Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) Q: Where is your office located?
A: The office is located in Santa Monica, CA. I provide the address after a brief screening call, if my practice is a good fit for you.
2) Q: What are your hours?
A: I find that most of my patients work. Therefore, I see most of my patients between 7am and 9am or 5pm to 7pm M-F. I also have some availability to have office hours on weekends on a limited and first-come first-serve basis.
3) Q: How long are visits?
A: The first visit is an evaluation, during which a formal diagnosis (or diagnoses) is made. This initial visit usually lasts about 1 hour. Follow up visits are tailored to the needs of my patient and are either 20 minutes for medication management only, or 40 minutes for medication management and psychotherapy.
4) What do you charge?
A: My rate depends on the length of the appointment and the types of services provided. In general, the initial evaluation (60 minutes) is one rate and then follow up appointments (either 20 or 40 minutes) are set at a proportionally lower rate. As each patient is unique and has specific needs, I prefer to discuss my rates during the initial screening call, which is no charge.
5) Q: Do you take my insurance?
A: We do not accept insurance but will supply an invoice that you can submit to PPO Insurance plans for "out of network" coverage.
6) Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: Before you can make an appointment for an initial evaluation in the office, we must schedule a time to have a brief screen call by phone. This phone call helps us both to determine if my practice will be a good fit for your needs. You can call 888-502-2120 or click the "Schedule Phone Call" button above to schedule a time for this brief, no obligation, no charge, screening call.
7) Q: What is the benefit of going to a psychiatrist who does not take my insurance?
A: I think the most important thing is finding someone who you can connect with and who you feel understands your symptoms, concerns and goals. In the age of managed care and medical care that is driven by health insurance companies, often the patient ends up paying more and getting less. By taking the insurance company out of the equation, my patients and I decide on the length and frequency of appointments. This means I am able to spend much more time with you than you may have experienced in the past. I believe this additional time, as well as my skill set and bedside manner, allow me to better understand my patients and help them achieve their goals. Additionally, I am able to accommodate new patients, in some cases the same week that they call. Many insurance driven practices around town have a waiting-list that is months long.
8) Q: Can I start with you and then find someone later who takes my insurance?
A: Yes. Many of my patients utilize the benefit of my short waitlist and ability to provide more comprehensive appointments early in their treatment. It can be an amazing investment to get things on track, get your symptoms stabilized and then, if cost is prohibitive, transfer care to a psychiatrist who takes your insurance and keep things moving in the right direction. In many of these cases, patients have ended up staying with me and extending out the time between appointments, once their doing well and feeling stable. There are many options available.
9) Q: What type of psychotherapy do you provide during the more extended office visits?
A: In most cases, I provide supportive and psychoeducational psychotherapy. This type of therapy generally focuses on the triggers, stressors, thoughts, feelings and behaviors that have negatively impacted my patients' mental health. In many cases, medications alone are not enough to meet the goals my patients have set.
10) Q: Can I still see my therapist?
A: YES! Very often, my patients work with an outside therapist. In many cases I may recommend specific psychotherapies such as CBT, DBT, EMDR or others. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues to help you meet all of your treatment goals. Having worked with many therapists/counselors in the area, if you do not currently have one, we can work together to decide if a specific therapist or type of psychotherapy would be beneficial and helpful for your treatment course.
11) Q: What is an "Addiction Psychiatrist"?
A: The most direct answer is that a Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating mental health and neurological conditions. Additionally, an Addiction Psychiatrist has specialty training enabling them to better diagnosis and treat substance use disorders in patients with or without co-occurring mental illness. My medical training consisted of four years of medical school, followed by four years of Psychiatry Residency and one year of Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship training. The general medical training, including a year of internship (rotating through internal medicine, surgical, emergency medicine and pediatric specialties), helps Addiction Psychiatrists to better understand the biological and medical aspects of mental health and addiction.
12) Q: Are you available 24 hours a day?
A: No, being a small practice I do not have regular overnight or weekend coverage. However, I do provide my cell phone for my patients' use in urgent situations only. In the case of any emergencies, my patients are to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department and then call to notify me of the situation once they are safe.
13) Q: Do you prescribe Suboxone?
A: Yes. I am glad you are thinking about getting help for yourself or someone close to you. I have the DEA waiver needed to prescribe Suboxone. However, being a small outpatient practice, I have to evaluate each specific potential patient in the office first, prior to establishing if it will be safe and effective in each specific case. I also have access to support services for my patients such as sober companions/coaches, therapists, drug counselors and AA/NA meetings.
14) Q: Can you fix me?
A: The first step is making an accurate diagnosis. This often includes laboratory tests, speaking with loved ones (of individuals who know the patient best) and speaking with former physicians and therapists. Then we formulate a treatment plan to meet your goals. Patients need to be motivated and willing to change their thoughts and behaviors in order to change their mood, anxiety level and/or substance use. I will work beside you, and if needed bring in other specialists, to help you reach all of your goals. I hope this gives you hope!
15) Q: What is your philosophy on medication? Does every patient need drugs to get well?
A: My four years of Psychiatry Residency, after medical school, prepared me to utilize a comprehensive biological, psychological and social approach. I target the environmental, genetic and psychological aspects of my patients' life, to better help them to optimize their lives in the critical areas of love, work and play. In short, this has led me to utilize a patient specific and evidence-based approach which may incorporate psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, targeted environmental enhancements and/or other emerging treatment modalities.