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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Patient Related Questions, Answered for You

WHAT IS A PA?

While an excellent, in-depth explanation can be found here, in essence, PAs are trained at medical schools, in the medical model like physicians, except on a master's time frame instead of a doctorate.  PAs are fully trained & licensed to evaluate patients, diagnose, treat, prescribe, and educate, in much the same manner as a doctor or nurse practitioner.  Our PAs' functional roles are virtually identical to that of a psychiatrist, and they practice under the legal collaboration/supervision of one, as all psychiatric PAs must.

DO YOU PROVIDE COUNSELING/THERAPY?

We are trained and qualified to perform basic supportive counseling and utilize cognitive behavioral therapy modalities. However, if you are looking specifically and exclusively for a counselor, therapist, or psychologist to perform talk therapy *only* (who cannot prescribe), we are more than happy to refer you to several excellent therapists/counselors/psychologists in your area. Studies have shown that patients who combine psychiatric (what we perform) and psychologic (what a therapist, counselor or psychologist performs) care have significantly better treatment outcomes.

*PLEASE SEE OUR LOCAL THERAPIST LIST, LINKED ON OUR "RESOURCES FOR ALL" PAGE!*

HOW CAN I BECOME A PATIENT

If you'd like to become a patient, you will need to:

  • Thoroughly read, sign, and complete our new patient paperwork and Consent to Treatment, found on our "For New Patients" page.

  • Please note: There are certain medication regimens that will not be compatible with our policies, so we will review this and contact you to schedule, once we ensure that we are an appropriate fit for your needs.

  • As you can imagine, all psychiatric offices are doing their best to navigate tremendously high patient volumes.  We are human, too.  Still, we are doing our absolute best to take care of *all* our patients in a timely, compassionate, yet thorough and exacting manner. 

  • If you have Medicare insurance, per their policies, Medicare will unfortunately not allow you to submit your superbills for reimbursement when seeing any out-of-network providers, healthcare-wide.

  • Although we are not in network with any insurances as of 2024, we do have highly competitive rates of $360 for 60-90 minute, new patient psychiatric evaluations, and $120 for 30-minute, thorough psychiatric follow-ups.

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY CARE?

Since 2018, we have offered the same, highly competitive, private pay rates for uninsured or out-of-network patients:

  • $360 for comprehensive, 60-90 minute, new patient psychiatric consultation,

  • $120 for 30-minute psychiatric follow-up visits.

As of 2024, we are no longer in network with any insurance companies and cannot accept insurance coverage for visits. However:​

  • For patients who are stable and therapeutic on consistent treatment regimens that do not involve any controlled substances, our policy requires patients only be seen every six (6) months to maintain care.

  • Translation: patients who are doing well without need for changes or closer follow-up, care will only cost an existing patient $240/year.

  • Patients can use all the same forms of payment we have always accepted, including:

    • Credit card​

    • Debit card

    • HSA/FSA

    • Cash

    • Check (with valid driver's license)

If you have OUT-OF-NETWORK benefits through your insurance, ​we are happy to enable you seeking reimbursement from your insurance company by:

  • Providing you the superbill for your visit, which is a billing document that has all the information an insurance company would need to verify and reimburse your care.

  • Patients can submit these superbills to their insurance company for reimbursement (though we cannot guarantee you will obtain reimbursement).

  • If you do not want to submit the superbill yourself, there are services that will do so for you! Companies such as Reimbursify.com and FloatFI.com will gather your information, submit the superbill for you, and obtain reimbursement, all for a nominal fee or percentage. Please see their websites for more information.

  • We are invested in retaining our beloved patients and want to help make this as feasible for you as possible, so should you learn of additional claim submission services, please let us know, so we can add them to this website and our resource page, for all to benefit!

  • ***We are continuing to explore other options, such as CareCredit, payment installment options through various payment platforms, etc., so please stay tuned!***

DO YOU HAVE PRESCRIBING POLICIES I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?

You should know that we obey Arizona law, meaning we cannot and do not prescribe medications for patients who are not yet legal patients of record, so we cannot prescribe prior to your initial evaluation. 

 

We also have strict policies regarding controlled, illicit, or illegal substances, as follows:

  • We perform random, oral or urine drug testing on all patients being prescribed or considered for controlled substances.  We will also perform random drug testing should a patient's status be concerning for risk of a substance use disorder and appear to clinically compromise the patient's safety, or our safety as prescribing providers.

  • Under NO circumstances will we prescribe controlled substances if you are positive at any time for marijuana or certain levels of alcohol, opioids, or other controlled substances, even if these substances are prescribed or recreationally legal.  Something being legal or "natural" does NOT make it safe or healthy.  PATIENT SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY!

  • We will NOT prescribe stimulants at the first visit, and unless/until we have confirmed that they are medically necessary.  If we suspect that a legitimate AD/HD may be at play, we refer to neuropsychological testing to thoroughly and properly quantify frontal executive functioning prior to considering anything stimulant-based or controlled. All humans have attention deficits, but not all have primary AD/HD.

  • Under NO circumstances will we prescribe more than 30 benzodiazepines in a month.  This includes medications such as Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and any other similar medication.  Our goal is not to create vicious, addictive cycles; our goal is to TREAT THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM so that you no longer need daily rescue medications with dependence potential.

 

Our detailed policy is outlined in your new patient paperwork, as well as posted in our lobby, available to all patients at any time.

DO I HAVE TO TAKE MEDICATION?

Not always. Every decision for every patient is made on a case-by-case basis.

 

First, we spend a minimum of a full hour in your initial evaluation, where the most appropriate diagnoses are discussed, as are treatment options.  We often perform extensive blood work to rule out any general medical condition that could be causing/worsening your symptoms. 

 

We are also very holistic in our approach.  Don't be surprised if you are "prescribed" a better sleep hygiene regimen, exercise recommendations, nutritional modifications, books and websites to research, referral to a counselor, or even nutraceutical supplements that are available over-the-counter or via prescription, but are not necessarily "medication."

 

There are some diagnoses that require pharmacologic treatment, due to the greater risk of neglecting to treat a legitimate medical condition.  However, if this applies to you, all potential options will be thoroughly and carefully discussed with you, as your treatment plan is an open dialogue; one for you to discuss, understand, and agree with.

Above all, we practice conservative, methodical, evidence-based, golden rule medicine.  We will make only one change at a time, so that whether something goes right *or* wrong, we know why.  We will also "start low and go slow," since we can always optimize a dose, but we can never erase a negative experience.  Once you're a patient, you are Pinnacle family, and we treat you as such.  We always recommend what we would want for ourselves or our loved ones, if the roles were reversed.

HOW CAN I GET MY QUESTION ANSWERED IF IT'S NOT LISTED HERE?

Please give us a call at 623.321.2221, or an email at FrontDesk@PinnaclePsych.com! We are more than happy to help answer any questions you may have, as you ensure that we are a good fit for your personality and your goals.  We wholeheartedly believe, "Finding the right provider is just like dating: you don't have to marry the first one you meet!" Whether it's a good therapist, PCP, or psychiatric provider, the "right fit" is of the utmost importance.  The more comfort and confidence you have in your providers, the better your treatment outcome will be!
Thanks for asking!

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