Engel's Biopsychosocial Model of Health
Many of the procedures that you’ll undertake for health related reasons are fairly straightforward. However, as your care gets more complex and aftercare is lengthy, it might be a good idea to work with a Psychologist to discover ways to increase your chances for good medical and surgical outcomes. At its core, that’s the whole purpose of a health psych assessment… to better understand psychological, social, and biological factors that might be getting in the way of good medical outcomes and outline a plan for folks to achieve their health-related goals. This type of assessment is more than just talking about mental or emotional concerns... it’s about looking at your attitudes and beliefs about your health, talking about adherence and other health behaviors, discussing the support you have (or lack) for making and sustaining health changes, examining your expectations of life after the procedure, and so much more. Some medical providers or clinics, agencies, or insurance providers actually require the completion of a psychological evaluation as part of the overall work-up for these procedures.
As you can imagine, these special, health-focused psychological evaluations have many parts. There is the “normal” mental health interview, in which the evaluator learns more about you as a person, your background, your mental health history, and current life. Additionally, the evaluator will ask questions relevant to the health issue for which you are seeking the procedure and questions about the procedure that you’re interested in. The evaluator will likely also ask you to complete different tests on your own to learn more about your attitudes, behaviors, emotions, or cognitive skills. The extent of that testing, however, will depend on your needs. The evaluator may also review copies of your health information, to put together with the information that they gather about you in their assessment. After interview, testing, review of your chart information, and maybe even talking to important loved ones that will be involved in your care, the evaluator then prepares a thorough evaluative report. This report will contain the results of your interview(s) and tests, as well as any diagnoses and recommendations for improving your medical outcomes. Finally, the evaluator will then meet with you to go over the report and recommendations. The evaluator will also discuss the results of the evaluation with the medical provider(s) that referred you to them for testing. In some cases, the evaluator can even help you work on the recommendations and goals outlined in their evaluation, and provide your referring provider with an update of your progress.
Dr. Andrews can perform health-related psychological assessments for many different procedures including:
• solid organ or bone marrow transplant;
• bariatric (weight loss) surgery;
• elective (cosmetic) plastic surgery;
• gender-affirming hormone replacement therapies and/or sex reassignment surgery;
• gamete (egg) donors and donation recipients.
If you have another type of health-related assessment need in mind, contact me so we can discuss your needs. Given the necessity of virtual services due to COVID, I may provide certain psychological assessments via telehealth (i.e., through video-conferencing technology). However, some surgical, procedural, or medically-related assessments I still prefer to do in person due to the need for observations. I'm happy to discuss this further during a brief phone consultation.
The Payment: Assessment Rates & Insurance Considerations
The rate for psychological testing and evaluation services is $175 per hour, including time spent in: (1) interviewing; (2) obtaining and reviewing medical records; (3) administering, scoring, and interpreting psychological or cognitive tests; (4) report-writing; and (5) presenting feedback to you and your referring provider(s). You must pay a $50 deposit to reserve your assessment time, which will be applied toward your full balance if you keep your assessment appointment. Your deposit will be released back to you if you cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment. You will pay at least half (50%) of your evaluation costs at your initial evaluation session. You must submit payment in full at the time of your feedback session. Reports will not be released to you or your referring provider without payment in full.
Keep in mind that, depending on your coverage, your insurance provider may cover a portion (or all!) of your psychological assessment fees, if the evaluation is deemed medically necessary. We recommend that you speak with your insurance provider to verify your benefits and coverage before scheduling. You may need a direct referral for testing from your medical provider before your insurance will cover testing expenses. We may also need to pursue pre-authorization from your insurance company before we can schedule and complete your assessment. Due diligence before the assessment may prevent surprise bills afterward. No one (least of all, us) likes an unexpected bill, so make sure you understand the full extent of your coverage upfront.