Elevate Healthcare has closed three youth-focused mental health clinics in the Dallas area, citing slow reimbursements from insurers it works with.
The company launched a year ago and opened clinics in Frisco, Garland and Mesquite that primarily provided services to juveniles ages 5 to 17 who had been discharged from mental hospitals.
“Will [Williams] and I had over 30 years of experience in psychiatric hospitals,” said founder Margie Barilla. “We wanted to take the experiences we didn’t like and turn it into a positive place for our patients and staff.”
Elevate offered a free assessment on a patient’s first visit, followed with group and individual counseling. The company worked with 3,900 patients.
Soon after starting its programs, Barilla said the company’s billing requests were getting sent back by insurance companies.
Williams, Elevate’s vice president and CEO, pushed back. He said insurance companies didn’t conduct site inspections or provide clear guidance that would have allowed the company to properly code its services for reimbursement.
Both Williams and Barilla said insurers didn’t begin providing reimbursement until they got the Texas Health and Human Services Department involved.
The company also appeared to struggle with employee satisfaction. Glassdoor, a job search website that contains anonymous postings from employees, contains mostly negative reviews of the company. Employees highlighted problems with leadership, scheduling and practices.
Williams, who joined as interim CEO in September 2019, chalked up the complaints to employee discontent with uniform standards and practices the company tried to implement.
“Each location is set up similar to the other locations,” Williams said, referencing the clinics’ physical layout. “Our staff should be able to settle in at each location.”
The company employed 39 people, all of whom were laid off.
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