Are you taking new patients?
While my practice is never really “closed,” at the moment I am booked out several months for new patient evaluations. I usually wait to schedule new evaluations until a few weeks before the available appointment date, and just maintain a list of new incoming patients.
Do you do therapy or medications?
Okay, I don’t actually get this question a ton but I think it is important to know what you are getting. So here’s a little background information.
- Psychiatrists go through medical school just like your family doctor did and any other MD or DO that you know (surgeons, urologists, gynecologists, etc). Your family doc probably did 3 years after medical school training specifically to be a primary care doc. Most psychiatrists did a four year training in general/adult psychiatry after medical school. The focus is heavily on medication management, though psychiatrists all did some training in psychotherapy during residency. Some residency programs are more focused on therapy than others. Most psychiatrists don’t do a lot of therapy, but those of use who do often have done additional therapy-specific training.
- Therapists – which can include doctors of psychology, licensed independent social workers, and licensed mental health counselors, are trained to do therapy. They are specialized in one or more types of therapy such as Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Bevioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Therapy, Play Therapy, EMDR/Trauma therapy, etc. They rarely prescribe medications, though some psychologists have gone through additional training to prescribe ONLY psychiatric medications.
- My training: I did four years of college, four years of medical school (with 2 years in the middle of that on hiatus to do some additional training in population health and in healthcare administration). After that I did a combined residency – which means at the end I was able to become board-specialized in two different specialties (Psychiatry and Family Medicine). I have done some additional training in dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance commitment therapy, and trauma therapy. During my residency, I had a therapy supervisor who did a lot of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and so I have some familiarity there as well.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for someone to do only therapy, you may want to look at people who spend ALL of their time doing therapy. Because the more you do something, the better you get at it. Also, if you want something specialized like EMDR, you’ll want to look for someone with more/different therapy training. If you are wanting to see someone who can do a little bit of both (therapy and prescribing), I may be more up your alley.
How often do you see me?
It depends on a lot of things including what your needs are and what other professional support you have. Sometimes it’s less than a week, sometimes it is 6 months.
Can you take care of my medical care?
Technically, yes, but there are some things to consider. I am happy to talk about this with any of my patients or potential patients. I spend about 90% of my time treating mental health and related conditions. For some people this works well to have one doctor managing both – such as dealing with chronic pain disorders or trauma-related conditions. However, all doctors maintain their knowledge partly through study and partly through seeing patients. I don’t see strep throat or rashes hundreds of times a year like many primary care providers do.
Basically, there are pros and cons to think about. We can talk about what best meets your needs
Can I email you?
Yes, but be advised that:
– Email is not a secure or confidential form of communication. I cannot guarantee the security of messages that you send or that you receive and it is advised not to communicate about sensitive personal or health information via email.
– Email should not be used for emergent issues as email may be delayed due to technical issues or to provider availability.
– Email is not a replacement for telephone calls for urgent issues, as patient condition and emergency situations cannot be adequately assessed by email.
– All email communications become a part of the patient’s medical record.
Do you see kids or teenagers?
Sometimes. It depends on how complex your situation is, and your age. To see kids and teenagers, doctors usually complete a 2-year fellowship after they do a general residency in psychiatry. (The majority of psychiatry residency is geared toward training adult psychiatrists.) I have seen a decent number of kids and adolescents through my primary care training and my exposure to child and adolescent psychiatry rotations in residency. If you are under 18 and have been through a number of medications, or if your diagnosis is unclear, you may be better served by seeing someone who is more specialized in working with patients your age. However, I am happy to review your records or discuss with you on an individual basis.
How do we do copays?
I have an account through Stripe that lets you pay while we are on a telemedicine call if you prefer. Checks are fine as well. I also got a Four Square account and card-reader, though please bear with me as I learn how to use it. Copays can be paid at your visit, or after your insurance company has been billed and lets me know what your portion is. It’s up to you. Medical billing regulations are interesting, and I actually am required to collect copays in order to be compliant with the laws and with rules of insurance companies. Although cannot waive copays, I am willing to work with you if you need to set up a payment plan.
What are costs for visits?
Again, there are a lot of interesting things that are required of doctors to be allowed to keep working with insurance companies. I bill insurance companies by E/M (evaluation and management) codes, and have set prices for those that are consistent with industry standards (at least, what I know of industry standards from other docs and prior employers). Doctors “never” get 100% of what they bill from insurance companies, but whatever we bill above the insurer’s limit goes away – it does NOT get passed on to you as the patient. Agreeing to this is how doctor’s get into your insurance company’s network.
If you pay out of pocket, you can choose to be billed in the same way as I would bill the insurance company, or you can choose to pay based on time. The advantage to paying based on time is that you know the exact cost up front, regardless of what we do during your visit or how complex the visit might be. If you want to pay at the time of the appointment, I also give a discount for payment at time of service to try to make services more affordable. If you pay in advance, the charge is $240 per 60 minutes (which works out to about $4 per minute).
I know it is still a significant amount, and if you want to do a payment plan instead I charge $300 for the hour (which works out to about $5 per minute). I am willing to work with you on a plan to make payments, and I do not charge interest. These amounts seem like a lot to me as well, but we are limited in how much we can reduce prices without without committing insurance fraud or being unable to stay in private practice.