+ Appointments, Cancellation & Late Policy
Please bring the following items to your initial appointment:
- Your completed New Patient Paperwork. It is very important that is is completed prior to your appointment. You will not have sufficient time to complete it during you appointment, any time required for completion will be deducted from your appointment time.
- Your insurance card.
- A government-issued photo ID.
- Cash, check, or credit card to pay for any co-payments or deductibles.
- A list of your current medications and dosages (this includes non-psychiatric medications, over-the-counter medications, and all vitamins or supplements).
- A copy of your previous mental health records, including neuropsychological evaluations and evaluations for academic accommodations.
- If you have every had any treatment for your psychiatric condition, bring a list of every medication and product you have ever used and the dates used.
All patients should arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment start time. This will allow adequate time to complete the check-in and payment process. Remember, your appointment will end at its scheduled time regardless of any time lost due to late arrivals or a delay at check-in.
We understand that things come up that may delay your arrival, however we must adhere to a strict Late Arrival policy. Why? Late arrivals impede our ability to provide you with the best quality care and often make our schedules run behind for the remainder of the day.
If you arrive late to your appointment the time of your session will be reduced accordingly. You will only be seen for the remainder of the time left in your reserved appointment slot.
If you arrive 10 or more minutes late you will be offered the option to wait for another appointment time on the same day (if one is available) or to reschedule the appointment. Those who choose to wait should keep in mind that the wait time may be considerable and unpredictable as priority is given to patients who arrive on time.
Regardless of what your situation may be, if you arrive late and choose to wait, you must wait until there is an opening. Repeated late arrivals will be charged a Late Arrival fee of $25 if they choose not to wait.
Please remember that scheduling an appointment involves reservation of your provider’s time specifically for you. If you fail to cancel or change an appointment 24 hours in advance, we cannot bill for that time and we are unable to offer that time to another patient.
Appointments must be cancelled or rescheduled at least 24 hours in advance in order to avoid a Late Cancellation charge. This fee will also apply if you call to reschedule an appointment to another time slot on the same day.
Patients who provide late cancellation or fail to show up for 5 or more appointments at any time during the course of treatment will be discharged from the practice. This is because it is difficult to provide quality care to patients who consistently miss and/or cancel their appointments.
Yes. Text message, e-mail, and telephone appointment reminders are a courtesy service only. You are responsible for your appointment whether or not your reminder was received.
Follow-up appointments ensure the safety of patients who are continuing on medication maintenance therapy. The frequency of these appointments depends on your clinical condition and the medications utilized.
You may be discharged from the practice if you fail to follow up for greater than 6 months after your last office visit, or 4 months after your recommended follow-up time frame.
Patients with an extended absence from care (greater than 60 days beyond the recommended follow-u
+ Billing, Fees & Payment
Specialty Clinic of Austin is currently in-network with the following insurance carriers: Seton, SIMS, ComPsych, Magellan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield (with the exception of out-of-state HMOs, Blue Advantage, or Value Options/Beacon Health), Aetna (with the exception of some HMO plans and carve-out plans such as Aetna Trinity Health), and United (with the exception of Value Options and River Valley)
We do not accept any Medicaid or Medicare plans including Sendero, CHIP or Texas STAR.
Payment of copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, or self-pay rates is due in full at the time of service. If you are unable to pay for your appointment at the time of service, you may qualify to make a payment arrangement. If you cannot or will not make a payment arrangement, we will have no choice but to reschedule your appointment (except in the rare case of psychiatric emergencies).
Please remember that account balances will not be allowed to accrue. You will not be eligible to check-in for your next appointment until outstanding balances are paid in full or a payment plan has been arranged.
Unfortunately, your insurance carrier is only required to provide us with a “quote of benefits” prior to your appointment. This is essentially an estimate of your costs and is subject to change until you have received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your carrier.
Your health insurance contract is between you and your insurance carrier. We cannot guarantee that all services or therapies we recommend are covered by your insurance company. It is your responsibility to understand your insurance benefits. Any questions or complaints regarding coverage should be directed to your carrier.
It is your responsibility to notify our billing office if your insurance coverage changes. Please call to inform our billing office of these changes in advance of your appointment, or arrive 20 minutes prior to your appointment to speak with a billing representative in person. Your appointment may be rescheduled if the insurance verification process delays your appointment start time.
+ Prescriptions & Refills
Yes, but we ask you to remember that prior authorizations are a courtesy service. We make every effort to secure coverage for prescribed medications but it is ultimately your responsibility to contact your insurance company to determine which medications are covered or to request appeals for coverage decisions.
Refills may be requested by leaving a voice message or by email to your appropriate clinic.
Refills must be requested
at least 3 business days prior to running out of medication.
Clinic: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Southwest Medical Village Clinic: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Refill requests are not reviewed by your provider until the end of the
business day so please plan accordingly. Under no circumstances will medications be refilled after hours, on weekends, or on holidays.
A $25.00 fee is assessed for a rewrite of a controlled substance should you allow the prescription to expire.
Medications will only be refilled for current patients who maintain their regularly scheduled appointments. Your request will be denied if you have not been seen within the follow-up time frame recommended by your provider. If you are overdue for follow up and in need of a refill please call to schedule an appointment; at that time your clinician may authorize a temporary refill. Temporary refills will not be granted for controlled substances.
+ Contacting the Clinic
Our goal is to answer all incoming phone calls, however at times heavy call volume may prevent us from answering your call in person. If you reach a recording, please leave a message that includes your name, date of birth, a brief description of the nature of the issue, and information on how to be contacted. Allow up to 24 business hours for a return call.
Basic questions regarding payment, insurance, and scheduling will be handled by our clinic staff. Most medical questions will be addressed by clinic staff after collaboration with your provider. You will be asked to schedule an appointment to discuss any medication concern or symptom worsening as medication changes will not be made over the phone.
If it becomes necessary to address your concern directly with your provider please be aware that these calls are limited to 5 minutes. Any calls greater than 5 minutes are subject to fees ($25 for each 5 minute increment following the first 5 minutes). This includes telephone consultations with family members including guardians of minors.
You may choose to communicate with the office staff or with your provider via email at:
Be aware that email is not a secure form of communication and using it may risk the security of your protected health information. Your email communication will become part of your medical record. Email communication should never be used to communicate confidential information or urgent or emergency issues.
In the event of an urgent psychiatric matter outside of regular clinic hours you may contact the on-call clinician by calling the office and following the appropriate prompts on our telephone greeting. You will be connected with the voicemail box of the on-call clinician. Leave a brief message with your name, return phone number, and the nature of the emergency. You will receive a return telephone call promptly. If the matter is not urgent or emergent you may not receive a return call from the on-call provider.
Yes. The emergency service should be utilized only for urgent matters that cannot wait until the next business day (e.g., suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming others, serious medication reactions, or unusual behavior that may lead to physical harm). Non-urgent issues (e.g., medication refills, scheduling, billing issues) may be addressed via e-mail or by leaving a voicemail message for the clinic staff.
Calls placed for non-emergency issues will result in being charged a $25 fee for after-hours care.
Additionally, if the matter is not urgent or emergent you may not receive a return call from the on-call provider.
In the event of a life-threatening emergency please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. Do not delay care by waiting for a response from our on-call provider.
+ Other Services
If you have forms that require your clinician’s signature, please fill out all of the required information and sign the form before submitting it to the front desk staff. Do not submit forms directly to your provider.
Fees will be assessed for completion of forms and letters. These fees are based on complexity and range from $25-$75. The exception is basic, one-page letters requesting 504 accommodations which will be assessed a $10 fee. These charges will be your responsibility and will be charged to your account.
We require 5-7 business days for completion of forms and letters. Please plan accordingly by submitting these forms at least 7 business days prior to the desired submission date. Under no circumstances will we complete forms or letters for pickup on the same day.
SCOA clinicians are unable to provide forensic services. Because legal testimony can often be damaging to the relationship between a patient and his or her clinician, we require our patients to employ independent forensic psychiatric services should this type of evaluation or testimony be required. We do not conduct custody evaluations or parental assessments for use in determining custody or visitation, CPS evaluations, or disability or medical leave evaluations. We encourage you to locate a forensic professional to assist you with these services.
It is often unforeseen, but legal matters requiring testimony of a mental health professional can and do arise. If for any reason any of our clinicians is deposed or subpoenaed on your behalf and required to testify or appear in court, you will be responsible for our court fees which are $4500 per day and will not be prorated (because attending court necessitates blocking the clinician’s schedule for the entire day). This fee must be paid upfront and in full.
+ Controlled Substances & Drug Screens
Yes. Controlled medications (i.e., benzodiazepines, stimulants, hypnotic sleep aids) have a high potential for misuse and are, therefore, closely regulated by local, state, and federal governments. Our clinicians must observe strict rules in order to minimize the risks of abuse and misuse. All patients at Specialty Clinic of Austin (SCOA) must agree to follow the policies outlined in our Controlled Substances Agreement as a condition of the provision of controlled substance medications.
Absolutely no premature refills
will be granted regardless of the circumstances (i.e., stolen, misplaced, mislaid, exceeding prescribed dosages, losing a handwritten prescription prior to filling, etc.). You must wait until the next eligible fill date to receive another prescription.
You may be discharged from the clinic if you request an early refill secondary to lost, damaged, or stolen prescriptions twice within one year.
Specialty Clinic of Austin follows state and federal recommendations regarding the use of urine toxicology screens to monitor controlled substances use. We order these screens prior to prescribing a controlled substance and randomly during the course of treatment. Refusal to consent to toxicology screens, the presence of nonprescribed or illicit substances in my sample, or the absence of prescribed medications in my sample will result in discontinuation of controlled substances and may result in termination of care.
Physician Assistants are licensed and board-certified health care providers who practice medicine in partnership with physicians. They are not medical assistants, nor are they studying to become physicians. PAs practice in every state, specialty, and setting to deliver high quality health care to patients like you. PAs are held to the same standard of care that is expected of physicians. They also help make health care more accessible by extending the reach of physicians, allowing you to feel confident that you and your family are getting the care you deserve when you deserve it. Most importantly, PAs are trusted by doctors and employers to care for the most important person in their practice: you.
Our PAs bring compassion, dedication, and extraordinary clinical acumen to our patients. They are trained to identify acute and chronic mental health issues, perform mental status exams, order and interpret lab tests, and create treatment plans in collaboration with a physician. They have extensive knowledge of pharmacology which they draw upon to prescribe medications. They also provide patient education, evaluate for physiological factors contributing to psychiatric symptoms, provide suicide and homicide risk assessment, utilize genetic testing to determine medication response, and provide supportive psychotherapy during sessions. Our PAs are trained and expected to seek help and supervision when the acuity or severity exceeds their training or comfort level. The doctor is available to consult with the PA when needed and is aware of and informed about the care our patients are receiving.
Yes! PAs are held to the same standard of care that is expected from physicians. They are also licensed by the same medical board that confers physician licenses. PAs earn the PA-C credential by graduating from an accredited post-grad-level PA program. Their education is based on the medical model and includes classroom studies and clinical rotations, similar to physician education. They complete rotations in internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and geriatric medicine. Following graduation, PAs pass a rigorous national certification exam that tests them on everything from taking a patient history to diagnosing and treating complex medical issues; this exam covers all organ systems and infectious disease. But rest assured that the learning continues! The career of a PA is one of continuous education. In order to maintain certification, they’re required, like physicians, to earn Continued Medical Education credits on an annual basis and pass a rigorous recertification exam every 6 to 10 years. It is a career that requires continual medical education and ongoing updates to new drugs and therapies, procedures, and techniques.
Specialty Clinic of Austin will not initiate treatment for minors of divorced parents until we have been provided with a copy of a legal divorce decree or custody agreement. It is not the responsibility of Specialty Clinic of Austin or any of its affiliates to ensure that parents and legal guardians adhere to the terms of a legally binding divorce decree.
Any parents or legal guardians who are listed in the decree as having medical and/or psychiatric decision-making authority must sign a treatment consent form prior to initiating a treatment plan.
We expect divorced parents to communicate with each other about services rendered and to determine who will schedule appointments, who will bring the child to treatment, who will administer medication, etc. The clinician and the child will not be messengers between parents.
Failure of one or more of a minor patient’s medical decision makers to agree to the recommended treatment plan will result in the minor patient being discharged from the clinic.
Follow-up visits are important because they provide the opportunity for you and your clinician to review your treatment progress, side effects, lab results, and progress toward your treatment goals. Once treatment is initiated you will be expected to attend regular follow-up visits. Your clinician will want to follow you closely until your condition is considered clinically stable; this often means more frequent follow up visits initially, but over time you may be eligible for an extended duration of time between appointments (not to exceed 3 months).
In true psychiatric medical model, our primary role is the pharmacologic management of psychiatric conditions. We are true believers that many psychiatric conditions are best managed through a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. While we may provide supportive psychotherapy, this therapy is brief in nature and is meant to complement, rather than replace, the valuable role of a CBT-trained psychotherapist. We will provide referrals to excellent professionals in the Austin area and will collaborate with them to improve the quality of your care.
The concept of Expert Care was conceived by the founders of Specialty Clinic to describe our model of taking the whole patient into account — biological predispositions and conditions, problematic behaviors, innate psychological traits, and specific life circumstances and social stressors — in order to understand each person’s unique experience. This allows us to tailor our treatment plans to meet the needs and goals of each unique individual. The result is quality, individualized care. We understand there are no “one size fits all” treatment plans!
Our primary role at Specialty Clinic is the pharmacologic treatment of psychiatric conditions. This is sometimes described as a “medical model” approach. This refers to the model by which we select the most appropriate medications for each patient’s unique condition and determine when and how those medications should be adjusted. The medical model approach to behavioral health care begins with a comprehensive evaluation and, if indicated, blood work to rule out medical causes that may be contributing to your symptoms. We may also obtain genetic analysis of liver enzyme variability to help guide medication selection. This information, in combination with an assessment of the patient’s biopsychosocial influences (e.g, biological predispositions, medical conditions, problematic behaviors, and social stressors), is used to formulate an individual treatment plan that fits the needs and goals of each unique patient.
We encourage our patients to practice good self-care by engaging in regular physical activity, restorative sleep, proper nutrition, consistent socialization, and stress reduction. Why? These lifestyle interventions are as important to wellness as is medication. While we support medication therapy when it is indicated, we never believe that it is a substitute for self-care.