Heather E. Whitson, MD, MHS
Geriatric Medicine Specialist
I am a clinical investigator and geriatrician. I enjoy helping to care for older adults who are admitted to the hospital. I have a special interest in patients with multiple chronic conditions, and who are at greatest risk of delirium and other geriatric syndromes that frequently occur in the hospital.
Training and Education
Clinical Focus and Research
My research focuses on improving health for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. In particular, I have interest and expertise related to the interface between late-life vision loss and cognitive decline. I work with a team of collaborators that includes investigators from the Duke Aging Center, Duke Eye Center, the Duke/UNC-Chapel Hill Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, and the Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke. We are pursuing studies to improve our understanding of the potential link between age-related diseases of the eye and brain. We are also working on programs to improve quality of life and independence for people living with co-existing visual and cognitive impairments.
Duke Health contracts with most major health insurance carriers and transplant networks, including the ones listed below.
- Aetna Choice POS, Aetna Choice POS II
- Aetna Elect Choice HMO, Aetna Open Access Elect Choice
- Aetna Health Network Only, Aetna Health Network Option
- Aetna HMO
- Aetna Limited Benefit Insurance PPO
- Aetna Managed Choice POS
- Aetna Medicare HMO Open Access
- Aetna Medicare Plan (HMO, PPO)
- Aetna Medicare Premier Plan (PPO)
- Aetna Medicare Prime Plan (HMO, PPO)
- Aetna Open Access HMO, Open Access Aetna Select, Aetna Open Access Managed Choice
- Aetna Open Choice PPO
- Aetna PCP Coordinated POS Plan
- Aetna Quality Point of Service (QPOS)
- Aetna Select HMO
- Aetna Traditional Choice
- Aetna Voluntary Indemnity Group Plan
- Aetna Whole Health – Duke WakeMed WKCC
- Ambetter of North Carolina
Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
- Blue Advantage
- Blue Medicare (HMO, PPO)*
- Blue Options (123, PPO, HSA)
- Blue Select
- NC State Employees Health Plan
*Duke HomeCare and Hospice does not participate in the plan.
- Cigna Choice Plus
- Cigna Behavioral Health (*Limited eligibility)
- Cigna Open Access
- Cigna Open Access Plus
*Please call Cigna Behavioral Heath to see if the provider is participating in your plan.
Duke Group Plans
- Duke Basic
- Duke Select
- Experience Health Medicare Advantage (HMO) Plan
- First Health
- Gateway Health Alliance
Gateway Health Plan
- Gateway Health Medicare Assured Prime (HMO)
- Gateway Health Medicare Assured Select (HMO)
- Halifax Physician-Hospital Organization
- Humana Choice (PPO)
- Humana ChoiceCare (PPO)
- Humana Gold Choice (PFFS)
- Humana Gold Plus (HMO)
- First Medicare Direct*
- Medicare Part A
- Medicare Part B
*This is for Wake County only.
- MultiPlan / Private Healthcare Systems
- NC Medicaid*
*Not all Duke locations and doctors participate in this plan. Please contact the location you will be visiting to determine what is accepted.
- OneNet PPO
- Optima Family Care (Medicaid HMO in VA)*
- Optima Individual & Family (On & Off Exchange Plans)
- Optima Plus (PPO)
- Optima Vantage (HMO)
*Duke Primary Care, Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital are not participating with this plan.
- TRICARE Prime*
- TRICARE Prime Remote*
- TRICARE Select*
*Duke Primary Care is considered an authorized, non-network participating provider.
- AARP Medicare Complete (HMO, PPO)*
- AARP Medicare Complete Essential (HMO)*
- All Savers Alternate Funding
- All Savers Fully Insured
- State Employee Health Plan (for retirees)
- United Healthcare (HMO, PPO, POS)
- United Healthcare Charter/Charter Balance/Charter Plus
- United Healthcare Choice/Choice Plus
- United Healthcare Core/Core Essential
- United Healthcare Navigate/Navigate Plus/Navigate Balanced
- United Healthcare of the River Valley
- United Healthcare Option PPO
- United Healthcare Options PPO with Harvard Pilgrim
- United Healthcare Passport Connect Choice/Choice Plus
- United Healthcare Passport Connect Options PPO
- United Healthcare Select/Select Plus
- United Medical Resources (UMR)
*Duke HomeCare and Hospice does not participate with the plan.
Before scheduling your appointment, we strongly recommend you contact your insurance company to verify that the Duke Health location or provider you plan to visit is included in your network. Your insurance company will also be able to inform you of any co-payments, co–insurances, or deductibles that will be your responsibility. If you proceed in scheduling an appointment and your health insurance benefits do not participate with Duke, your out of pocket liability may be higher. We will contact you regarding your coverage and patient liability. If you are uninsured, learn more about our financial assistance policy.