Questions & Answers

Common Questions

Most people have questions and below is a list of questions we have received over the years. If you don’t find what you are looking for, please contact us and we will add that information.

Do you accept insurance?


We are currently in-network with the following insurance companies listed below. However, please inquire if Essential Nutrition, TAX ID #: 72-1619509, with our GROUP NPI 1104043553, is in-network under your specific plan. We are NOT credentialed with every plan under each insurer listed below:

- Cigna
- Please inquire with us about Anthem/BCBS

Please call us for further details and to inquire about which of our providers are in-network with each insurance company; this is subject to change at any time.

Also be sure to ask about procedure codes 97802 and 97803 for Medical Nutrition Therapy. Depending upon your insurance provider, other codes may be accepted if these codes above are not covered.

You will also want to ask if there are any frequency limitations. If you have United, Aetna or Cigna insurance, please contact your physician’s office to obtain any diagnosis code(s) used for the condition for which you will be seeing your dietitian PRIOR to your initial visit, as this can improve coverage for your visit (some plans only cover nutrition counseling if there is a “medical diagnosis.” )

Please also inquire about whether or not your plan covers you to see a dietitian ONLY IN-PERSON at either our Boulder or Denver office, or whether your plan allows you the flexibility to be seen via telehealth.

Keep in mind, there is no guarantee that your session with your dietitian will be covered, even if your insurance representative told you over the phone that you have nutrition benefits (they should have also explained that a quote over the phone is not a guarantee of coverage, as it is dependent upon which procedure and diagnosis codes are used, whether or not you have a medical diagnosis as some plans only cover certain conditions, and whether or not your deductible, if you have one, has been met.) Please call us to discuss this as we realize it can be quite complex, and we want to ensure you understand the process to avoid any surprise denial(s) of your claim(s) and subsequent charges. We are considered an out-of-network provider for all other insurance companies and can provide you with an insurance form to submit a claim for potential reimbursement

What can I expect during my initial consultation?

For your first visit, whether it is at our office or by phone* or telehealth, we will be reviewing your completed medical forms (accessible via our secure HIPAA-compliant web-based patient portal), recent medical tests (if applicable), current food intake, medical history, health concerns, dietary supplement use, and your desired health outcomes. Together, we will devise a plan for moving forward. While specific recommendations and directives may be given at your first appointment, our initial consultation is typically an interview style appointment. *Phone consults are not covered by insurance plans.

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and a nutritionist?

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are healthcare providers with the most intensive training and experience necessary to provide nutrition services to individuals seeking medical nutrition therapy or preventive nutrition counseling. RDNs regularly utilize Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), which is the plan, or set of steps, incorporating current professional knowledge and research that clearly define the level, content, and frequency of nutrition care that is appropriate for a disease or health condition. Medical Nutrition Therapy begins with the nutritional assessment of a client by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, followed by a medically prescribed nutrition therapy based on standard protocols. RDNs are food and nutrition experts who have met the following criteria to earn the RDN credential:

  • Completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US regionally accredited university or college and course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Completed an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency, and food service corporation for well-rounded exposure to, and to gain greater expertise in, the various areas within the nutrition field. Typically these practicums last 12 months in length.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  • Completed continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.
  • Visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website

The terms nutritionist, certified nutrition therapist, certified clinical nutritionist. or certified nutrition counselor are not regulated and, therefore, do not have standard requirements. These certificate programs are often not subject to any regulatory oversight. Accredited degree program studies in nutrition and health sciences are not required, nor are supervised clinical rotations in accredited healthcare settings. Some programs grant certificates in just 6-9 months of study, with some requiring as little as 100 hours of online coursework, with no supervised internship component. When selecting a nutrition professional, inquire about the practitioner’s background of study and training and requirements for credentialing. The licensure requirements for RDNs are more rigorous than certificate program requirements, with stricter standards for education, ethics, supervised training, clinical practice standards, and professional liability and monitoring.

Do you offer evening and weekend appointments?

Yes, in addition to weekday nutrition appointments, we also offer evening and Saturday appointments, either in person at the office, or by phone or telehealth. Appointment times vary by practitioner.

Do you communicate with other healthcare practitioners I am currently working with to coordinate care?

Absolutely! We believe one of the most effective ways to help our clients is to communicate directly with their other practitioners. We can provide our own professional insight and recommendations, as well as coordinate care with other providers, to ensure you receive the most comprehensive care possible.

Do you require that I see you for a certain number of visits or can I just see you once?

While the research and our own clinical experience has shown us that people are much more successful when they have regular follow ups with their dietitian, we do not lock you into any set number of follow up visits. You can discuss this with your dietitian at the time of service, but if you feel your needs can be met with just one appointment, we will do our best to accommodate this. Please note, the more complex your situation is, or the more detailed your health and nutrition plan needs to be, the more difficult it becomes to fit everything into a sole appointment, and it may be more beneficial to have a follow up visit or two to ensure you receive the best nutrition advice possible.

Can I bring my child to my appointment?

We love kids! If you feel your session time can be as open and productive with your children in the room, we welcome them! We have a few toys available for younger kids, and we have a comfortable waiting room for older kids who may prefer to wait outside for you. Since our office space is also utilized by other healthcare professionals, we just ask that you be responsible for keeping your children calm and quiet during your session so as not to disturb others. Please let us know in advance if you plan to bring any children.

Do you offer a sliding scale?

For our clients who truly cannot afford regular service rates, please inquire with us about a reduced rate before booking your appointment. We have a specific number of slots available to help individuals in need, but not every practitioner offers a sliding scale. Please contact us to inquire.

Do I need to keep a food log for my first appointment?

Please discuss keeping a food log with your dietitian (or at the time you book your initial appointment.) While it is always helpful for us to see what you typically eat, it is not advised that you keep a food log if you find the activity triggering (as in the case with an eating disorder.) However, if keeping a food log holds no emotional charge, and you feel this would provide your dietitian with a more accurate representation of your eating habits vs just relying on recall, then we encourage you to record all that you eat or drink over a 3-5 day period (or up to a month if you’re keeping a more complex medically-related symptom log.) Ideally, this will be comprised of the typical foods you consume as well as your usual eating patterns, including some weekends as well as weekdays. It also helps to be as specific as possible with times you eat, as well as any product brand names, and portions of each food. When you book your initial appointment, we will send you paperwork to complete a food log through our secure, HIPAA-compliant electronic medical records patient portal.

What if I'm nervous about honestly telling you what I eat?

Many people are nervous before their first session with us, worrying we are going to judge the way they eat or start eliminating their favorite foods. But spend a few minutes with us and soon you’ll realize we are actually very down-to-earth, caring, practitioners with a sensible, practical approach to eating well. We are not the food police and there are many different ways we can help you achieve the health and wellbeing you desire. We “walk our talk” by implementing the advice we give to clients into our own lives, but we don’t eat perfectly either! So we get it. And while we take our work seriously, we also try to weave in a healthy dose of fun in our sessions to lighten the mood when needed, and appropriate. We want what’s best for you and your heath, and sometimes that means bringing in a few more smiles.


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