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How Can I Find Good Psychiatrist?

By    |   Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 03:47 PM

Question: What’s the best way to find a qualified psychiatrist? I know how to look for a good doctor, but how do I start looking for a mental-health specialist?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:

There are many ways to identify a good mental-health practitioner. But first a little background on mental healthcare.

With the advent of PPO and HMO contracts, many insurance companies took mental healthcare in house, and started to move the market away from private psychiatrists.

We went through a period where insurance coverage for psychiatric treatment was rationed by the participating insurer-chosen network. There tended to be an emphasis on outpatient/clinic care by psychologists, clinical sociologists, and registered non-physician therapists — all advised by a single psychiatrist, who might supervise the care of up to 40,000 or more insured patients.

Therapists agreed to accept discounted pricing and often an agreement to limit the number of billed outpatient services for each patient.

In light of this, how do you select a psychiatrist or mental-health professional who will be good for you? It’s important for you to be comfortable with your selection, and a referral is going to be the best route here — from a friend, family member, or doctor you trust.

You can ask your primary care doctor for referral. Finding a skilled experienced psychiatrist can take upwards of three to six months when un-referred, but access may be close to immediate if you are referred by a doctor.

You may want to check insurance coverage to gauge the affordability of your choice. Many psychiatrists do not participate with discounted insurance plans, but most are willing to work out individual adjustments to their fees after patients have established a professional relationship with them.

Most psychiatrists prefer to receive new patients on referral from a primary care physician or as a direct referral after a psychiatric hospitalization. If you expect to need periodic hospitalization, consider whether your chosen psychiatrist will be able to participate in care for you when admitted.

But be aware: Given the current hospitalist climate of hospital admissions and insurance pre-authorization roadblocks, it has become much more difficult to find psychiatrists who will assume inpatient and outpatient care for new patients.

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There are many ways to identify a good mental-health practitioner, but referrals from friends, relatives, and doctors are a good place to start.
mental, health, psychiatrist
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2015-47-23
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 03:47 PM
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