The following are common questions asked by patients and their families when seeking psychiatric care in an outpatient clinic environment.  For additional information, please Contact Us.  We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who is an expert in the behaviors and diseases of the brain and mind. They have completed their undergraduate degrees, medical-school training, and four more years of specialized psychiatric training before entering regular practice.

Psychiatry is a specialty of medicine, like cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, and so on. Because of this extensive training, a psychiatrist is the best choice to work with you to make sure that your health problems and medications are all taken into careful consideration during treatment. They are uniquely qualified to understand how medical factors can affect your mental health.

People usually seek out the services of a psychiatrist for their course of treatment because they want the greatest care possible for their mental health problems. They have decided they want the best so they can achieve the level of success and wellness they want to attain. A psychiatrist will be able to quickly make an assessment and provide treatment or guide you in the direction that will be best for your success.

What should I expect at my first appointment?

When you first arrive, the office staff member will take your insurance information and review office policies and other important paperwork with you and collect the doctor’s co-pay or fees. With your permission, they will take your picture to integrate into our electronic medical records. They will also check your blood pressure and weight before you see the doctor, or the doctor may do that while in session with you later.

The first psychiatric assessment appointment will last between 30 mins to an hour.  The doctor will ask you many questions pertaining to your health, background, problems, and treatment history. This is because mental-health problems are viewed from a bio-psycho-social model, so the doctor will ask about your physical health, psychological factors, and social issues.

After an assessment, the doctor will discuss treatment recommendations with you, which may include ordering lab work, prescribing medications, and other therapeutic recommendations. You then check out with the front desk staff and can set up your follow-up appointment.

What happens at follow-up appointments?

Similarly to your first visit, the staff will meet with you first to review your information, collect fees, and possibly check your blood pressure and weight. If you are prescribed medication the doctor will want to see you again soon (typically two weeks after your initial visit) to make sure you are tolerating the medicine well and that you are feeling better. Follow-up appointments vary in length depending on whether your doctor is doing brief psychotherapy with you or if you only need a medication management visit. Follow up appointments generally last 15-20 minutes.

Medication

If your doctor recommends medication, you may need to try more than one to find the right combination of symptom relief without unwanted side effects. Many medications can cause harmless but annoying side effects such as dry-mouth, constipation, stomach upset, diarrhea, headaches or dizziness. These side effects usually go away after a few days or weeks, but if they are intolerable, your doctor may choose to prescribe another medicine during a follow-up visit with you.  Mediation changes are typically only made during a follow-up visit.

How often do I need to be seen?

That answer varies depending on many factors, including stability, complexity, and the type of medication you are prescribed. Often, patients are seen two weeks after their initial visit if a medication was prescribed.

The frequency of follow-up visits can range from once every month to once every three months.

Who can come to my appointment?

That is up to you. Whether you would like to attend alone or with someone close to you, the decision of whom to involve in your healthcare is entirely yours.

What is the patient portal?

The patient portal is your connection to our office in your personal environment.  This is where you will go to request refills, future appointments, communicate with the office and engage in video encounters if that is part of your treatment plan or visit.  We utilize only the patient portal for electronic communication and document request because it is a secure method that complies with HIPAA.

What insurances are accepted?

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Cigna PPO, Aetna.  Mental health benefits vary greatly from medical benefits so verify with your insurance provider.  In some cases, mental health benefits are handled by a third party that you are unaware of.

What forms of payment are accepted?

The office accepts cash and all credit cards including Health Savings Account credit cards.  We are not currently accepting payment plans.

What are cash pay fees?

New patients: $350.00

Follow-up visits: $150.00 – $300.00 (depending on time spent in session)

How is my confidentiality protected?

Neither the doctor nor the staff will acknowledge any information about you to anyone unless you have authorized the release of your information to those specific individuals or it is an emergency situation. The office is HIPAA compliant.

What do I do in an emergency?

Our office is not set up as an emergency clinic or walk-in clinic.  If there is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department facility.