Location: 12370 Hesperia Road Suite 6, Victorville, CA 92395
Operator: Dr. Richard Merkin-President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network
Phone: (760) 245-4747
By Nolan Patrick Smith
(Victor Valley)–Medical care is something everyone should be aware of; from the various choices, to which insurance can be used, to how to handle referrals –this information is vital to everyone, from a child to a senior. Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group (HVVMG) thrives on helping their members get what they need most: quality care.
To learn more about what Heritage is all about, I sat down with three of their marketing personnel, Marketing Coordinator Kelly Bell, Senior Marketing Assistant Carolyn Richardson and Marketing Director Lori E. Keith.
So, what is Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group and what does it do?
“We are an HMO Medical Group: there are six of us in the desert, and we are one of the largest out here,” said Carolyn Richardson. “What we do is manage your medical care. We have a big population of seniors that we serve, and we have Inter Valley, Blue Cross, Aetna, Easy Choice, Health Net and United Health Care as health insurance carriers for seniors.”
“We also have commercial, by that I mean if there are employer groups out there that need insurance, they can select a PPO or HMO,” Richardson continued. “If they select an HMO, they can pick their doctor and medical group here in the desert. We have 4,200 care doctors to choose from, and we are contracted with St. Mary Hospital, which is our hospital choice. We are also contracted with Victor Valley Hospital, Barstow Community Hospital and Big Bear Hospital.”
The reach of Heritage is one that should not be understated, as it goes farther than most might initially think. Dr. Richard Merkin is the owner of Heritage, and as Richardson stated, he owns quite a few others. “We aren’t the only group that Dr. Merkin owns. We are affiliated with Heritage Provider Network, which includes sister companies in New York, New Orleans, Arizona, Orange County, Lancaster, Bakersfield, Desert Oasis in Palm Desert, all with the same owner.”
With over 160 specialists that range from heart, to orthopedics, to whichever specialty you need, Heritage has you covered. One of the points Richardson brings up is the speed that Heritage deals with the all-important referral. “We are noted for being the fastest group out here that gets your referrals done. We have always taken pride in that.” State mandate is 7-14 days, but Heritage always strives for the quickest turnaround when it comes to processing referrals. Richardson knows the company well, having been with Heritage for the past eleven years.
A very exciting opening occurred recently for Heritage, as Richardson tells us about their brand new, state of the art comprehensive urgent care, also located on Hesperia Road. “We just opened up our brand new urgent care next door. We had our urgent care a few suites down, but we have grown so fast that we had to open up a new one next door. It is state of the art: there were five comprehensive urgent cares in California, and we are now one of them.” So, what’s the difference between a comprehensive urgent care and a regular one?
“At a comprehensive urgent care you can get all your labs done and not have to leave the facility. We do everything here,” added Keith in regards to the stunning new facility. The comprehensive urgent care is open seven days a week, from 9am-9pm, with plans to be open 24 hours in the summer.
One of the most important aspects throughout the medical field is how the patients, the members, are treated. Lori Keith touched on this, making it clear where Heritage’s priorities stand, “We are very personable, our doctor’s are very personable. We do a lot of events, but they are always driven towards education, and having members and non-members select a doctor because of the personalization.”
“Like the Doctor’s Panel we started in 2009: it’s very unique, where the member can ask questions to a doctor with a facilitator. We try to have at least twelve physicians on the panel: from primary care to chiropractic specialist, cancer specialist, and all different realms of the medical industry. They are really effective and different, we like to be different.”
The Doctor’s Panels are hosted twice a year, with the next one coming in the form of the Fourth Annual Seniors in the Know event in October, which is during open enrollment for most all seniors with Medicare and some employer groups. The Doctor’s Panel is free to attend, but an rsvp for a ticket is necessary. Also at the event will be a 75-minute performance by musical great Chubby Checker and his band.
Keith spoke on the next major event for Heritage, which takes place this June. “Our next event is the Summer Block Party, which is June 22nd, here in the parking lot. That’s free, and we have vendors outside, doctors that come and chitchat, and we grill turkey dogs. We do giveaways, it will be a really good day.” The new Urgent Care will be having an open house the same day, so anyone can come by and see the latest medical facility in the High Desert.
Another program that Heritage hosts is their Koffee Klubs for active older adults. The clubs are held every Monday morning, with five clubs across the desert and plans to reach all desert communities. Richardson made sure to point out that it is not just for Heritage members, “They don’t have to be our members, any seniors can come and play different games at each Koffee Klub, like Zonk and Yahtzee.” Refreshments are served at the clubs as well. It is important to note that the Koffee Klubs are purposely held on Mondays for a reason.
“Monday is the most depressing day for seniors,” Keith said in regards to the Koffee Klub. “They have the weekend: maybe church, the grandkids, some company, then it is Monday again and what are they going to do? It’s a great way to get people out of the house on a Monday.”
The Koffee Klubs are currently held in Victorville, Apple Valley, Barstow, and will be starting in Helendale on May 14th. The Koffee Klubs help in to show that it is the member and their needs that are the most important aspect to Heritage. Kelly Bell put it best as she described Heritage, “We are really a family: we are unity.”
For more information on Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group, feel free to call their offices at (760) 245-4747 or visit them on the web at www.hvvmg.com. To receive Heritage updates straight to your mobile phone, text the word “Bandaid” to 57682.