Frequently Asked Questions
Because you want to know a few things before you start.
Practical Questions: Logistics
From Polices to Allergies
Is your location ADA accessible?
My locations require navigating stairs. Both locations have single stall, unisex restrooms. A limited number of home visits are available for those who need accommodation.
Is there parking?
There is ample free street parking available. A few spaces are sometimes available behind the building but that depends on time of day.
I have environmental sensitivities to scents, cleaners, etc. Will I encounter them?
At this point, both locations where I meet clients may have some possible triggers. I recommend contacting me with more details. A home visit may work best to accommodate your needs.
I am allergic to pets.
Please let me know if it is a severe allergy.
What do you offer online?
Web-based individual nutrition counseling is available. Look for online classes coming in 2021.
What do I need to do online counseling?
You must have access to high speed internet capable of supporting streaming. You also need a device that has a webcam and audio capabilities (most smartphones and laptops do). Phone consults are an option as well.
What about workshops?
At this point, workshops and group sessions are only in person. Send in your contact information to join my mailing list for future online workshops.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellations must be received 24 hours in advance. All cancellations received later than 24 hours prior to the appointment will be charged the appointment fee.
What is your late arrival policy?
Arrivals later than 10 minutes late may be asked to reschedule if they have an appointment less than 30 minutes long. Late arrivals will have their appointment end at the originally scheduled time, without refund. This policy is to avoid delaying the person after you.
How do you protect my privacy?
I comply with privacy rules and regulations (HIPPA)– your private information is stored securely. Please note that e-mail is not secure. Do not send sensitive health information via e-mail or website forms. Secure messaging is available to clients via Healthie or fax at 607-224-8401.
If you opt-in to my newsletter (or follow my blog), please note I take reasonable precautions to protect your privacy. I do not sell or share your information. No information other than my newsletter is sent– no spam! You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in the newsletter or by contacting me with your name and email you used to subscribe.
Do I need to see my doctor first?
I do not require a referral. I do recommend that you discuss certain topics with your PCP prior to trying certain diets. In general, I recommend that all clients see that PCP annually or as recommended by their health care team. If you have bloodwork from the past year, I recommend bringing it or having it faxed to 607-224-8401.
Do you offer phone or web-based meetings?
Yes, I offer remote care. Many long-term clients may primarily be in-person, with an occasional phone meeting or primarily phone-based, with an occasional in-person meeting. Out-of-state clients are typically fully remote.
Do you have a non-discrimination policy?
Balance: Food and Nutrition serves clients without regard to sex/gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, disabilty status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, veteran status, or national origin. Stephanie is happy to work with clients who need voice memos or similar supports. Due to the small size of my practice, the only language available is English.
Do you take my health insurance plan?
I accept cash, check, or credit card payments. I am in the process of beginning to accept select UnitedHealthcare and Excellus (Blue Cross Blue Shield) Plans. For all others, I would be out-of-network.
Please contact me for more information about your plan. To determine your specific coverage, I will need your date of birth, full legal name, and subscriber number.
Many plans categorically refuse to cover nutritional counseling. But they may allow “medically necessary” medical nutrition therapy prescribed by your PCP or specialist for specific diagnoses. Other plans may cover certain categories of preventive health education or diabetes education.
Can I get reimbursed by my insurance company?
Maybe. I can provide you with the paperwork you will need to submit. This is called a “superbill” or a CMS-1500.
You will likely need to confirm with your insurance company what your coverage is for nutrition counseling (CPT code 97802 and 97803 for medical nutrition therapy), if you need a physician referral, and if pre-authorization is required.
If you are inquiring about the coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, please contact me at 304-377-9357.
How can I pay?
I accept cash, check, or credit/debit card payments. UnitedHealthcare and Excellus BCBS members are responsible for any copays or coinsurance, per their plan, at the time of service.
Can I buy someone a gift certificate?
You can! I suggest making sure the person would be interested. People who receive gift certificates can also use them for culinary nutrition consultations or grocery store tours, if preferred.
What if I need nutrition counseling but can’t afford it?
There are several options. I may be able to provide a payment plan, if needed. Group online classes are also affordable, at $19 to $55. I offer a limited number of visits with a sliding scale (contact me for the current eligibility requirements). During Fall 2020, I will also offer supervised intern visits for $10 each. These are only available via telephone or telehealth.
Scope of Practice
Can you help me?
Am I who you see?
Do you see older adults?
Yes, regularly. Adults of all ages come.
Can you help with the side effects of medication?
Yes- some side effects (like nausea, constipation, or elevated blood lipids) can be affected by nutrition. Call 607-214-2191 if you’d like to find out more.
Can you help with lactation and nursing issues?
I don’t specialize in this– so I’d recommend finding an IBCLC (lactation consultant) for the best use of your time and money.
Do you see kids?
Occasionally. Parents may come in if they are concerned about younger kids and picky eating. Teens may come in if they are looking for sports nutrition consultations.
Can you help with kids with developmental disorders or an autism spectrum disorder?
Talk to me about your situation– I can provide an assessment and nutritional counseling (including working with selective eaters and optimizing diet choices for nutrition goals). I help with management of gastrointestinal disorders through nutrition, and many children with autism struggle with some GI discomfort. I do not coordinate enteral and parenteral feeding but can make recommendations if initiation may be appropriate.
I suggest that anyone with a sensory disorder or high level of environmental sensitivity consider a home visit to minimize stress.
Topics and Conditions
Are there any conditions you do not provide support for?
Give me a call if you are concerned. I am a general practitioner who sees a variety of conditions but not all. For example, I only provide on-going outpatient nutrition care for people with active eating disorders if they have an established relationship with a mental health provider. I am happy to screen and refer for those who aren’t sure what level of care they need or who to reach out to in our area.
What are some reasons people come to see you?
Some people come to just work on eating a little better– changing some habits. Others come because of a family health history (like breast cancer or heart disease) or a diagnosis. For example, some common concerns include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel disease, food sensitivities, celiac disease, pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety/depression, and more. As we’ve experienced more stress in 2020, more people are bringing concerns about disordered eating or eating disorders.
Do you promote a particular diet?
I don’t. If you have a specific condition, like celiac disease, I work with you to follow medical recommendations. A foundation of my practice is working with people to support the developing of food and eating routines that support their health in their situation.
Do you offer elimination diets?
For patients with suspected food sensitivities, I do. These are short-term programs designed to find what is causing discomfort. Some of the diets I have worked with include:
1. Gluten-free diet
2. Low FODMAP diet for IBS
3. Interstitial cystitis management diet
4. Low oxalate diet
5. Four or six food elimination diet for eosinophilic esophagitis
6. Specific allergens or sensitivities (used in IBS, constipation, chronic diarrhea, acne, inflammatory arthritis, and more)
I just want to lose weight.
“Just”– you’ve struggled with this, haven’t you? I work with people to reset their eating– figuring out what feels good to them. Learning to recognize hunger, satiation, and pleasure is key. If you’ve gained weight because you’re eating mindlessly, from stress, or out of habit, or struggling to manage food provisioning we can make some changes that lead to weight changes.
What to Expect
We review your health history, goals for our session(s), and how you eat now. I review any labwork available. If you are physically active, we look at what you do. I ask a lot of questions– what you know, what you think, how you feel, what challenges you experience, what helps you. Sometimes, I give you handouts or talk about a specific topic. We end the appointment by setting goals.
What sort of counseling models do you use?
Mostly, I use either motivation interviewing techniques or cognitive behavioral therapy approaches. For some clients, I may pull in other approaches.
Stephanie Bostic, PhD RD (she/her)
I entered nutrition because I loved food. I still do, don’t worry– no deprivation. This also means the Health At Every Size (HAES) ® movement has influenced my approach.
Write or call. I’m here to answer your questions.