Notice: Practice Changes 12/31/2020

As I turn sixty-five, it is time for me to shift and spend more time with my husband and family and change how I am practicing medicine.  I have practiced in Primary Care for over 37 years.  I have enjoyed it immensely, but it is now time to reduce the number of things on my plate and eliminate the 24/7 call responsibility. 

Effective 12/31/2020, I am transitioning Bellingham Health from a full Primary Care practice to a specialty Functional Medicine and Women’s Health practice.  We will no longer be managing certain medications or providing 24/7 call.  This means that our patients will need a separate Primary Care Provider for their urgent and primary care needs.  We are posting this notice to help our patients understand and prepare for the change.  

I’m not quitting medicine, and I invite you to continue seeing us for Functional Medicine and Women’s Health.  If you have questions about this change, our new services, or finding a new Primary Care provider, please see the FAQ section below.  If you still have questions, send us a note through the clinic portal or call the clinic.  

I have enjoyed being your Primary Care Provider through the years. I wish you the best and a healthy future.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Sprague

Frequently Asked Questions

We have called local clinics and found these with openings:

  • Family Care Network: ( https://www.familycarenetwork.com… ) This is a larger Family Practice group with many small clinics throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties. They have many ARNP’s. They take most insurance, including Medicare.
  • The Center for Senior Health at Peacehealth: For those over age 65. Medicare A and B. They have a 2-month waiting list, so don’t delay calling them at (360) 715-4186. I love this place!
  • Peacehealth: ( https://www.peacehealth.org/…) They have multiple clinics, including Internal Medicine and Family Practice. They take most insurance, including Medicare.
  • There are a few smaller practices you can also call, but space may be limited.
  • Your new provider can request your records from our office, and we will send them.
  • You can request that a copy of your medical records be sent to you by encrypted email. The best way to make this request is through the Clinic Portal.   You can also email a request to Contact1@BellinghamHealth.com, or come into the office to complete a Records Release Form. Sorry, we cannot send records based on a phone call. We need a written request.

Primary Care providers follow your care and develop an ongoing relationship with you as I have for the last 20+ years. They manage your medications, see you at least yearly, coordinate with your other healthcare providers, and manage your overall health. They are the provider you call if you need help 24/7. I have genuinely enjoyed the many relationships I’ve built with my patients over the years, but it is time to step away from the demands of primary care, including the 24/7 call.

Due to this transition, I will no longer be managing pain medications, ADHD medications, or other chronic controlled medications like sleep aids and anxiety medications. Your new PCP will help you with these.

Yes, I intend to be another resource for you, along with your Primary Care Provider. I understand the fast and full pace of Primary Care, and it does not often support the extra detective work or lifestyle change required to solve many chronic problems.

I will be taking a Functional Medicine approach to help patients with issues including Women’s Health, Hormones, Thyroid and Endocrine, Cognitive Decline, and more. You can see more details on our website as we develop it in the next few months.

Yes, and it depends. Kaiser has agreed to work with me as a specialty provider and PCP but with no panel. That means you can see me without a referral, and also have a new PCP for your more urgent needs. We are in negotiations with other insurance companies and hope to offer similar arrangements with them.

Steve will still be seeing patients in the clinic for acupuncture and coaching, but his main focus will be on managing a new website called MyFunMed.com. MyFunMed will provide training and other resources for Functional Medicine patients. Look for it in the future.

Taynin has been a fill-in provider with us for 8+ years while working her primary job in nursing administration. I have enjoyed working with Tay. She is an excellent Nurse Practitioner, but she is not trained in Functional Medicine. She will not be with us after Dec 31.

I studied with the Institute for Functional Medicine and successfully earned my Certified Practitioner IFMCP four years ago. I chose Functional Medicine because it is an organized method that relies on up to date science. It includes using lifestyle, herbs, supplements, a supportive healing relationship, along with conventional medicine. I have always enjoyed practicing this style of medicine, but have found it difficult in a fast-paced primary care clinic. This shift is perfect for me as I can reduce my work requirements and long days while still doing what I enjoy.

We plan to write blogs, create classes, groups, and methods to make Functional Medicine practical and accessible. I can see you for women’s health (including exams), hormone and thyroid management, stress and adrenal fatigue, sleep, stomach issues, food allergies, transgender hormone care, brain health, cognition, and Inflammation issues.  For more information, see the Bellingham Health website.