Practice Policy FAQ
Is it necessary to have an intake with a Psychiatric provider?
It is our policy to rule out a number of medical issues that appear as mental health issues. Counselors are not able to diagnose underlying medical issues that may be affecting, or even be, the primary cause of your issues (click here to read more about this). It is one of the advantages of seeing a counselor in a larger practice where you have a multi-discipline team taking care of you. You don't need to follow any recommendations - it is information that you can use, with your counselor, to create the best treatment plan specifically for you. You can also chose to ignore if the information if you wish, but it may be the difference between highly effective therapy versus confusion and slow progress.
If I see a Psychiatric provider, will I be put on medications?
The purpose of the intake is not to determine medication needs. Although we understand that medications are sometimes helpful, our focus is to promote health with the least amount of intervention. Only you can decide that you want to look at medication options.
Do I then become the Psychiatric provider's patient?
No, but should you want to see that provider at a later date, even just for more information, then you have established yourself, making it much easier for you to get in. Getting appointments with Psychiatric providers in Whatcom county can be very challenging and they are often not accepting new patients.
Do I absolutely need to do the intake to just have counseling?
If you have had a psych eval in the last 12 months and can bring a copy in for us and you do not need to schedule one with us. If you wish to refuse the intake for any reason, although it is obviously not in your best health interests, then you can fill out declination form. Note that if you do this we cannot guarantee that you will be able to register with that provider at a later date, should you wish to do so.
What is the actual session length?
Therapy sessions are generally 50 minutes in length (a clinical hour), while couples are sometimes 75 minutes. Medical sessions may vary depending on the appointment type.
How many sessions should I book ahead at a time?
Generally you should refer to your provider to get an idea of number and frequency of sessions they recommend, but be aware that booking ahead is helpful in securing a specific time slot that may not be available if you book on a week-to-week basis.
Can I request multiple sessions in a week to guarantee an available slot for myself?
No. Please do not request multiple sessions with the intention to cancel ("place-holding") unwanted sessions as a way to have multiple options for yourself with a busy provider, as frequent booking and canceling of appointments will result in your online booking access being revoked, or even termination of services with that provider.
What If I want to cancel?
We require over 24 hours’ notice of cancellation, unless you are ill or have an emergency. (A work schedule change or childcare change does not constitute an emergency). We reserve this time for you and usually cannot fill it without enough notice, and ask that you respect our clinical time together. The cancelation fee is $75 ($50 for Alex Sauer’s out of network clients, and $35 for Kerry Madrone’s sliding scale clients).
Frequent cancelations may result in services being limited or terminated.
What if I'm sick?
We do not charge for cancellation due to illness. Please call or email your provider (https://kinghealthassoc.com/company-directory) if you must cancel due to illness. Then go online and reschedule if you need to. Do not contact your provider to schedule your appointment for you.
While we are aware that sickness is not within your control and we will try to accommodate any unavoidable client obstacles to treatment, if it becomes apparent that sickness is frequently preventing you from attending your scheduled appointments we reserve the right to deem the relationship non-compliant and terminate services.
What if I want to change my appointment time?
OVER 24 hours before appointment :
- Go to https://KingHealthAssoc.com/schedule and click the service ‘existing client schedule here’ button to manage your schedule change using your username and password. We require that our clients manage rescheduling their appointments, in order that we can focus on our clinical efforts and practice.
WITHIN 24 hours of appointment :
- Call your provider (https://kinghealthassoc.com/company-directory) directly to let them know, or email your provider (email button can be found on their profile webpage)
- Then go online to https://kinghealthassoc.com/portal and schedule another appointment.
- Pay the invoice emailed to you for the fee for your late canceled session. (Unless it was due to an emergency. Please note that childcare changes or work schedule changes are not considered an emergency.)
What if I'm running late?
Call 360-329-3055 or email your provider directly, see https://kinghealthassoc.com/company-directory if you find you are running late to your scheduled appointment. If we do not hear from you within 15 minutes of your appointment time, we may release the time for someone else, or reserve the right to leave the building. The primary reason for this policy is that Insurance does not reimburse for missed sessions, or sessions under 45 minutes. If you are late to your appointment, your session will still have to end at the scheduled time.
Can my parents or friends pay for my sessions?
We cannot accept third party payments from family members or friends, so please plan on paying your copay or full session fee as agreed upon prior to your first appointment at the time of service. You may use cash, check or credit card. (We like to avoid being in the middle of possible family dynamics, and we are committed to protecting your confidentiality!). Many clients have their parent deposit money into their bank account and then client pays us directly.
Can I bring my dog/cat/ferret, even just to the waiting room?
Sorry, no pets are allowed (including emotional support animals). We must be considerate of others who may have severe fear or anxiety around animals, or if they have allergies. We do allow specially trained service animals as per ADA requirements, but note that emotional support animals are not service animals unless they have extensive formal training to perform a specific task that the owner is unable to perform themselves due to a physical disability.
Can I bring my bike, skateboard, or scooter and leave it in the hallway, or bring it into the session room?
Sorry, No. We do not have indoor storage areas, and hallways must remain obstacle-free. Please bring your lock and use the provided bike racks outside.
Can I bring a weapon, such as a gun or a knife, with me to my session?
Not at all. No weapons of any kind are allowed on the premises. We are very strict about enforcing this rule, and in fact your appointment will be ended immediately (you will be charged as a late cancel) and you will be asked to leave if you bring a weapon, concealed or otherwise, on to the premises.
What do I owe? What is a deductible? Why didn't my insurance cover my session?
All Billing and financial questions should be directed to our billing dept. Your provider will not have answers to your financial questions. Email Billing@KingHealthAssoc.com or call (360) 329-2055 ext 802.
Can I request copies of my session notes?
Beyond information about your medical health record available via the online portal, copies of your session notes can be made available to you with your provider's approval, for a fee (as defined by Washington Administrative Code § 246-08-400), of $1 per page for the first 30 pages and 50c per page thereafter, plus a $15 clerical fee. Copies may take up to five business days to produce and will be available for pickup at our offices.
Can I request that my provider write a letter for...?
Any letters, phone calls, assessments or consultation with your legal representation or outside agencies will be billed at $200 an hour. Letters will be provided within 21 days of request and phone calls need to be requested at least 36 hours in advance. Any documents or statements longer than one page will need to be requested 28 days in advance. Payment will be made within 10 days of the service. If your provider is subpoenaed or asked to speak in court for you, and must spend time in court or on call, you will be responsible for the full day of sessions fee to retain your provider in this way.
How should I communicate with office, reception or admin staff?
Our office business hours are Mon-Fri between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM and we have receptionists to answer your calls and return emails (although you will be rescheduling and canceling your own appointments) during the majority of those hours. Although we strive for a quick response within 24 hours, please allow for up to five business days for admin staff.
How should I communicate with my provider?
Please use of secure messaging via the portal if you must contact your provider between sessions, but you may also leave a confidential voicemail message with your provider at their extension. Providers check voicemail on a regular basis, depending on their schedule. If you use regular email we remind you that it is not secure communication and ask that you limit detailed or clinical information as much as possible, and hold those questions for your next appointment. Our providers will not text, as it is not a confidential means of communication. If you do not receive a response from your provider within five business days please contact the office.
We request that you do not use these methods of communication to discuss therapeutic content, but leave processing for your next session. Communication that contains such material will be kept for your next session and will then be read, and responded to, during your session time.
What if I'm having an emergency?
We are not available after-hours for emergencies, and do not provide emergency services. For after-hours emergencies or if you need immediate assistance, call the 24-hr local crisis line at 1-800-584-3578 or call 911. If you are feeling suicidal, immediately call 911. You will also find a list of support resources at the bottom of each page on our website.
Can I call/skype in for my session?
Please note that Face- to-face sessions are highly preferable to phone sessions. However, in the event that you are out of town, sick or need additional support, phone or Skype-like sessions are available, though generally not reimbursable by insurance companies.
Can I friend King Health or my provider on social media?
Due to the importance of your confidentiality and the importance of minimizing dual relationships, We do not knowingly accept friend or contact requests from current or former clients on any social networking site (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). We believe that adding clients as friends or contacts on these sites can compromise your confidentiality and our respective privacy. It may also blur the boundaries of our clinical relationship. King Health Associates has a Facebook page, Instagram account and blog, and by signing this document you are agreeing that by “liking” any of our posts or articles you are compromising your confidentiality with no penalty or liability to our providers or King Health Associates. Some suggestions for a safe way to protect your confidentiality may include for you to: 1) Not like or comment on our posts, or 2) create an anonymous email address and identity that you can like posts through. This way your identity will be protected.
If you have questions about this, please bring them up when you meet with your provider and we can talk more about it.
Do King Health providers share information with each other?
One of the great benefits of receiving treatment from at King Health Associates is that we regularly consult and collaborate on our clients’ well-being together. We will discuss your case and provide the highest standard of care through this collaboration. We are truly your health team, and will work hard to earn your trust and confidence through continuing education, professional consultation and meeting regularly as a group to discuss our client’s progress and struggles while we support and guide each other as colleagues. Your confidentiality will be respected and honored in this process by proving only as needed information to colleagues. Although HIPAA regulations allow providers to communicate within the same practice, we may request an ROI from you as a reminder that information is shared as part of your team care and that you ultimately control access to your personal data.
What should I know about audio or video use in sessions?
Services by electronic means, including but not limited to telephone communication, video communication, the Internet, facsimile machines, and e-mail is considered telemedicine by the State of California. Under the California Telemedicine Act of 1996, telemedicine is broadly defined as the use of information technology to deliver medical services and information from one location to another. If you and your provider chose to use information technology for some or all of your treatment, you need to understand that: (1) You retain the option to withhold or withdraw consent at any time without affecting the right to future care or treatment or risking the loss or withdrawal of any program benefits to which you would otherwise be entitled. (2) All existing confidentiality protections are equally applicable. (3) Your access to all medical information transmitted during a telemedicine consultation is guaranteed, and copies of this information are available for a reasonable fee. (4) Dissemination of any of your identifiable images or information from the telemedicine interaction to researchers or other entities shall not occur without your consent. (5) There are potential risks, consequences, and benefits of telemedicine. Potential benefits include, but are not limited to improved communication capabilities, providing convenient access to up-to-date information, consultations, support, reduced costs, improved quality, change in the conditions of practice, improved access to therapy, better continuity of care, and reduction of lost work time and travel costs.
Effective treatment is often facilitated when the provider gathers within a session or a series of sessions, a multitude of observations, information, and experiences about the client. Providers may make clinical assessments, diagnosis, and interventions based not only on direct verbal or auditory communications, written reports, and third person consultations, but also from direct visual and olfactory observations, information, and experiences. When using information technology in providing services, potential risks include, but are not limited to the provider’s inability to make visual and olfactory observations of clinically or therapeutically potentially relevant issues such as: your physical condition including deformities, apparent height and weight, body type, attractiveness relative to social and cultural norms or standards, gait and motor coordination, posture, work speed, any noteworthy mannerism or gestures, physical or medical conditions including bruises or injuries, basic grooming and hygiene including appropriateness of dress, eye contact (including any changes in the previously listed issues), sex, chronological and apparent age, ethnicity, facial and body language, and congruence of language and facial or bodily expression. Potential consequences thus include the provider not being aware of what he or she would consider important information, that you may not recognize as significant to present verbally the provider.
The use of HIPAA compliant video communication and/or video recording may be used to facilitate a session, to facilitate training, for quality of service improvements, or supervision of our providers, and you expressly give consent for such use. You have a right to withdraw or withhold consent without affecting your right to any service to which you may be entitled.
What happens when I'm done with services?
You may reach a point where services are no longer needed, or are no longer able to continue, but ending relationships can be difficult. Therefore, it is important to have a termination process in order to achieve some closure. The appropriate length of the termination depends on the length and intensity of the treatment. Your provider may terminate treatment after appropriate discussion with you and a termination process if they determine that services are not being effectively used, if they can no longer accept your insurance, or if you are in default on payment. We will not terminate services without first discussing and exploring the reasons and purpose of terminating.
What if I, or my provider, decide we are not a 'good fit'?
If services are terminated by your provider for any reason, or you request another provider, we will provide you with a list of qualified professionals who may be able to continue your treatment with you. You may also choose someone on your own or from another referral source.
If I go away for a while, can I still come back?
If you don't schedule an appointment for more than six consecutive weeks, unless other arrangements have been made in advance, for legal and ethical reasons, we must consider the professional relationship discontinued. You may still return and re-establish a relationship, providing your account is not in arrears, but you may need to wait for availability of a provider and you may need to redo the intake process.