Battle Creek Pediatric Clinic Adapts to Insurance Changes

Dominic O'Brien, 8, and his mother, Heather Mason, participate in a therapy session with pediatric occupational therapist owner and occupational therapist Maria Dubertian on August 10, 2022, in Battle Creek.

Dominic O’Brien rolled through a “press machine” as Maria Debertian guided the 8-year-old toward his mother during a summer physiotherapy session.

“You’re Dominic Hamburger!” Dubertian shouted.

Dobbertien is the owner of Occupational pediatric therapya practice of occupational, physical and speech therapy for children is now adjusting to some insurance changes that it expected would affect its patients in terms of waiting times and travel expenses.

Opened in 2014, it has increased 27 employees among three locations in Battle Creek, Caledonia and Solcraft and filled a void for specialty services in southwest Michigan.

“When Maria came into town, she was an ‘aha,’” said Heather Mason, O’Brien’s mother. “(Dominic) is like a complete baby care package. Anything and everything we can earn: eating, moving his tongue, fine movement, sitting and supporting himself for a few moments…we were traveling to Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo, and it was still substandard. And in Michigan winters, what do you do?

Dominic O'Brien, 8, and his mother, Heather Mason, participate in a therapy session with pediatric occupational therapist owner and occupational therapist Maria Dubertian on August 10, 2022, in Battle Creek.

Since there are few pediatric outpatient clinics in the area, Dobbertein said the Battle Creek location attracts clients from all over Calhoun County and the surrounding area. But the recent change to insurance coverage through the Blue Cross Blue Shield that took effect October 1 affects how services are billed and delivered, creating problems for patients like O’Brien who need multiple services.

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