January 2, 2017
Sadly, Balance Point Natural Medicine, the clinic of Aaron Howard, DC, Heather Tallman Ruhm, MD and me, Christine Doherty, ND, in Milford, NH will be closing our doors on February 10, 2017.
As owner of the practice, It has been a long and agonizing process to come to this decision. As some of you know, I have been through an almost unbelievable amount of trauma in the last six years. Debilitating brain surgery, 11 hours of heart surgery, losing all motor function, constant migraines for years, and having to relearn how to swallow, type, drive, write, etc. I walked with a cane for two years. Oh, don’t forget meningitis, and 5 gut surgeries resulting in the loss of 2/3 of my large intestine, half of my small intestine, my gallbladder, ten lymph nodes, the list goes on. I took on homeschooling my daughter, who has severe dyscalculia (she has close to no understanding of numbers), through three years of middle school, and then my healthy, triathlete husband was diagnosed with cancer and was dead in a year. Through all of it I practiced, worked hard, dealt with what was thrown at me. I have been through almost continuous trauma, physically, mentally, emotionally since 2010.
Since losing my acupuncturist husband and business partner of 17 years, Sean, to colon cancer in late 2015, the entire landscape of my personal and professional life changed. It took a year to realize how far reaching the implications of loosing him have been on a business level. I am not sure I will ever grasp losing him on a personal level. At one point I had a professional organizer work on making me a schedule so I could keep up with all my myriad responsibilities, she came back after two weeks and exclaimed that for the first time she could not make a functional schedule, that my only solution was to be cloned! Ironically the things that finally brought me to this point of closing are the constant administrative nightmares! Social security would not acknowledge Sean’s death for ten months. This caused unbelievable amounts of paperwork and they and the IRS audited me. They would not cancel his health insurance until July, as they would only acknowledge his death if it came from the government, which had to come from social security. At one point social security called Sean in to audit how he was spending his death benefits!! It has become clear to me that there are not enough hours in my day to practice medicine, manage the business, maintain this 8,000 square foot, 250 year old building (don’t get me started on that) and be a widowed parent to a teen, with no family in the country. As a result I will be closing the clinic, putting this gorgeous building on the market in the spring, downsizing dramatically, and taking at least a year sabbatical, during which I will not be seeing patients.
Dr. Aaron Howard, DC and Dr. Heather Tallman Ruhm, MD, my great and brilliant friends, who joined me here at Balance Point after Sean died, plan on continuing their practices in other locations. I will update their contact information on the website. Obviously I feel they are both excellent choices for you to follow up with.
To follow up with Dr. Aaron Howard, DC, his new contact information is as follows, he is in the process of figuring out his new schedule, so be patient while he gets himself organized this month:
10 Northern Blvd
For Dr. Heather Tallman Ruhm, MD, the current plan is that she will continue here until our closing in February. If you are in another part of the country, or would like other options, here are my suggested referral listings through the New Hampshire and national professional organizations I belong to.
For other NDs in New Hampshire, www.NHAND.org
For other ND’s nationally, www.Naturopathic.org
IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS:
All patients may access a summary of their medical record at no cost (if they have been active since April 2016), by logging into the patient portal through Charm EHR. Every patient seen since April 2016 was automatically sent an email invite to log in after their first appointment. If you have forgotten your log-in or need to reset your log-in information, please call 603-672-3600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org t before Feb 10 and we will reset it for you.
If you would like a hard copy of your chart, you will need to email the address below. As per NH state law there will be a $15.00 copy fee, which will require pre-payment and we will need a signed records release which we can email or snail mail to you.
To Order SUPPLEMENTS:
You will be able to continue ordering many of the specific high-quality supplements via Wellevate, the patient access online portal of Emerson Ecologics, who distributes the majority of our supplements. I am offering a 20% discount on all your orders, which will be applied automatically to every order when we send you an email invitation and you set up your account from that email. Please keep in mind, we won’t have a doctor-patient relationship, so I will no longer be able to send specific recommendations or prescriptions.
For Standard Process, you need to order directly from their website, we have an access code that you can use to set up your account. They do not give the option of discounting their products. Again email or call us for the access code. We are prohibited from publishing or distributing the code online.
FOR COMMUNICATION AFTER our closing on February 10, 2017
The best way to contact me will continue to be through email@example.com. Aaron and Heather's contact information will continue to be on the website. I don’t plan on checking the email daily, especially as time goes on, so please keep that in mind. Please know that this is not a secure email address and is not HIPAA compliant. I will no longer be giving specific medical advice, ordering labs or refilling prescriptions. If you would like my input, I would be happy to consult with your new doctor directly as a professional courtesy, just have them contact me through the website contact form or through firstname.lastname@example.org and please email me a filled out HIPAA release form (your new doctor will have them and can send one over), so I know I have your permission to discuss your healthcare with this doctor.
As of now, I plan on keeping the website active at www.pointnatural.com and I plan on blogging periodically.
It has been a privilege serving you all, words can’t express how honored I have been that you chose to work with me.
Thank you in advance for your understanding; I know many of you were also patients of Sean’s and have mourned his loss along with me. It has meant the world to me to have so much support! I wish you the very best health and quality of life moving forward. I have no idea what the future will bring for me, I am not planning on retiring altogether, which is why I consider this a sabbatical, not a retirement. This is more of a retreat, a focus on reinventing all aspects of my life, my health, my family, my home, you know, nothing big.....Wish me luck!
Christine Doherty, N.D.
Owner, Balance Point Natural Medicine