Apex logo Apex Psychological Services
Providing quality psychological services to children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.
2110 McFarland Blvd. E., Suite F; Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404              205-758-7710

 

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Office Policies

We know the decision to seek psychological services is an important one. We hope the following information will answer some of the questions that you may have regarding practical matters. Please feel free to contact our office if you have questions that are not addressed here.

Confidentiality

All communication between provider and client is held in strict confidence unless: (1) you authorize the release of information with your signature, (2) there is reason to believe that you will harm yourself or someone else, (3) there is suspicion of abuse and/or neglect of a minor or an elder, or (4) we are ordered by a court to release information (for example, this may occur if there is a child custody dispute). If you use insurance, a diagnosis (at least) must be submitted to the insurance company. You have the right to receive treatment without using your insurance, which affords you the most protection, but then the full cost must be paid out of pocket.

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Appointment Policy

The length of an appointment may vary based upon services provided. Most therapy sessions are scheduled for 45 to 50 minutes - this is known as a "clinical hour." Psychological testing usually requires several hours spread over one or more days.

bulldog (6745 bytes)Because the appointment time is reserved for you, it is necessary to charge for appointments which are not cancelled 24 hours in advance, unless they are occasioned by circumstances which we would both define as an emergency. Currently, late cancellations are charged a fee of $30.00 ($60.00 for testing appointments). If you miss your appointment without calling beforehand, you will be charged a "no show" fee of $50.00 ($135.00 for testing appointments).

Please remember that failure to cancel appointments in a timely manner means someone else who wanted services could not be seen. In particular, when testing is scheduled, your doctor may have set aside several hours for you.

When coming for your first appointment, please arrive 15 minutes early to complete necessary paperwork.

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Telephone Calls and Emergencies

We make every effort to be available to you when you need us. Therefore, we have a 24 hour live answering service to take your calls. We return phone calls as soon as possible. The answering service is instructed to notify us immediately in the event of an emergency. It is not necessary to divulge the actual details of your personal concerns to the answering service, but be sure to let them know that it is an emergency. If we are out of town for extended periods, an "on-call" therapist may contact you in our place. If you are unable to reach us in an emergency situation, you should go to the Emergency Department at your local hospital.

Sorry, but we cannot handle emergencies for individuals who are not already our clients.

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Fees, Billing, and Insurance

Fees are an important issue to anyone receiving professional services. Our basic fee structure is as follows:

Initial Consultation

$150 per hour

Psychotherapy

$100 per hour

Psychological Testing

$135 per hour (including time spent interpreting and reporting results)

Please note that these fees are subject to change at any time.

If we have a contractual agreement to adjust our fees (for example, with Medicare), our actual charges might be lower, and billing will be handled in keeping with those contractual agreements.

As a courtesy to our clients, brief phone consultations and letters are provided at no added charge. Lengthy phone calls, detailed letters, or other non-routine services (e.g., school visits, consultation with attorneys) are billed based on the time used. Please ask for details of these charges, which usually are not covered by insurance. Note that all fees are subject to change.

Payment in full is requested at the time of service. We currently accept cash and checks, and hope to soon be able to accept debit cards and credit cards. Monthly statements will be provided as needed to assist you with obtaining insurance reimbursement. When necessary, we will file a claim with your insurance company directly. If we bill insurance for you, please pay your co-payment and any balance due at the time of your appointment. Please feel free to discuss any special circumstances with your doctor.

Billing is handled by a billing service. Information needed to process your claim will be given to the billing service and submitted to the insurance carrier.

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A Note About Insurance Coverage

Your policy might state that the insurer pays a certain percentage of the charges (for example, 80%). However, insurers sometimes declare an arbitrary amount as the "usual, customary" rate that is much lower than what we (or our peers) actually charge (In fact, for some plans, this rate is now lower than it was in 1984). The insurer then pays only a percentage of that arbitrary rate. The remainder of the actual charge is added to your co-pay.

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Past Due Accounts and Service Charges

All accounts are due at the time of service and payable in full within twenty-one (21) days after receipt of the periodic billing statement. We do understand that financial problems may sometimes affect timely payment of your account. If this occurs, please contact our office or the billing service to discuss payment arrangements. Accounts past due (over 60 days) will be subject to a service charge of 1% per month on the unpaid balance. Returned checks will be subject to a $27.00 service charge.

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Disclaimer:  You know, we see a disclaimer like this in every ad that lawyers put out, and it probably is a good idea for us to use one, too:  "No representation is made that the quality of the psychological services to be performed is greater than the quality of psychological services performed by other psychologists.  The outcome of assessments or psychotherapy, or individual client satisfaction, cannot be guaranteed and is dependent on many factors.  Material on this site regarding symptoms, disorders, and treatment is informational only.  Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders requires the expertise of a trained professional."

The information on this site regarding psychological disorders and treatment comes from many sources that cannot be credited, simply because they have been integrated over the years into our general knowledge base. However, one important source is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (1994) published by the American Psychiatric Association.