January 2019 Letter

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

a time to be born, a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to get, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

Dear Friends,

We have shared a journey together, with much joy and sadness. For some of you, this has been a long road, even going back to my days at the Charlottesville Wellness Center Family Practice.

Drawn by the need to be closer to my children, brother and our grandchildren (third grandchild, Lucas, was born three months ago), Peggy and I moved to Ashland, Oregon in August of 2017.  We have continued a long distance practice by phone, and saw patients in person in Charlottesville last April. Unable to enroll a new practitioner to take over the practice, we have continued the Charlottesville practice because of loyalty to our patients, and lack of alternative integrative services in Charlottesville. Many of you have continued your care with us at a distance. Our superb office manager, Raven Wood, has helped make this possible.

We are now feeling that it is time to close Virginia Integrative Medicine.  These are our concerns:

  • Peggy and I have started to share a full-time position at Rogue Community Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center, in Medford, Oregon.  Our challenge is to create programs to provide integrative and functional medicine care for the underserved, mostly Medicaid patients in a government sponsored community health center. .
  • We feel it will be very difficult to make frequent trips to Charlottesville for in person visits on an annual basis to provide optimal care.
  • The downsized VIM practice has a negative cash flow: the cost of running our Charlottesville practice on a part time basis exceeds our revenue, which is unsustainable.
  • In August of this year, I fell off my bike and broke my hip. I have been very fortunate: after hip pinning, I have made a complete recovery.  But the sudden accident and unexpected loss of function made me both incredibly grateful for the blessings in my life, aware of my limitations, and ready to move on with this transition.   
  • To our knowledge, there are no practitioners in Charlottesville who do a functional and integrative medicine practice that is similar to ours.  However,
    • Dr. David Schwartz, whom we have known for many years and greatly respect, has a small “Mom and Pop” integrative medicine practice similar to ours in Louisa. He does not take any insurance, including Medicare, but his charges are reasonable.
    • Dr. Norton Fishman, another long term colleague, who has an integrative medicine practice focused on Lyme Disease, has recently moved his practice from Rockville, MD to Charlottesville. He is very experienced, and also has a “Mom and Pop” type practice. His practice also does not take Medicare, nor any other health insurance.
    • We have heard about integrative/functional medicine practitioners in Richmond, Lynchburg and Fredericksburg, but have no experience with them.

Specific plans for closing the practice are:We will continue phone consults and maintain current office hours through the end of April 2019.  We will provide appointments for any of you who wish to address any current  health concerns: testing, medication refills, supplement reviews, et

Dr Wright will remain available for functional medicine nutrition consults on a limited basis (approximately one day monthly).  As of May 2019, you will be able to make appointments with Dr Wright through our Patient Portal, as well as have access to your labs, recommendations, and other documents.

We can provide copies of current records to you, or have copies sent to other practitioners.  You can log onto the Patient Portal and directly download copies of your labs and other testing.  You can set up an account by going to our website, www.healthyvim.org, and clicking on VIM Patient Resources.  [Enter the password.]  Then click on VIM Patient Portal.  You will need an email address and a cell phone that receives texts in order to set up an account.  You will be able to download Adobe pdf files that you can save or print as you need them.  We will continue with our website and our Patient Portal for as long as is practical–at least until the end of this year if not longer.

During May 2019 the office will be open with shortened hours to handle supplement sales, chart matters, and loose ends such as prescriptions and test results. 

All supplements currently available from our office will be available through the Internet.  You can buy them either from Wellevate (Emerson Ecologics website at a 20% discount) or directly from the manufacturer’s website (Natura, Thorne, or Xymogen) at a discount.  The instructions for ordering are already on our website under VIM Patient Resources.  Amazon.com also carries some of the more difficult to source products such as Iberogast and Real Mushrooms.  And, of course, Vitacost is always available.

Updates to our plans, as well as access to VIM Patient Resources will remain available on our website, www.healthyvim.org.

It is with much sadness that we leave Virginia Integrative Medicine and our service to you. We are grateful for your trust and friendship, and the privilege of serving you. But every ending is also a beginning, and we trust that the future will bring blessings and healing to all of us.

With our love and blessings,

Marty Albert and Peggy Wright