DO YOU TAKE HEALTH INSURANCE?
We are huge believers in providing access to affordable, highly-specialized, patient-centered, quality care. After all, we pay hundreds of dollars a month for health insurance premiums – shouldn’t we be able to use it?!
Amy W., Ashley, Nikki, & Sammy are all currently in-network with most BlueCross BlueShield, UnitedHealthcare, and Cigna plans. We are actively awaiting a response from Baylor Scott & White Health Insurance to complete our contracting process as well, which we hope will be soon! Amy Mathew is currently undergoing credentialing and contracting with these plans as well, and we hope this will be completed by early-to-mid March 2022 as well.
what do i need to do to get ready for my first appointment?
Great question! Once we have scheduled your initial assessment appointment, you will automatically be sent our intake forms via our patient portal called Practice Better.
I know, I know… I hear your collective groan when paperwork is mentioned and we are right there with you! As much as we wish we could condense down our paperwork, there are many consent forms that we are legally required to post separately on top of your usual demographic information, insurance information, etc. We recommend allowing ~15 minutes to complete the consent forms, ~30 minutes to completed the nutrition questionnaire, and ~30-60 minutes to verify your insurance coverage.
Other things you may need to have ready before your first session (if applicable) are:
- Insurance referral (if you have an HMO plan, you must request this from your PCP at least 3 days before your appointment to give them time to process your request)
- Insurance prior-authorization (please email us at email@example.com at least 5 business days prior to your appointment if your insurance requires a prior-authorization
Why do I have to check my own health insurance benefits?
We know how valuable your time is, and we also know most other providers you see are able to extend the courtesy of verifying your health insurance benefits on your behalf prior to your appointment. Please trust me (Amy W.) when I say that I genuinely wish that we could offer this courtesy too. As someone who has worked in healthcare on an administrative level for over a decade prior to becoming an RD, I too am very used to the model of the office verifying patient benefits. This is something I do think we should offer & will offer when the time comes, but here are a few of the reasons why we simply can’t at this time.
keeping costs low
Unfortunately as dietitians, many insurance companies don’t yet view our services as valuable as we know they are (some states won’t even allow dietitians to bill health insurance yet!). Why does this matter? Well, unlike other healthcare providers, we cannot bill insurance for anything other than 1:1 face-to-face time spent with the client in session. Everything we do outside of that time (making calls to your care team, case consultation, parent calls, etc.) are non-billable services. Insurance companies are rarely willing to negotiate reimbursement rates despite our costs (office space, utilities, and EHRs to name a few) increasing by up to 30% in the DFW area in the past 2 years. We hope that some day insurance will reimburse us more in line with the value we provide, but for now, we unfortunately don’t have the financial ability to hire a full-time benefits verification specialist.
we only hire the best
We strive to provide the absolute highest quality of care from highly-specialized & compassionate dietitians who are authentically & deeply committed to this work that they do. We don’t take adding new members to our team lightly because we genuinely believe our patients deserve the very best there is to offer. Not only do our dietitians need to be highly-skilled, specialized providers with an extensive background in the field of eating disorders, they must also be passionate about providing the compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered care that you and/or your loved one deserve. We want dietitians who are are all of the above, who are highly invested in their patients and ready to walk alongside them in their recovery journey. Finding someone who checks all these boxes is like finding a needle in a haystack!
When we find these gems of humans that we want to add to our team, we want to make sure that they continue to love what they do and can pour their heart & soul into helping our patients. How do we do that? We pay our dietitians very well because we know how valuable they truly are. By having each patient and/or their guardian call to verify their insurance benefits, it gives us the ability to do just that – to ensure we hire only the best dietitians who are passionate about their work and who are deeply invested in those that they serve. While we know the extra step of having to call your insurance to check your benefits can be a less-than-pleasant task on your to-do list, we hope that you will agree that the trade off of having only the best providers and staff on our team is well worth the yearly phone call to insurance!
“that’s not what the rep told us”
Here’s the tea – you’ll often hear a representative for your health insurance company saying something similar to
“A quote of benefits and/or authorization does not guarantee payment or verify eligibility. Payment of benefits are subject to all terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions of the member’s contract at the time of service.”
Yikes. Essentially, your insurance company isn’t held responsible if they tell you that a service is covered and then it turns out that’s not actually the case. As providers, it makes us middlemen in a very awkward position when verifying benefits if we are told the incorrect information. The patient may feel that we made an error, and that can potentially harm the patient-provider therapeutic relationship. After working with health insurance companies for over 15 years, I can tell you that most will work much harder to provide the paying customer (you) accurate benefits in a more timely fashion than they do for us providers.
help is available!
If you experience barriers to verifying your own health insurance benefits, such as our awesome fellow neurodivergent humans, those experience significant anxiety with making phone calls, etc., please reach out to our wonderful admin assistant, Kim, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are more than happy to help folx in need complete this task so they can access the care they need.
Where are you located and what days do you see clients?
Amy W. & Nikki are currently seeing clients in-person in our Dallas office on Tuesdays.
However, due to COVID-19, we are currently seeing most of our clients via telehealth using a HIPAA-compliant version of Zoom. While getting used to telehealth was an adjustment at first, we’ve found that most of our clients actually prefer telehealth over in-person sessions. It often times means less time needed to take off from work, no sitting in Dallas traffic (wohoo!), and more convenient hours that fit your busy schedule.
We are currently offering a variety of days and times for telehealth appointments in an effort to try provide options for everyone’s busy schedules! We offer daytime and evening hours, but of course these tend to fill up very quickly! We are always happy to provide a note for school or work to document your absence if needed – just ask!
I’ve never seen a dietitian. What should I expect in a nutrition counseling session?
Your first appointment will last approximately 75-90 minutes and follow-up appointments typically last 45-60 minutes. Your initial session includes a comprehensive nutrition assessment including reviewing medical & family history, weight history, diet history, food allergies/intolerances, current nutrition-related concerns, and what goals you want to set for our work together. Based on your assessment, your dietitian will recommend a plan of care and set up your next session. Follow-up appointments will include exploring nutrition-related challenges and wins since the last session, additional nutrition education, nutrition recommendations, and support.
Most clients start off seeing their dietitian once per week, though this can vary depending upon each individual’s or family’s needs. As progress is made over time, sessions may be decreased to every-other-week, monthly, or even as-needed.
Nutrition therapy is similar to mental health therapy in the way that it generally takes many sessions over longer periods of time to improve and/or resolve nutrition-related concerns. When struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder, we know these things didn’t occur overnight – they took many years to develop. The same can be said of unlearning some of these behaviors – it will take time, digging down deep to do the nitty gritty work of challenging distorted thoughts, and self-compassion. While no one could say how many sessions it will take to achieve your recovery goals, we can say that this work takes a more long-term time investment from you, not just a handful of 1-hour sessions.
What if you aren’t in-network with my health insurance plan? What if I don’t have health insurance?
If we are not in-network with your insurance but your insurance tells you that you do have out-of-network benefits for Medical Nutrition Therapy, we are more than happy to provide you with a Superbill (receipt with all the needed codes for insurance) for the session. While payment in full is due at the time of service, you can then submit the Superbill to your insurance coverage for possible reimbursement.
If your insurance does not offer any out-of-network benefits, you don’t have insurance, or you choose not to use your health insurance for any reason, we do offer a “prompt pay” discount (or what you may think of as a “cash pay discount”). Payment is due at the time of service, and we cannot provide a Superbill due to insurance laws (we are required to bill all insurance companies the same and cannot offer reduced rates to some).
For those with limited income or who hold marginalized identities, we offer a limited number of sliding scale spots as well. Please reach out if you have any questions!