WHAT DOES “CONFIDENTIALITY” MEAN?
Your therapy sessions are confidential. No information about you will be discussed with anyone without your written permission. However, California state law requires exceptions to this rule in the following situations: (a) current or past child abuse or neglect; (b) elder abuse; (c) a threat to the life of another person; (d) court subpoena; (e) medical emergency while in session. Confidentiality may also be broken if you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or if you are gravely disabled (i.e., planning suicide or unable to provide food, clothing or shelter for yourself).
WILL MY INSURANCE PAY FOR MY SESSIONS?
Some plans with out of network benefits will reimburse for my services. I require out of pocket payment up front at each session. I offer insurance filing forms monthly for you to submit and you will receive direct reimbursement.
HOW LONG IS A THERAPY SESSION?
A typical individual therapy session is 50 minutes. 75 minute sessions are available upon request. Couples sessions are more involved requiring 75 minutes at the start and usually go down to shorter sessions with progress. In my experience, longer sessions translate to overall fewer hours in therapy.
WHAT IS THE FEE FOR THERAPY?
My standard fee for 50-minute sessions is $175.00. Couples or family sessions, which are usually 75 minutes, are $260.00. Some insurance plans will reimburse a portion of your fees, sent directly to you after you submit the proper paperwork.
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY?
I require cancellation notice a minimum of 24 hours in advance of your appointment time. Because I have reserved the entire hour for you, the more notice you can provide the better. If I am available and you reschedule your appointment within the next 3 business days (Monday-Friday), you will not be charged the missed appointment fee. However, I am often booked out for two to three weeks at a time and may not have anything available. You get a freebie the first time you cancel late. Please be advised that you will be charged $50.00 per session cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice thereafter.
WHAT IF I NEED MEDICATION?
I do not prescribe any medications. However, if over the course of our work I assess the usefulness of medication, I can help you find an appropriate psychiatrist. If you are currently taking medications, we will discuss during the initial appointment.
SHOULD I USE MY INSURANCE?
• True privacy and confidentiality means sharing sensitive, personal information with a single, trusted professional chosen by the patient. Managed care usually requires sharing private information with several people who are not chosen by the patient. Insurance company employees (gatekeepers and utilization reviewers) have access to your information. Files are often accessible to hundreds of employees.
• Life insurance companies have access to your health insurance giving them the right to deny you coverage based on your diagnosis. This is termed risk management when it is actually discrimination and bias fueled by negative stigma. Certain diagnoses can prohibit life insurance even if the diagnosis was several years ago.
• A utilization reviewer’s decisions may overrule the decision of the professional who is conducting the treatment. However, the reviewer’s decision often is based upon limited information and/or a too-brief discussion of a case with the treating therapist.
• Medical ethical codes require that health professionals avoid and minimize conflicts of interest regarding their primary obligation to the patient’s welfare. Managed care, on the other hand, does just the opposite. Professionals may avoid dealing with important long-term issues or cut therapy short because managed care prefers to refer new patients to therapists with a record of short-term (less expensive) treatment.
• Managed care often fails to inform patients of treatment alternatives outside of the plan. This failure to inform serves the purposes of the managed care company because patients who do not know other treatment is possible, are more likely to report satisfaction with the managed care treatment. Unfortunately, this failure to inform also undermines the patients’ control, because the patient loses the choice to self-pay for the preferred treatment.
• Medication is frequently presented as complete treatment. In fact, psychotherapy, in combination with medication, is a better treatment than medications alone.
• Patients who are sent to psychotherapy are usually told that ultra-brief therapy is the treatment of choice, and if they don’t improve, they are told that there are no realistic alternatives. The reality is that longer-term psychotherapy is a more effective treatment for many presenting problems. Many people find it so helpful that they will decide to self-pay for longer-term, depth psychotherapy.
WHAT IF I STILL WANT TO USE INSURANCE?
While there are potential complications that could come about from using insurance, I do still happily provide paperwork necessary should you decide you’d like to obtain out-of-network reimbursement. This means you pay for the sessions up front, submit the form to your insurance company, then they may or may not reimburse you a certain percentage. This depends on the provider, type of plan, etc. Call your member services department to find out more by asking specifically about your plan’s out-of-network reimbursement requirements and percentages.