Frequently Asked Questions
What is your new patient procedure?
Please fill out the new patient request form through Luminello, the patient portal that I use.
After requesting an appointment, we would set up an free introductory phone call where I can start to learn what you are looking for in treatment and where I can answer any questions that you may have.
Since you’re more than just a constellation of symptoms, you need enough time to tell your whole story so that I can accurately formulate what’s going on and create optimal treatment recommendations. Initial visits occur over one 90-minute session for adults or two sessions lasting 3 hours in consecutive weeks for children & adolescents.
If we do two appointments, between the visits, I will speak to any people you think could provide helpful information (e.g., partners, parents, previous therapists or psychiatrists, etc.) and review medical records to further formulate your case and create a tailored treatment plan that fits your needs. This time is accounted for in your initial evaluation fee.
At the end of the evaluation, I will review what we talked about the previous week, discuss my diagnostic formulation, help you learn more about your diagnosis and symptoms, and review my treatment recommendations.
Are you seeing patients in person?
At this time, I am seeing patients only through a confidential, HIPAA compliant telemedicine video platform while monitoring the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. I plan to see patients in person within the San Francisco Bay Area in the near future.
What is the difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist/therapist?
Psychiatrists (MD or DO) are physicians who have completed medical school and further specialized training in mental health. Other therapists are not physicians, rather have completed other training programs and have degrees such as MFT/LMFT, SW/ASW/MSW/LCSW, PsyD, PhD, etc.
All may be great options for therapy. The biggest difference plays out in psychiatrists’ ability to prescribe medications and understanding of medical/surgical/neurological issues that bidirectionally affect mental health given our medical training.
When can I consider you my doctor?
I can be considered your doctor only after we have mutually agreed to a treatment plan after our initial evaluation or first sessions together where we figure out whether we are a good fit for one another.
Therefore, visiting this website, initial email or phone communication, initial evaluation, or any other contact prior to agreeing on a treatment plan do not constitute a doctor-patient relationship.
Do you take insurance?
At this time, I do not accept insurance.
There are several reasons for this policy. Insurance companies often demand high administrative requirements and set limitations on how psychiatrists can practice in a way I feel would help people the most. Rather than spending time billing, filing, and negotiating with insurance companies, I instead use this time to collaborate, teach, and build relationships within the community. I acknowledge that this policy prevents me from being the best fit for some people’s financial situations, and I’m sorry for that.
Through my online portal, you can generate a medical service receipt (superbill or invoice) for each visit, which has the information you need to submit an out-of-network claim to your insurance company for reimbursement. From this medical service receipt, many people choose to pursue reimbursement for any out-of-network benefits for which they are eligible, but I consider that a private decision between a person and his/her/their insurer.
How much do sessions cost?
The price of sessions varies depending on the length of your appointment and whether we’re doing medication management, talk therapy, or both. If you are curious about the cost of specific session types, please submit a new patient request.
Forms of payment?
Payment is by debit card (including employer-sponsored HSA/FSA/HRA accounts) or credit card through the online portal, which utilizes Bluefin as the confidential service provider.
Will my insurance reimburse?
I am an out-of-network provider for insurance plans. I will provide a receipt (superbill) for each visit, which you can submit to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Please ask your insurance provider for details and reimbursement rates.
Please note that insurances usually do not reimburse for fees outside of appointment times, which includes no-show fees, late or cancellation fees, paperwork fees, refill fees, and possibly other fees.
How do I get out-of-network reimbursement?
To use this benefit, call your insurance company and ask them the following:
- How much does my plan cover for an out-of-network provider?
- What is my out-of-network deductible and has it been met?
- What is my out-of-network annual out-of-pocket cap?
- Do I have to have a “parity” (i.e., severe) diagnosis, to qualify for benefits?
- How many sessions per calendar year does my plan cover for a parity, or non-parity, diagnosis?
- What is the maximum coverage amount (sometimes called the “UCR,” or “usual and customary rate”) for procedure codes listed here (in bold)?
- Is approval or a referral required from my primary care physician?
- Do I need to obtain pre-authorization?
- Are my benefits on a calendar year basis, or a plan year? If on a plan year, when does it start?
Are there any advantages to being seen out-of-network?
- Quality: You are free to get the best clinical care possible, without any interference from the insurance company.
- Access: Appointments can last as long as they need to and can be as frequent as necessary.
- Privacy: If you do not seek reimbursement from your insurance company, your chart is completely confidential and will never be released without your permission.
- Financial: Many who do choose to seek reimbursement are surprised to find that the process is relatively simple and the benefits higher than assumed.
How do I get reimbursed by my insurance company on an out-of-network basis?
Once you have paid your balance in full, you simply submit your receipt (which shows all necessary diagnostic and procedural codes and that you have paid) along with your insurance company’s claim form (typically found on their website) through the insurance website and they will mail you a check or direct deposit into your bank account. Insurance companies will not accept claims for dates that have not been paid.
For your convenience you can consider using an app such as Better Claims or Reimbursify or submitting directly through the insurance company. I have no relationship with these apps and thus do not guarantee their quality.
The amount they send you, once you meet your out-of-network deductible and assuming you have obtained any necessary prior authorizations, is based on the percentage of out-of-network coverage your plan authorizes. This is typically 50-80%, but for some even up to 100% after you meet your annual deductible of the allowable rate, which varies based on plan. Please note insurance plans typically do not cover time spent in your care in between sessions.
I will be happy to help you estimate what your actual total cost will be once you call your insurance company and get the information above, and to give you any guidance I can in the process.
Do you accept Health Savings Account, Flexible Savings Account, or Health Reimbursement Account (HSA/FSA/HRA) debit cards?
Yes. If you have a pre-tax account set aside for healthcare expenses, you may use the debit card that is associated with that account. If you do not have one, ask your human resources department if you can set one up.
What is your cancellation policy?
Once we schedule your time, I hold that specially for you. As a courtesy to those who are on the wait list, please call me at least two business days before to cancel. For example, if your appointment is on Monday at 4pm, please call me no later than the previous Thursday at 4pm to cancel.
If you do not give two business days notice, you will be responsible for the full session fee. “No shows” or being frequently late to appointments are a significant obstacle to treatment. I am willing to commit to helping with your problem, but as this is a collaborative process, I require the commitment to be mutual.
Unfortunately, no insurance company reimburses for this. Emergencies are handled on a case-by-case basis.
What are your official HIPAA privacy policies?
Click here to read the notice of privacy practices