Important Announcements

Hello Treehouse Family! It’s been a while since my last blog and I wanted to update everyone with some exciting and important changes happening at the office.

First, the bad news: As of September 20th (tentatively) we will no longer be accepting insurance plans from Aetna or Optima. Unfortunately, the lost income, time, and expense of taking insurance is simply not sustainable for a small, one-person office, and the time I’ve had to spend dealing with insurance-based headaches is simply unsustainable. I realize this may impact some of you financially to the point that you are no longer able to see me due to the cost of private visits. If that is the case, let me know and I will endeavor to find you care, though if you must use your insurance, the only options in the Charlottesville area are likely UVA or your primary care doctor. The other option is to see me and file your own insurance as an “out of network” visit. Reimbursement for this can vary a LOT and depends on your deductible and out of network copay, so check with your insurance plans and see if you can determine whether the visits will be affordable if you go that route. Some patients I have who file for out of network visits get a substantial amount of money back. Please know I have agonized over this decision for months, but in the end, it has been made for me by the insurance industry.

In other news, I have always tried to make it a priority to provide excellent communication between myself and other care providers (primary care physicians, therapists, etc). I feel like that is not going as well as I would like, partially due to the time I’ve had to spend dealing with insurance-based problems, but also due to not having a good workflow for this. That is also changing now. It would help me greatly, if everyone could fill out the Google Form below (all info is HIPAA protected, I pay extra for that) with the names and contact info (phone, fax, and email) of everyone on your child’s care team. This will go into a spreadsheet on my end that I can use to coordinate communications, as several of my patients see the same doctors/therapists.

Contact Form Link:  Provider Contact Survey

There are also some relatively minor upcoming changes to office policies, which will be detailed further in a new “office policies” form, but the main change is that we will be requiring credit cards be kept on file and will begin charging for missed visits. Early on, I was able to waive missed visit fees because we could simply reschedule for the following week, but now my schedule is so full this is no longer possible and missed visits not only result in lost income, but more importantly, waste time that could have been used by someone else in need. We can also use the cards on file to pay any outstanding balances that weren’t taken care of during the visit (though this will be more rare once we move off insurance, which is the primary reason for not taking care of balances during visits).

Finally, we are continuing the search for more mental health clinicians to join Treehouse!  I have a couple therapists I’ve talked to that are thinking about joining, but if any of you could ask your therapists if they know anyone who would like to come work with me, that’d be great! I have 3 large office spaces in my office that I’d like to get filled! I would like at least one of those spaces to be filled by a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner or a Psychiatrist, if anyone knows one of those as well!  Once I have at least one more provider joining the office I plan to hire a new front desk person as well.

I know this is a lot of change and change can be difficult and scary, but my hope is that these changes will improve care at Treehouse and will allow me to continue to care for my patients in a sustainable way. As always, I welcome any feedback or other ideas you may have! Thank you for allowing me to care for you or your child.

Dr. Heck


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