available through specialty laboratories. During your medical consultation, your provider will determine which tests are needed and will review testing recommendations, instructions (for instance, fasting or non-fasting, etc.) and costs.

Your financial resources and how much testing you want to do are taken into account, and the plan for testing is reviewed with you. Testing is frequently done to assess nutritional status, including amino acids, fatty acids, oxidative stress, vitamin levels, mitochondrial function, food sensitivities, and heavy metals. Many other tests are available including genetic testing for a variety of conditions, hormone evaluations, bone health, gastrointestinal health, adrenal function and many others.

Some testing can be performed at home with test kits to collect urine, saliva or stool. Others may require a blood draw. In all cases, we will assist you in coordinating initial and follow-up testing.

Do I need to see the health coach at your office?

Yes, we require that all of our patients see one of our health coaches for the initial new patient visit and every follow-up visit. We believe that by removing harmful inputs and providing optimal nutrition, the body can often heal itself. The safest and most powerful medicine available today is food. We have found that considerable changes often need to be made to the diets and lifestyles of patients suffering from chronic illness in order to achieve optimal health. Our health coaches are instrumental in helping patients manage and understand dietary and lifestyle changes that are prescribed by our providers.

Do you take health insurance?

Carolina Total Wellness operates as a self-pay clinic. Our office does not bill your insurance directly, but we will provide you with a coded receipt for services, which you may submit for reimbursement to your insurance carrier. Dr. Denny, Dr. Meredith and Blair Cuneo are out-of-network providers for all private insurance plans and do not participate with Medicare. The amount of reimbursement you receive depends on your insurance plan's reimbursement policy for out-of -network providers, your deductibles, copays and co-insurance. You may wish to check with your insurance plan regarding out-of-network coverage of services prior to your visit with us.

Services associated with our clinic including physician visits, counseling, supplements and laboratory testing can be submitted under your health savings account (HSA) or Healthcare Reimbursement Account (HRA).

Why do you not accept/bill insurance?

We strongly believe in the medical care that we provide, and we strive to deliver high quality care to as many people as possible. We understand the financial challenge that our not filing insurance may present for some patients. Reimbursement rules from health insurance companies can be confusing for both doctors and patients. Our rationale for not accepting insurance reimbursement is outlined below. If after reading this you still have questions please feel free to call and speak with our staff.

The current system of mainstream medical care does not meet the health care needs of many patients. There are many reasons for this, including the policies set forth by health insurance companies. When doctors agree to participate with insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, they must sign a contract that allows the insurance company to determine which services they will and will not provide and how much they can charge for those services. A doctor must agree to these fees regardless of whether they are applicable or reasonable. In general, insurance companies reimburse for procedures, drugs and surgeries with little reimbursement allowed for physical examination, detailed medical history review and preventative medicine counseling. Most general medicine doctors and clinics cope with this flawed reimbursement scheme by keeping their office visits very brief so that they can see many patients in a given day. The average primary care provider sees between 20 and 30 patients a day and spends 1 to 2 hours a day completing additional paperwork to obtain reimbursement for services rendered. Unfortunately, many physicians still struggle to cover expenses, given the deeply discounted reimbursement allowed by insurance companies for primary care services. As a result, primary care providers must often merge with large practices or hospitals that offer high-tech surgical and diagnostic procedures with their higher reimbursement rates simply to stay afloat.

Many patients and doctors are frustrated with the extremely brief office visits that are the current norm for mainstream medicine. We have found that we cannot participate with insurance networks, including Medicare and Medicaid, and still provide expert, well-researched, time-intensive medical care for our patients.

Do you sell nutritional supplements?

Yes, we often recommend nutritional supplements to patients in conjunction with lifestyle and dietary modification. In some cases, nutritional supplements can be used in place of more toxic prescription medications. We rely on scientifically based studies to guide our therapeutic decisions regarding nutritional supplementation. We have researched high-quality nutritional products and carry only those products that undergo rigorous quality testing by nutritional research laboratories. These products are often of higher quality than those sold over the counter and are free of fillers, allergens and additives.

Related Information

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a science-based health care approach to assess, prevent and treat complex chronic disease.

Answers to frequently asked questions provided by Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

About Your Visit

Learn how to prepare for your visit and what to expect at your initial consultation and at your follow-up visits with our office.

What to expect at your appointment with Carolina Total WellnessLearn More

Online Patient Store

Shop for nutritional supplements in our online store when it’s convenient for you - any day of the week or time of the day.

learn more about the supplement store of Carolina Total WellnessLearn More