Frequently Asked Questions
||Dr. Asher has rescued my performing career. He brought clarity to a confusing diagnosis, offered me a healthy solution and has stuck with me on the long road to recovery. In a world that can seem overrun with a pill-popping diagnoses and knife-happy surgeons, Dr. Asher is a holistic alternative.
Television actress and Puppeteer
New York City
Exactly what kind of doctor is Dr. Asher?
He is a board-certified Otolaryngologist / Head and Neck Surgeon - more commonly know as an ENT (ear, nose and throat) physician. After completing his medical degree (MD), Dr. Asher underwent an additional six years of specialty training and completed a sub-specialty fellowship in pediatric ENT as well.
For Dr. Asher's biography and list of affiliations, go to Our Practice on the Navigation Bar and click on "staff."
What distinguishes Dr. Asher from other ENT physicians?
1) His extensive knowledge of complementary and alternative therapies. Dr. Asher is unrivaled in his ability to explore the entire range of treatment options available to address ear, nose, and throat disorders - from Western allopathic approaches (pharmaceuticals and surgery) to non-conventional modalities (i.e. acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, Ayruvedic, body work).
Dr. Asher is the founder and former chairperson of the Committee on Alternative Medicine for the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
2) He allows 45 minutes to an hour with new each patient in order to offer a true HOLISTIC evaluation - one that considers the entire person, from a mind-body-spirit perspective.
Dr. Asher is committed to addressing the root of the problem. He aims to offer long-term solutions rather than "quick fixes" that address only the symptoms, and possibly trade one set of problems for another.
3) His commitment to using the knowledge he gained as a surgeon to keeping people out of the operating room whenever possible.
When surgery is necessary, Dr. Asher assists his patients in finding the practitioner who offers the least invasive technique for their particular condition.
Is Dr. Asher an alternative doctor?
He is an INTEGRATIVE PRACTIONER, which means that he considers a myriad of non-conventional approaches in addition to standard conventional approaches - rather than "instead of."
He employs the most advanced diagnostics available and develops a customized, comprehensive treatment plan that considers all appropriate modalities: conventional and non-conventional.
When traditional Western medicine is the most appropriate course, Dr. Asher is highly qualified to oversee your care.
What distinguishes Dr. Asher from other integrative, holistic practitioners?
Dr. Asher is a medical doctor (MD) who trained as a specialist and surgeon in the area of Head and Neck (ear, nose, and throat) disorders. Most holistic practitioners are primary care or general physicians. Or, they have another area of expertise such as oncology, endocrinology, general pediatrics, or women's health.
Will Dr. Asher ever prescribe medicine?
Of course - when necessary and appropriate. However, he will also explore non-pharmaceutical alternatives, with less potential side effects, whenever possible. Or, he may recommend supplements or complementary therapies to be used in conjunction with conventional medications to mitigate some of the potential side effects.
Will Dr. Asher ever recommend surgery?
Yes. His expertise makes him uniquely qualified to assess the pros, cons, necessity, urgency, and efficacy of surgery for any specific Ear, Nose, and Throat disease.
"The most important thing I learned in twenty-five years in the operating room is knowing when not to operate," notes Dr. Asher.
Patients referred to surgery by Dr. Asher are usually satisfied that they are making the very best decision, despite any inherent risks involved.
This makes Dr. Asher ideally suited to surgical second opinions.
Why doesn't Dr. Asher practice surgery himself anymore?
"There are many fine surgeons, but no one else in the Head and Neck Surgery world can offer patients the healing options that I can provide outside the OR."
Dr. Asher had a long, highly esteemed surgical career - beginning with serving as Chief Resident at the preeminent University of Iowa, followed by a Harvard surgical fellowship, and appointments at Harvard, Washington University, and Dartmouth Medical schools. There have never been any malpractice suits or disciplinary actions against him. However, as his knowledge of and experience with other modalities expanded, he realized developing integrative, holistic treatments plans was the optimal way for him to serve his patients. He wanted to devote as much time as possible to this method of patient care.
Dr. Asher remains up-to-date on the most sophisticated and least invasive surgical techniques for any particular Ear, Nose, and Throat disorder. With patients that do require surgery, he is able to refer them to the most appropriate sub-specialist.
What hospital is Dr. Asher affiliated with?
Dr. Asher has lectured to physicians and medical students at many of the top area hospitals including Cornell, Lenox Hill, and SUNY Downstate. He maintains professional contacts at every major area institution, keeping current in regard to their medical offerings.
Dr. Asher remains intentionally unaffiliated, in order to provide each of his patients with the most unbiased referrals possible. When patients do need surgery or hospitalization, he has the freedom to match each patient with the best specialist in the City (or throughout the nation) for their particular condition.
What are some of the 'alternative' therapies Dr. Asher uses?
Dr. Asher's integrative medical training includes: cranial osteopathy, myofacial therapies, medical hypnosis, nutrition, and stress management. He has also tracked, over several decades, the efficacy and safety of alternative approaches he does not directly employ.
Dr. Asher is unparalleled in his ability to guide patients through the complex (and often costly) world of alternative modalities as they pertain to each specific Ear, Nose, and Throat disorder. He has worked in cooperation with: acupuncturists; chiropractors; nutritionists; structural body workers; movement therapists; Ayruvedic, homeopathic, and naturopathic physicians.
For those with little knowledge of these modalities, Dr. Asher has identified excellent practitioners in each of these areas. Whether you select your own practitioners, or utilize his referrals, Dr. Asher will work to develop the best health care team for you.
Nothing else I've tried seems to work - what makes Dr. Asher's treatment different from the other alternative and traditional therapies I've tried?
Dr. Asher is particularly gratified to offer new hope to patients with complex, chronic disorders that have been unsuccessfully treated with standard otolaryngologic care. In the ENT field, he is unsurpassed in his knowledge of integrative approaches. This, combined with Dr. Asher's excellent conventional training and experience sets him apart from other practitioners in the field of Ear, Nose, and Throat diseases.
Referring physicians recognize that his talent in diagnosing complicated head and neck problems goes beyond that of many holistic practitioners, no doubt due the amount of time he has spent studying this area of the body from a vantage point only accorded to surgeons.
I've had massage, craniosacral therapy, and myofacial release treatments. Is Dr. Asher a glorified body worker?
Dr. Asher is a physician. What distinguishes his treatments are the way these methods are applied specifically to Ear, Nose, and Throat disorders, as one small piece of a more complex, sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic program.
What evidence is there that these treatments work?
Dr. Asher tries to adhere to the principals of evidenced-based medicine that is the current standard of Western medical care. His treatment protocols are based upon extensive research.
On the subject of empirical (anecdotal) evidence: while much of medicine attempts to adhere to the evidenced based model of controlled studies, in many areas this standard is impossible to achieve. In fact, many widely accepted surgical procedures are based upon empirical evidence alone.
How long should I plan for my initial visit?
We suggest you allocate an hour and a half. Please plan to arrive an additional fifteen minutes earlier if you do not have all your medical history and personal information forms completed and in hand. Your time in our office will include forty-five minutes to an hour with Dr. Asher, and allows time for paperwork and arranging any necessary follow-up referrals and appointments. We recommend you maintain an unhurried pace following your visit if at all possible.
What services are included in my initial consultation fee?
An extensive, holistic evaluation and diagnosis; a treatment plan; and any complementary modalities Dr. Asher employes (i.e. hands-on therapies; hypnosis; and nutritional counseling) are included. About fifty percent of new patients incur additional fees for procedures such as nasal endoscopy, laryngoscopy, and stroboscopy - or require laboratory services and / or prescriptions that must be filled by outside vendors.
Please feel free to call our office at 212-223-4225 for a more detailed fee schedule.
Does Dr. Asher provide the nutritional supplements he recommends?
Dr. Asher has elected not to sell supplements, nor financially benefit directly or indirectly from any of his referrals. To the best of his knowledge, Dr. Asher has no monetary interest in any pharmaceutical, nutritional, medical equipment or holistic products / supply companies.
However, we do provide patients with all the information necessary to easily locate supplements and medications, either in person or by mail order. We identify discount options whenever possible, and request that suppliers pass on any wholesale prices to our patients when applicable.
Does Dr. Asher accept insurance?
We ask for payment to be made at the time services are provided. If you bring your insurance information and fill out the forms we provide on premises, we will be happy to mail the claim to your insurance company for you. Or, we can provide you with all the necessary paperwork to submit the claim yourself.
Because Dr. Asher is an MD, whose rates are consistent with others in his specialty, most of our patients find they are reimbursed for the majority of their expenses. However, we cannot guarantee any reimbursement, nor advocate on the patient's behalf beyond mailing the original Superbill.
Dr. Asher is committed to serving EVERYONE who can benefit from his care. We offer a monthly "Pay What You Can" day, as well as several payment options. For details about these programs, please email info@BenjaminAsherMD.com. or call the office at 212-223-4225.
If Dr. Asher is willing to treat everyone, despite their ability to pay, why isn't he a Preferred and Medicare provider?
When agreeing to become a preferred provider, the insurance companies often dictate the course of treatment. That means, for example, they can tell Dr. Asher he has to administer several courses of antibiotics before he can order an x-ray, or that a particular course of medication must be taken between office visits. These restrictions limit Dr. Asher's ability to develop the customized and innovative approach that is his hallmark. By not contracting with insurers, Dr. Asher is able to spend more time with his patients and provide the most effective treatment protocols.
What is your cancellation policy?
Twenty-four hours notice, please. Our detailed policy can be found under the "Practicalities" section, located under the Your Visit navigation bar item.
How can I arrange for Dr. Asher to come speak to my group?
Please send your request to: info@BenjaminAsherMD.com.
Topics Dr. Asher has addressed, to health professionals and the general public, include:
- New Hope for the Headache That Won't Go Away.
- Non-surgical Sinus Solutions: Innovations and Alternatives.
- Less is More: Exploring alternatives to pharmaceuticals and surgery for common childhood Ear, Nose, and Throat Diseases.
- Beyond Steroids and Surgery: Advancements in Non-invasive Voice Treatment
Discussions of fees and honorariums are on a case-by-case basis. Fees are often waived for non-profit organizations and / or those involved in fund-raising endeavors.