Whether it’s locals struggling with addiction and looking for a recovery program or those simply wanting to bolster their health and wellness with preventative health care, New Alternatives, LLC, offers an integrated traditional and alternative medicine practice.
New Alternatives has taken up residence in what was formerly the Urgent Care office of Little Egg Harbor (1395 Route 539). Family nurse practitioner Ellyn Hill explained she and her partner, John Kulin, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, sold their Urgent Care practice to CityMD, which has offices in Manahawkin, Tuckerton and Lanoka Harbor.
“We knew we’d have this space, and we spent a year coming up with ideas to build off of what we do and what we’re already passionate about,” explained Hill, who has practiced for over 21 years. The medical professionals wanted to cultivate a space to provide thorough, personalized patient care with a practice that intends to supplement, but not replace, traditional medicine.
Due to COVID-19, New Alternatives was not able to celebrate its opening with a public event, but the office is open and welcoming patients, with no referrals required. For the time being, only one patient is seen in the office at a time. Moreover, Kulin and Hill do their own registration and vitals, to limit the number of people in the building.
New Alternatives offers a wide range of services, such as Suboxone treatment for those recovering from substance abuse disorders. “We see a lot of people in Urgent Care or the E.R. who need recovery,” Hill said. Many of those patients, she added, are or have been in some type of recovery program. For those who are not in a recovery program, “Ocean Mental Health has amazing resources for people with substance abuse disorders,” she said. In conjunction with the patient’s primary care doctor and recovery program, Hill provides medication assisted treatment for opioid use.
Other treatments include complementary therapies, bio-identical hormone therapy, anti-aging medicine, medical marijuana prescribing, weight loss treatment and smoking cessation treatment.
Essentially, New Alternatives is a complement to the primary care doctor for “people who want to maximize (their) health and well-being.” That being said, anyone suffering from an “acute, episodic illness” is encouraged to consult their primary care physician. Preventative care as healthy lifestyle management is where Hill’s work at New Alternatives comes into play. So, while Hill won’t treat a cold or virus, but she’ll help prevent it in the first place. “In the interest of promoting wellness,” she explained, “I might suggest immune boosters, herbs and supplements such as elderberry, echinacea, zinc …”
New Alternatives is partnered with Emerson Ecologics, a carrier of a broad selection of high quality supplements. Also, Hill will refer her patients to “good, reliable people to get information from,” such as Pangaea Naturals or a local pharmacy. “It is our goal, whenever possible, to source organic and sustainable (products).”
New Alternatives is a fee-for-service facility, which allows for more personalized patient care. An initial visit is $200 for an hour consultation visit in a bright, organic-looking room. Most follow-up visits cost $100 for 30-minute appointments. Lab work and medications are separate, but rather than the standard physician’s visit, patients of New Alternatives receive an elaborate panel that their physician will discuss with them in detail.
According to Hill, when working with insurance agencies, physicians are required to see anywhere between six and 10 patients per hour. “You don’t have an hour,” she lamented. “When you have a patient who needs an hour, you spend the rest of the day racing.” Furthermore, in a traditional practice, “your thyroid tests can be technically normal, but it won’t be addressed, even if it’s on the lower end,” Hill explained. In a preventative care practice, Hill added, lower levels are more likely to be addressed and treated, if necessary.
“Our goal is not to have a one size fits all, but we’re also not a fast food service,” Hill said, explaining they will not carelessly fulfill patient requests for therapy or medicine unless, through detailed assessment, it is found necessary. The ultimate objective is for patients to achieve wellness without the aid of medication. “I’d love to help people work towards not needing medicine.” She emphasized, “The goal is to really see what the individual problem is and give personalized care. But I still want you to see your primary care doctor.”
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, visit newaltmednj.com.
— Monique M. Demopoulos