Practice Policies & Information

TELEHEALTH MEETINGS 

Following guidelines from professional medical and psychological organizations and the Vermont Department of Professional Regulation, I conduct all therapy meetings online (telehealth) using video conferencing.  I use an encrypted, HIPAA compliant web platform (Zoom) for our meetings, and work in a secure, private office space.

I am licensed as a Psychologist in Vermont and New Hampshire and am only able to provide these services to clients who reside in those states. 

The following contains important information about my professional services regarding conducting therapy meetings online.

Confidentiality

I have a legal and ethical responsibility to make my best efforts to protect all communications that are a part of our telehealth.  While there are potential benefits and risks of video-conferencing that differ from in-person sessions, confidentiality still applies for telehealth services.  However, the nature of electronic communications technologies is such that I cannot guarantee that our communications will be kept confidential or that other people may not gain access to our communications. For example, confidentiality could be compromised if someone is listening to your conversation from another room or if you are using a public Wi-Fi network.  It is also important for you to protect the privacy of our session on your computer or other device (table or phone), such as having passwords to protect the device you use for telehealth.

Crisis management and intervention

Due to the nature of my practice, I cannot accept clients in therapy who are in a high risk or crisis situation requiring high levels of support and intervention. However, to ensure your safety, I do ask that you identify an emergency contact person (on my Client Information Form) who is near your location and who I would contact in the event of a crisis or emergency to assist in addressing the situation.

Guidelines for Telehealth

  • It is important to be in a quiet, private space (no one else in the room) that is free of distractions (including cell phone or other devices) during the session.
  • You will need to use a computer or other device (tablet or phone) with a good, secure internet connection (DSL or cable, not public/free Wi-Fi.) and a camera and mic. You will need to make sure that your camera, speakers and mic are all turned on. Use passwords on your computer, phone or tablet you use for telehealth.
  • I will send you a link for the meeting the day before the scheduled time. Please logon a few minutes before your scheduled appointment so we can resolve any audio or video issues. To insure best quality, close all other applications on your computer or tablet. If you have any difficulties getting connected, please call me at the number below.
  • If the session is interrupted and you are not having an emergency, disconnect from the session and I will wait two (2) minutes and then re-contact you via the telehealth platform. If you are unable to reconnect within two (2) minutes, then please call me at the number provided.
  • If either of us determines that telehealth is not appropriate, I will assist you in finding a therapist who could meet with you in-person.

During this Coronavirus national emergency crisis, many insurance carriers are reimbursing providers some or all costs for telehealth, including BCBS of Vermont, Anthem, MVP, Aetna, Medicaid, Medicare and United Healthcare. You should check with your insurance plan to see what they cover and what your costs would be for these telehealth services.

Availability

My office hours are Tuesday – Thursday 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM; Friday 9:30-4:30.

Current clients and prospective clients can reach me by email or phone. I generally respond to emails within 24 hours, except on weekends when I will respond when I return on Tuesday. I am often not immediately available by telephone, but try to return calls as quickly as possible. When you call, please leave your name, phone number, and the days/times when you will be available to talk. If you are calling from a cell phone and I do not call back within 24 hours, I may not have received the full message clearly and you should call again.

If you are a current client and are unable to reach me and feel that you cannot wait for me to return your call, you should contact your family physician, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room and ask for the mental health professional on call. If I will be unavailable for an extended time, I will provide you with the name of a colleague to contact.

Insurance and Fees

My fees for services are as follows:

  • $150 for a 55 minute session: Meetings longer than 55 minutes are prorated based on this fee.

I am an in-network provider for the following insurance companies and bill them directly:

  • Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Hampshire
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont
  • Harvard Pilgrim
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • MVP

Clients are responsible for their copayment, with payment at their appointment.

For carriers for which I am not an in-network provider, clients have two options: I can submit insurance claims directly to your insurance carrier, or I can provide you with an invoice or standard HCFA 1500 form, whichever will be acceptable for insurance reimbursement. Some insurance companies require you to submit bills directly to them yourself. I suggest that you contact your organization, HR department or insurance agent to find out what is required for submission and their reimbursement rates, as each plan may be different. The reimbursements that you receive from your insurance company can be used to offset the costs of our meetings. Clients are expected to pay for services at each session unless other arrangements have been made with me. I do understand that some clients will not be able to afford the full fee.  I am willing to arrange a reduced fee and/or a payment plan if the fee is unaffordable.

Payments can be made by credit, debit or FSA cards through IVY payment.

Confidentiality
(See also section on confidentiality for telehealth above)

In order to protect my clients, confidentiality is strictly maintained within the legal and ethical limits of the psychological profession according to the Ethical Standards of the American Psychological Association (APA) and HIPAA. A release of information would be requested prior to disclosure of any confidential information with outside persons or agencies. However, there are circumstances in which I am required by law to disclose information without your consent to outside persons. These may include, but not limited to, situations where I believe that a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person is being abused, a client is threatening serious bodily harm to himself/herself or another, or I am informed of any pending illegal activity by a client.

I occasionally find it helpful to consult with other professionals about my work with clients, including supervision from a senior psychologist. These consultations are intended to enable me to provide better services to you. During any consultation/supervision, I make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of my clients. The consultant/supervisor is also legally bound to keep the information confidential. I also video some of my sessions and would only do this with your permission.

When referrals are received from another healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse, therapist, etc.) it is professional courtesy to thank them and let them know that I am seeing you. I will ask your permission to correspond with them and to what extent I can share information.

Record Keeping

I am required by law to keep treatment records. I maintain both hand written and electronic notes and billing records. My written session and billing records/notes are stored in a locked filing cabinet in my office and all electronic records are stored on a password protected, encrypted computer and on a HIPAA compliant cloud-based server. Upon your request, you are entitled to receive a copy of your records.

Cancellation Policy

When making an appointment, please take the time to consider your ability to keep that commitment. Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you.

  • If you believe you will not be able to make your scheduled appointment, I request that you provide a minimum of 48 hours notice. This will give me an opportunity to offer the time to someone else.
  • You can cancel or change your appointment up to 24 hours prior to the appointment. If you do not give 24 hours notice or do not show up for your appointment at the scheduled time, you will be charged a $ 50 fee.  Please note that I am not legally able to charge an insurance company for a service I have not provided.   I ask that you send this payment either immediately in the mail or bring it to your next scheduled appointment. If you need to spread it over a few weeks or sessions, let me know so we can make a payment plan.
  • I consider a non-emergency change in plans or a last minute change in your work/family schedule as a cancellation and you will be charged the $50.   I understand that it can feel difficult to pay for a session you have not attended and that things come up that are unexpected.  However, I do require reimbursement for time reserved for you.
  • Please note: I understand that there are unforeseeable and/or unpreventable circumstances, such as personal and family illnesses, that require cancellation of an appointment.  You will not be charged for these cancellations.  If I need to cancel due to medical reasons, I will contact you as soon as possible to make other arrangements.

Termination:

Either the client or the therapist may end therapy at any time. Your participation in therapy is voluntary and it is your right to discontinue at any time. If you do wish to terminate, for whatever reason, I would appreciate being able to discuss it with you at a scheduled meeting.  In addition, if I believe that you are no longer benefiting from therapy, I will discuss the issue with you.  If it is clear that you are not clinically benefitting from the therapy, I am ethically responsible to terminate therapy with you and provide you with the names of other competent therapists to address your issues.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.