True North is committed to increasing efficiency, decreasing reliance on third-party funders, and sharing the costs and benefits of providing a fiscally sustainable “healthier model of healthcare.”
Effective 12/1/10, True North will charge patients a $5 or $10 facility fee for appointments scheduled with True North. Some exceptions apply. Call us at 207-781-4488 with any questions, and for more information, consult the letter to our patients and our facility fee fact sheet listed below:
>download True North facility fee letter
>download True North facility fee fact sheet
LETTER TO TRUE NORTH PATIENTS:
November 2, 2010
Dear True North Patient,
While you know True North as a medical practice where your health care needs are met by a caring and knowledgeable group of clinical and complementary practitioners, you may not know True North as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. We have worked diligently since we opened our doors in 2002 to build a strong, successful and sustainable organization. Please take care to read this letter in full, as it contains important information about a new initiative to help support True North’s long-term sustainability.
Our mission is to change health care and inspire individuals to live healthier lives through integrative care, education and research. We live this mission by providing direct care and education to patients without the barriers associated with contracting with insurance companies. In our research focusing on patient outcomes we have seen that limiting insurance carriers’ involvement in the health care equation inspires patients to engage more in their care, establish a direct relationship with their practitioners and become healthier in the process. We can also be more transparent about the true costs of your health care and related services while our innovative access programs better position patients with limited economic means to achieve their health goals.
In our quest to provide a different and better model of healthcare, we know that sustainability is critical to our success and we continue to strive towards fiscal responsibility executed in an ethical manner. This is why we have worked to reduce our annual operating expenses by over 30% since 2006. We have achieved this goal through strategic reductions in spending, improved efficiencies, engaging our practitioners in volunteer activities to support our non-profit, and asking all staff and practitioners to give a little more energy to our organization. And, we have done this without cutting services to our patients, allowing us to continue to provide the care you have come to expect at True North as exemplified by the highly positive patient feedback from the American College of Physicians Internist research survey.
We realize there are many costs associated with receiving health care that True North has absorbed. In traditional medical practices and hospitals these costs are paid for with revenue from ancillary services such as MRIs, CT scans and X-rays (many of which are unnecessary but profitable for those organizations - see Overtreated by Shannon Brownlee) or by increasing productivity (which means more and shorter office visits in an effort to see more patients and to increase revenue). At True North, we do not have “high revenue” ancillaries. We offer services that are truly in line with the individual’s healing process, and we continue to offer ample time for patients and practitioners to develop trust – an important element in a healing relationship. Revenue from our supplement store help support our non-profit (not practitioners) but cover only a portion of our total overhead expenses.
As we continue on our path to fiscal sustainability we have committed to increasing transparency of the costs associated with your health care while reducing our reliance on generous third-party funders (donations from individuals and granting organizations). For a non-profit it is tempting to rely solely on the philanthropy of donors to cover these costs but this seems unfair since we are asking patients to partner with us on their health care journey. We feel it is appropriate to educate individuals about these costs and to reach out to those who are benefitting directly from our model and services to share the costs of practicing medicine the way we do.
After much contemplation over many months, True North has decided to share the costs of reaching true sustainability with our patients by implementing a facility fee to those who receive services from True North. Effective December 1, 2010 True North will charge either a $5 or a $10 facility fee for appointments scheduled with True North. For complete details, please consult our Facility Fee Fact Sheet. If you still have questions after consulting the enclosed material, feel free to contact Cathy Valenza, director of operations and development, at 207-781-4488.
Thank you for your part in this effort to prove health care can be done smarter, healthier and for less money on the whole!
From the Staff and Practitioners of True North
TRUE NORTH FACILITY FEE FACT SHEET
Effective December 1, 2010 True North will charge patients either a $5 or a $10 facility fee for appointments scheduled with True North, including telephone appointments, as indicated below. Some exceptions apply; see below for details.
Patients will be charged a $10 facility fee for each appointment with the following practitioners:
- Bethany Hays, MD, FACOG
- Chris Bartlett, MD
- Charles de Sieyes, MD
- Joe Semmes, MD
- Miles Simmons, MD
- Peter Knight, ND
- Catherine Galida, DO
- Magili Quinn, DO
- Susan Fekety, MSN, CNM
Patients will be charged a $5 facility fee for each appointment with the following practitioners:
- Clinical support staff and lab-only appointments (including vaccinations)
- Mary Fogg, PhD
- Coleen Connolly, RN, MAc
- Cynthia Atkinson, CEMP/S/I, CHTP
- Evelyn Rysdyk and Allie Knowlton, LCSW, DCSW
- Melissa Williamson, LMT
- Kathryn Landon-Malone, RN, MSN, PhD(c), CPNP
- $5 facility fees for each appointment included in the "Best First Year of Life" and "Best Second Year of Life" packages purchased on or after December 1, 2010 will be bundled into the cost of each package. If you arrange with Kathryn to make your payments quarterly, the fees will be included in your payments.
- Facility fees have not been included in packages purchased prior to December 1, 2010 and will be charged accordingly after consultation with Kathryn.
Patients will be charged only once if multiple appointments are scheduled and completed on the same day.
- If one or more appointments fall under the $10 category, the $10 facility fee will be charged.
- If all appointments fall under the $5 category, the $5 facility fee will be charged.
The Facility Fee will be charged to patients who no-show for a scheduled appointment or cancel on short notice based on how the practitioner chooses to handle the situation. Example: If practitioner “No Charges” the no-show visit then the Facility Fee will be “No Charged”; If practitioner bills for the no-show visit then the Facility Fee will be billed for.
*Exceptions: True North will waive the facility fee for the following:
- 15-minute get-acquainted appointments
- Appointments for patients approved for care through one of our access models:
- Hour Exchange Portland members who meet True North’s financial guidelines
- Patients approved for care through the True North Reilly Fund
- Appointments for which a practitioner designates a 100% “Write-Off” for charges, in order to further our access initiatives. The facility fee does apply if less than 100% of the charge is a “Write-Off.”
- There is no Facility Fee charge associated with E-mail visits or telephonic visits NOT scheduled by True North.
If you have questions, feel free to contact Cathy Valenza, director of operations and development at True North, by calling 207-781-4488.