frequently asked questions about counseling
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Our Clinical Director will evaluate your needs and assign the most qualified provider to work with you. Our Office Manager, Dayna, will verify your medical benefits with your insurance company and email you the new patient intake forms packet which you may complete remotely prior to your first appointment using Adobe eSign or on our patient e-portal, all free of charge.
Next, we will schedule your appointment based on your preferences and you will be all set to meet with your therapist.
Due to the medical nature of our services and laws governing consent to medical treatment, requests for services must be submitted by the individuals who wish to obtain counseling services from us.
If you wish to help someone to arrange for services, please have them call us at 855.826.8482 or direct them to our website to submit an online request at their convenience.
Please be advised that in accordance with the Pennsylvania law, Title 50 - Mental Health Procedures Act, minors 14 years and older must provide a voluntary consent to treatment. The law also protects the confidentiality of minor's medical treatment.
NOTE: For those parents not presently in marital separation or divorce, either parent may grant consent for treatment. However, in cases of marital separation or divorce, we request the consent of both parents whenever possible. The consent of both parents is required when there is a court order of joint legal custody and the child is 13 years old or younger.
If a specific counselor at our practice has been referred to you by a friend of medical professional, please make sure to indicate your preference while requesting our services. We will be happy to accommodate your request as long as the provider is qualified to treat your condition(s).
We understand schedule changes or unexpected emergencies occur from time to time but please keep in mind that last minute cancellations or no shows take away appointment availability from other clients who may be on a waiting list and could benefit from your missed appointment. Please be mindful and courteous by providing an advanced notice so we can offer your appointment to another client in need.
There may be a $75 late cancellation or no show fee assessed for frequently cancelled/missed appointments without the required notice.
All of our counselors have a minimum of a master-level graduate degree in social work or psychology and are licensed with the Pennsylvania Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists & Professional Counselors to perform a broad spectrum of services related to assessing. diagnosing, treating and preventing mental and behavioral health conditions.
Additionally, to maintain their state license, all of our providers must obtain continuing education units (CEUs) by completing additional coursework and training on an ongoing basis throughout their career.
At the beginning, the intent is for your counselor to learn about the reasons you are seeking counseling and evaluate any presenting symptoms or issues. The therapist will try to gather more information about you, your current living situation, and prior counseling or psychiatric history you may have. Additionally, your counselor will ask questions about your family and their mental health and substance abuse history in order to better understand your circumstances.
Please do not feel discouraged if you encounter many questions during the first session. There are certain minimum requirements with respect to medical documentation that your therapist must follow in order to ensure medical records are adequate.
Occasionally, your counselor may also assign industry-recognized and scientifically-validated diagnostic scales or questionnaires in order to measure the severity of your symptoms. These scales and questionnaires are usually administered over a period of time in order to assess your treatment progress.
Every few sessions you will revisit your treatment plan with you counselor to check in and see how you are doing. These periodic check-ins allow you and your therapist to adjust your treatment goals, if necessary, to ensure you are on the right path to success.
However, we have established partnerships with a vast network of local psychiatrists and other mental health facilities to ensure continuity of mental and behavioral health services to our clients.
If in the course of your treatment with us, your therapist deems it clinically indicated to include psychiatric services or addition of medications to your treatment plan, we will refer you to a local psychiatrist or another clinic.
NOTE: If you require drug and alcohol services, we will refer you to one of our partner agencies we work with. The reason being, such services are more intense in nature and usually require in-patient or partially in-patient setting. Once you have completed the drug and alcohol program, we will be happy to provide you with the support you need as you progress in your journey to recovery.
Studies have shown virtual visits lead to fewer missed appointments and consistency in attending counseling sessions is key to positive outcomes.
Please feel free to check out our dedicated Telehealth page for more information and set up.
Typically, most common conditions such as adjustment disorders, mild anxiety or depression may resolve within 1-3 months. However, more complex or severe conditions may require prolonged support lasting for several months.
We also note that many clients who have experienced significant improvement prefer to occasionally check in with their therapist every few months. Our counselors are here to provide the support you need for as long as you need it.
The intent is for the therapist to gather the necessary history about the client so his or her clinical needs can be properly evaluated and correct diagnosis can be made. This, in turn, will allow the counselor to develop a custom treatment plan to address the needs of the client.
As the client's condition improves over time, the frequency of sessions may be adjusted to biweekly or monthly as deemed clinically appropriate by the provider.
A: If you wish to pay for services out of pocket, the cost of the initial psychosocial assessment (60 min) is $150. Subsequent individual and family sessions are $115 per therapeutic hour (approx. 53-55 min).
If you elect to utilize your health insurance to cover the cost of services rendered to you, please be advised that in compliance with the contractual agreements with your insurance carrier we are required to collect any deductible, copay or coinsurance amounts due, as imposed by your insurance plan, at the beginning of each visit. Failure to collect such amounts due from patients constitutes a breach of contract. Clients or their responsible parties (guarantors) have the ultimate responsibility for payment if the insurance carrier declines reimbursement.
Payments can be made by cash, check or credit card. Any NSF (non-sufficient funds) checks will be assessed a $30 processing fee.
PAST DUE ACCOUNTS AND DEBT RECOVERYIf your account becomes past due, we reserve the right to take any necessary steps, including engaging a collection agency, attorney and/or court for the purpose of recovering any unpaid balances. If we have to refer your account to a collection agency or attorney and/or have to litigate in court, you will be fully responsible for the costs of collection, litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and court costs, in addition to any amount owed on your account.
If you experience a period of financial difficulty and are unable to pay, please contact our office to arrange a payment plan to keep your account in good standing.
As part of the new client registration, our staff will be happy to assist with the verification of your health benefits by contacting your insurance carrier (via telephone, fax or web portal) to estimate what your insurance company may pay and any deductible, copay or coinsurance amount due at the time of your visit.
As a courtesy, VITA Counseling Partners will submit on your behalf medical claims to your insurance carrier. Please be advised that your insurance company, not our practice, processes the claims in accordance with your plan provisions. Any remaining balance of your claim will be your responsibility whether or not your insurance company pays the claim. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your insurance carrier to inquire about your coverage in order to be familiar with and informed about your plan provisions.
Please contact our office if you wish to apply for a reduced rate. A proof of monthly income is required.
NOTE: For those who are students 26 years old or younger and do not have active medical coverage or are subject to a high cost of copays or coinsurance, the BoTkach Foundation may provide financial support to ensure you have access to the needed mental and behavioral health services.
A: Absolutely! Your privacy is our priority. All services, including your medical records, are considered Protected Health Information and as such are protected by strict federal, state and local laws. We always obtain client's consent before we communicate with or release any part of the PHI to third parties. We also keep a detailed log of any PHI released for each client.
Please note, there is a state-regulated fee of $30.08 for the preparation and transfer of medical records. The fee must be paid prior to us retrieving your medical records. You can make a payment using our Online Payment Portal.
A: If you choose to use your medical health benefits to pay for services, we will submit medical claims on your behalf as a courtesy. In order for your insurer to process the claims, the basic demographic information is included on the claim form along with the date of service and diagnosis. No other information is shared with your insurance company. We also require you sign a PHI Authorization Release Form for your insurance company as part of the intake process.