Welcome to Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health. This document (the Agreement) contains
important information about our professional services and business policies. The law requires that we obtain your signature acknowledging that we have provided you with this information which was done when you checked in for your first visit.
It also contains summary information about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that provides privacy protection and patients’ rights with regard to the security and disclosure of your Protected Health Information (PHI) used for the purpose of treatment, payment, and health care operations. HIPAA requires that we provide you with a Notice of Privacy Practice (the Notice) for use and disclosure of PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations. The Notice, which was also made available to you, explains HIPAA and its application to your PHI in greater detail.
Although these documents are long and sometimes complex, it is very important that you read them carefully. We can discuss any questions you have about procedures at any time. When you sign the accompanying acknowledgement of new patient paperwork it will represent an agreement between us. According to this document, you may revoke this Agreement in writing at any time. That revocation will be binding on us unless we have taken action in reliance on it; if there are obligations imposed on us by your health insurer in order to process or substantiate claims made under your policy; or if you have not satisfied any financial obligations you have incurred.
Psychotherapy: We provide psychotherapy services. Psychotherapy is not easily described in general statements. It varies depending on the personalities of the clinician and the client and the particular problems you are experiencing. There are many different methods your clinician may use to you cope with the problems that you hope to address. Psychotherapy is not like a medical doctor visit. Instead, it calls for very active participation on your part. In order for the therapy to be most successful, you will have to work on things talked about both during our sessions and at home.
Psychotherapy can have benefits and risks. Since therapy often involves discussing unpleasant aspects of your life, you may experience uncomfortable feelings like sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness. On the other hand, psychotherapy has also been shown to have many benefits. Therapy often leads to better relationships, solutions to specific problems, and significant reductions in feelings of distress. Thus, it is possible that you may experience both but there are no guarantees of what you will experience.
The first few sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation your clinician will be able to offer you some first impressions of what your work will include and a treatment plan to follow, if you decide to continue with therapy. You should evaluate this information along with your own opinions of whether you feel comfortable working with the clinician. Therapy involves a large commitment of time, money, and energy, so you should be mindful of the therapist you select. If you have questions about procedures, you should discuss them whenever they arise. If your doubts persist, your clinician will be happy to help you set up a meeting with another mental health professional for a second opinion.
Psychiatric evaluation and medication management:
Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health also provides psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluation and medication management services by a licensed psychiatrist and/or advanced practice registered nurses with a psychiatric specialty.
You will first be scheduled for an initial diagnostic interview. At the end of this session the
psychiatrist will offer their impressions and psychiatric treatment recommendations. You
should evaluate this information along with your opinion of whether you feel comfortable
working with the psychiatrist then together you will decide how to proceed. This evaluation
period can last anywhere form 1-4 sessions. If medication is recommended, you will be offered information regarding its risks, benefits side effects and possible alternatives. You may be asked to sign an informed consent for each medication prescribed.
Psychological Assessment and Other Testing Services:
Portions of the referrals to our practice involve requests for psychological assessment and other testing services. Testing services are provided when the use of psychometric instruments is necessary to determine a psychological diagnosis and to determine treatment needs accordingly. Psychological assessment is the process of collecting data from interviews and instruments and then placing this data in a wide perspective, with its main focus being problem solving and decision-making. Those seeking psychological assessment services will discuss the structure, cost potential benefits and risks
during the initial intake.
Since we offer a variety of services you may be scheduled for one or more type of service. Initial Diagnostic Interviews: This is your first appointment with any of our providers and offers the opportunity for you and the provider to decide what if any treatment is recommended and whether they are the appropriate provider to meet your treatment needs.
When psychotherapy begins, your clinician will schedule session based on
what is needed to meet your need. Appointment blocks may be every other week, or every other week. It is possible some sessions may be longer, shorter, or more/less frequent. You and the provider will establish your treatment goals.
Psychological testing appointments typically include an initial diagnostic interview and follow up testing appointments (typically with an assessment technician) that usually take place over 1-2 half day sessions. You will be billed for face-to-face time with the providers as well as the amount of time it takes to score and interpret your data and write the report.
Psychiatric services vary in length and frequency and are based on your needs and the prescriber’s recommendation. They may be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly. Your session may include medication evaluation/monitoring and/or
Our fees vary based on the professional delivering the services and services delivered (a fee schedule is available upon request). In addition to scheduled appointments, we charge a set amount for other professional services you may need, and will break down the hourly cost if the activity is a period of less than one hour. Other services include but are not limited to:
1. Report writing,
2. Completion of FMLA and/or Disability Paperwork
3. Telephone conversations lasting longer than 10 minutes
4. Repeated crisis calls after hours
5. Attendance at meetings, consulting with other professionals with your permission
6. Preparation of records or treatment summaries
If you become involved in legal proceedings that require Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health’s
participation, unless payment arrangements are made with your attorney, you will be expected
to pay for all our professional time, including preparation and transportation costs, even if we are called to testify by another party. Because of the complexity of legal involvement, we charge $150 - $250 per hour for preparation and $250 - $350 per hour for attendance at any legal proceedings. Participation by phone is charged at the same rate however, the provider may offer this option at a reduced rate. Prior to being involved in legal issues, an estimate of time and cost will be provided to you. A minimum of half of this amount is due prior to participation and the balance is due at the close of each legal proceeding.
Returned checks: $40 service fee per returned item.
Additional statement fees: receipts are provided with no charge at the time of service
and patients with outstanding balances will be mailed a statement monthly. All
requests for additional statements may incur a $2 charge.
Medical Records: TMP Solutions handles all of Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health’s records
requests. Requests by you or anyone other than your medical insurance company for
your records may incur a minimum $25 per patient or .50 cents (existing patients) or
$1.00 (discharged patients) per page charge and payment may be required prior to the
release of records. Records requests typically take at least 10 business days.
Once an appointment is scheduled, you will be expected to pay for it unless you provide 24 business hours (72 hours for testing appointments) notice of cancellation or unless we both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control. It is
important to note that insurance companies do not provide reimbursement for cancelled
sessions. You will be responsible for any missed appointment fees incurred and these will
need to be paid prior to your next date of service. If it is possible we will try to find another
time to reschedule your missed appointment. Missed appointments are billed at a flat fee based on the provider you were scheduled with and the service that was to be delivered. Missed appointments are billed at the following rate and due prior to your next date of service:
All appointments with a psychologist-$75 per appointment (testing is usually
scheduled for several hours)
All appointments with a master’s level therapist-$50 per appointment
Initial evaluations or therapy appointments with a prescriber - $85 - $100 per
Medication Monitoring appointments - $45 - $50
Group Therapy sessions - $30 per appointment
Sometimes when a patient misses an appointment without giving notice or cancels frequently we are unclear whether they wish to continue treatment or not. If you miss or cancel an appointment and do not have a future one scheduled you will need to contact the office to indicate you would like to continue treatment. If we do not hear from you, we will assume you would like to terminate and you will be discharged from treatment. If you cancel or miss 2 or more appointments in a 60 day period you may receive a letter indicating that we would like to review your treatment commitment and will wait to hear from you before scheduling you another appointment. Again, if we do not hear from you, we will assume that you wish to terminate treatment and you will be discharged. Please be aware in all these cases we are not able to continue to reserve your appointment time for you.
MEDICATION MANAGEMENT ISSUES
If you are experiencing an issue with your medication or require a refill an office visit is typically required. Refills will only be given without an appointment and/or fee in special circumstances. If your prescriber agrees to authorize a refill this may take up to 72 business hours (does not include weekends or holidays). Prior authorizations for medications also take a minimum of 72 hours. Many of our prescribers do not work every day and will only be contacted on their day off for life threatening emergencies. Therefore, some refill requests may take longer based on your doctor’s schedule. Medication refills must be requested through our website (www.midatlanticbh.com) or left on the medication support line for a specific prescriber. Please also be advised that as part of your treatment plan Urine Drug Screens are routinely ordered prior to and during treatment especially if controlled substances are prescribed.
All relationships have a beginning, middle and end. This is true in treatment relationships as well. In treatment, ideally the patient and provider should mutually agree that it is time to terminate the therapeutic alliance when the patient’s treatment goals have been achieved and there is a reasonable expectation that the gains will be maintained. There are, however, circumstances in which there is not mutual agreement. MABH acknowledges that the patient may choose to terminate treatment at any time. If you choose to terminate and request it, your provider will supply you with a referral to another provider. You will remain obligated for any unpaid balances and other contractual agreements.
Though it is rare, providers may also initiate termination without your consent under the
The goals of treatment have been met and treatment is no longer needed
There is noncompliance with the structure of treatment (canceling or missing
appointments, failure to pay fees, failure to follow through with recommendations, etc.)
There is lack of progress despite appropriate treatment
A conflict of interest arises
Illness or disability of the provider or family member requiring a significant reduction in
or absence from work
Termination of the provider’s work with this practice
On most weekdays, the receptionist will be available during normal business hours (8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Friday) to answer phone calls. If no one is available, the phone system will permit you to leave a message in the general office mailbox, which is monitored frequently during office hours. We make every effort to return all calls within one business day. You are also welcome to leave a voicemail on your clinician’s confidential voicemail. If you are difficult to reach, please inform us of some times when you will be available.
If you experience a life threatening emergency outside of business hours or receive the office voicemail you will be provided instructions for contacting the on-call clinician. Please note that this service is only to be used to true life threatening emergencies and only so that the clinician may direct you to the most appropriate crisis facility. Extended phone calls (more than 10 minutes), calls deemed to be not of a life threatening nature, and or repeated crisis calls may result in additional charges which may not be paid by your insurance company.
Medication refills or issues other than serious side effects cannot be handled through the oncall phone line.
If you leave a message and feel that you can’t wait for us to return your call, contact your family physician or proceed to the nearest emergency room and ask for the psychologist or psychiatrist on call.
If your clinician will be unavailable for an extended time, Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health will
provide you with the name of another Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health clinician to contact, if
LIMITS ON CONFIDENTIALITY
In general, the law protects the privacy of all communications between a patient and mental health professionals. In most situations, we can only release information about your treatment to others if you sign a written authorization form that meets certain legal requirements imposed by HIPAA. There are other situations that require only that you provide written advance consent. Your signature on this Agreement provides consent for those activities as follows:
We may occasionally find it helpful to consult with other health and mental health
professionals about a case. During a consultation, we make every effort to avoid
revealing the identity of patients. The other professionals are also legally bound to keep
the information confidential. If you do not object, we will not tell you about these
consultations unless we feel it is important to our work together. I will write all
consultations in your Clinical Record (which is called “PHI” in my Notice of Providers’
Policies and Practices to Protect the Privacy of Your Health Information).
If you treat with more than one provider at MABH (therapist, psychiatrist, evaluator)
your medical information will be available to all and they will consult without additional
We have contracts with other businesses that provide mental health and other business
support services. As required by HIPAA, we have formal business associate contracts
with these businesses, in which they promise to maintain the confidentiality of the data
except as specifically allowed in the contract or otherwise by law. If you wish, we can
provide you with the names of these organizations and/or a blank copy of this contract.
Disclosures required by health insurers or to collect overdue fees are discussed
elsewhere in this Agreement.
If a patient seriously threatens harm to himself/herself, we may be obligated to seek
hospitalization for him/her, or to contact family members or others who could help
There are some situations where we are permitted or required to disclose information without either your consent or Authorization:
If you are involved in a court proceeding and a request is made for information
concerning the professional services we provided to you, such information is protected
by the doctor-patient privilege law. We cannot provide any information without your
written authorization, or a court order. If you are involved in or contemplating
litigation, you should consult with your attorney to determine whether a court would be
likely to order us to disclose information. We strongly discourage this as it is often
nonproductive to the therapeutic relationship.
If a government is requesting the information for health oversight activities we may be
required to provide it for them.
If a patient files a complaint or lawsuit against us, we may disclose relevant information
regarding that patient in order to defend ourselves.
If we are treating a patient who files a worker’s compensation claim, we may, upon
appropriate request, be required to provide otherwise confidential information to your
There are some situations in which we are legally obligated to take actions, which we believe are necessary to attempt to protect others from harm and we may have to reveal some information about the patient’s treatment. These situations are unusual in our practice but include:
If we have reason to believe that a child who we are evaluating or treating is an abused
child and/or an adult was an abused child in the past, the law requires that we file a
report with the appropriate government agency, usually the Division of Family Services.
Once such a report is filed, we may be required to provide additional information.
If we have reason to believe that an elderly person or other adult is in need of
protective services (regarding abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment), the law
allows us to report this to the appropriate authorities, usually the Department of Aging,
in the case of an elderly person. Once such a report is filed, we may be required to
provide additional information.
If we believe that a patient presents a specific and immediate threat of serious bodily
injury regarding a specifically identified or reasonably identifiable victim and he/she is
likely to carry out the threat or intent, we may be required to take protective actions,
such as warning the potential victim, contacting the police, or initiating proceedings for
If any of the above situations arise, we will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action and we will limit my disclosure to what is necessary; however, our first priority will be to ensure the safety of the victim.
While this written summary of exceptions of confidentiality should prove helpful in informing you of potential problems, it is important that we discuss any questions or concerns that you may have now or in the future. The laws governing confidentiality can be quite complex, and we are not an attorney. In situations where specific advice is required, formal legal advice may be needed.
You should be aware that, pursuant to HIPAA, we may keep Protected Health Information
about you. It includes information about your reasons for seeking therapy, a description of the ways in which your problem impacts your life, your diagnosis, the goals we set for treatment, your progress toward those goals, your medical and social history, your treatment history, any past treatment records we receive from other providers, reports of any professional consultations, your billing records, and any reports that have been sent to anyone, including reports to your insurance company. Except in unusual circumstances that involve danger to yourself or others where information has been supplied to us confidentially, or the record makes reference to another person (unless such other person is a health care provider) and we believe that access is reasonably likely to
cause substantial harm to such person, you may examine and/or receive a copy of your Clinical Record if you request it in writing. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. For this reason, we recommend that you initially review them in our presence, or have them forwarded to another mental health professional so you can discuss the contents. We are sometimes willing to conduct this review meeting without charge. In most circumstances, we are allowed to charge a copying fee of $1 per page (and certain other expenses). MABH contracts with a third party vendor to fulfill all records requests on our behalf. Please note that requests may take up to 10 business days to fulfill. The exceptions to this policy are contained in the attached Notice form. At Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health your clinical record is part of an electronic medical record (EMR). All information is password protected to prevent unauthorized parties from viewing records. Back-up data is stored on and off site to prevent any loss of data. Any paper records that relate to you are stored in secure area.
NEW PATIENT RIGHTS
HIPAA provides you with several new or expanded rights with regard to your Clinical Record and disclosures of protected health information. These rights include requesting that we amend your record; requesting restrictions on what information from your Clinical Record is disclosed to others; requesting an accounting of most disclosures of protected health information that you have neither consented to nor authorized; determining the location to which protected health information disclosures are sent; having any complaints you make about our policies and procedures recorded in your records; and the right to have a paper copy of this Agreement, the attached Notice Form, and our privacy policies and procedures. We are happy to discuss these rights with you.
MINORS AND PARENTS
Patients under 18 years of age who are not emancipated and their parents should be made aware that the law may allow parents to examine their child’s treatment records. Because privacy in psychotherapy is often crucial to successful progress, particularly with teenagers, it is sometimes our policy to request an agreement from parents that they consent to give up their access to their child’s records. If they agree, during treatment, we will provide them only with general information about the progress of the child’s treatment, and his/her attendance at scheduled sessions. We will also provide parents with a summary of their child’s treatment when it is complete. Any other communication will require the child’s authorization, unless we feel that the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else, in which case, we will notify the parent of our concern. Before giving parents any information, we will discuss the matter with the child, if possible, and do our best to handle any objections he/she may have.
Both parents have the right to participate in their child’s treatment and must agree to the
treatment plan unless a sole legal (not physical) custody agreement is on file. Additional
consents must be signed in these cases to release information to the non-custodial parent. Our goal is to provide therapy services for your child and not be involved in custody issues. We expect that you will help ensure that we do not become involved. If however our involvement is requested and/or mandated professional fees outlined will apply regardless of who mandates our participation.
BILLING AND PAYMENT
You will be expected to pay for each session at the time it is held, unless we agree otherwise or unless you have insurance coverage that requires another arrangement. If you are using your insurance benefits it is your responsibility to know your coverage, copays, and any authorization requirements. Copays, coinsurance or deductible amounts are due at the time of service. Any outstanding balances for which we send you a bill are subject to additional service and interest charges. Current fees for this may be obtained from the front office. Please note that you may also be asked to reschedule appointments and will not receive written reports if you have an outstanding balance for monies owed by you until payment or payment arrangements are made.
If you have agreed to assume financial responsibility for services provided (i.e., without third party payment), you will not be provided services or written or verbal feedback regarding evaluation results until the balance of the amount due is paid in full. (In circumstances of unusual financial hardship, we may be willing to negotiate a fee adjustment or payment installment plan.)
All co-payments, coinsurance, deductible and self-pay amounts are due at the time of service. If your account has an outstanding balance, you are expected to pay your account in full before seeing the provider. MABH reserves the right to cancel all appointments if full payment is not received at time of service. If you cannot pay a balance in full within 30 days, please contact our billing department to see if you qualify for special payment options. We accept cash, personal checks, flexible spending, debit and credit cards.
If at any time you have a balance due exceeding 60 days past due and have not made
appropriate payment arrangements with our billing department your account will be subject to collection by MABH using your credit card on file. Your account may also be referred to an outside collection agency and you agree to pay for all collection costs incurred. Further, you understand that if your account is referred to a collection agency, or if your past due status is reported to a credit reporting agency, the fact that you received treatment at our office may become a matter of public record.
If your account has not been paid for more than 60 days and arrangements for payment have not been agreed upon or kept, we have the option of using legal means to secure payment. This may involve hiring a collection agency or going through small claims court which will require us to disclose otherwise confidential information. In most collection situations, the only information we release regarding a patient’s treatment is his/her name, demographic information, the nature of the services provided, and the amount due. If additional legal action is necessary, its costs will be included in the claim. Currently our collection fee is 37%.
In order for us to set realistic treatment goals and priorities, it is important to evaluate what resources you have available to pay for your treatment. If you have a health insurance policy, it will usually provide some coverage for mental health treatment. We will fill out forms and provide you with whatever assistance we can in helping you receive the benefits to which you are entitled; however, you (not your insurance company) are responsible for full payment of our fees. It is very important that you find out exactly what mental health services your insurance policy covers and verify this with your carrier prior to beginning treatment. You should carefully read the section in your insurance coverage booklet that describes mental health services. If you have questions about the coverage, call your plan administrator. Of course, we will provide you with whatever information we can based on our experience and will be happy to help you in understanding the information you receive from your insurance company. If it is necessary to clear confusion, we may be willing to call the company on your behalf.
Due to the rising costs of health care, insurance benefits have increasingly become more
complex. It is sometimes difficult to determine exactly how much mental health coverage is
available. “Managed Health Care” plan such as HMOs and PPOs often require authorization before they provide reimbursement for mental health services. These plans are often limited to short-term treatment approaches designed to work on specific problems that interfere with a person’s usual level of functioning. It may be necessary to seek approval prior to beginning therapy or for more therapy after a certain number of sessions. It is your responsibility to know if this is required and inform the office of such prior to beginning treatment. While much can be accomplished in short-term therapy, some patients feel that they need more services after insurance benefits end. Some managed care plans will not allow us to provide services to you once your benefits end. If this is the case, we will do our best to find another provider who will help you continue your psychotherapy. Others will allow you to continue as a private pay client.
You should also be aware that your contract with your health insurance companies requires that we provide it with information relevant to the services we provide to you. We are required to provide a clinical diagnosis. Sometimes we are required to provide additional clinical information such as treatment plans or summaries, or copies of your entire Clinical Record. In such situations, we will make every effort to release only the minimum information about you that is necessary for the purpose requested. This information will become part of the insurance company files and will probably be stored in a computer. Though all insurance companies claim to keep such information confidential, we have no control over what they do with it once it is in their hands. In some cases, they may share the information with a national medical databank.
We will provide you with a copy of any report we submit, if you request it. By signing the
Acknowledgement of Receipt of New Patient Paperwork you agree that we can provide
requested information to your carrier. Once we have all the information about your insurance coverage, we will discuss what we can expect to accomplish with the benefits that are available and what will happen if they run out before you feel ready to end your sessions. It is important to remember that you always have the right to pay for services yourself to avoid the problems described above (unless prohibited by contract).
Your signature on the Acknowledgement of Acknowledgement of Receipt of New Patient
Paperwork indicates that you have read the information in this document and agree to abide by its terms during our professional relationship.