Frequently Asked Questions

New Patient Questions

Are you accepting new patients?

Yes, we are accepting new patients.

If my insurance is not accepted/I don’t want to use my insurance to pay, can I be a self-pay patient?

We are not accepting new patients with Molina, Community Health, Coordinated Care, Kaiser, TriWest and Tricare, Medicaid, or Medicare except for TMS treatment. We are, however, still contracted with these insurance companies. This creates a difficult situation for our practice that additionally prevents us from being able to accept new patients with these insurances as self-pay patients, because we are still contractually obligated to bill to these companies if a patient is insured with them. 

Self-pay is an option offered only to patients who are not eligible for coverage with one of these insurance companies. We can only accept existing and new patients as self-pay clients if Psychiatry Northwest is not contracted with their insurance company, or if they are uninsured.

How do I schedule a new patient appointment?

The first step for establishing care at Psychiatry Northwest is to provide us with your email address so we can send, and you can reply to, our “New Patient Inquiry” email that will explain our new patient process and talk about the kinds of information and documents to gather before proceeding.

Why wasn’t I accepted as a new patient?

Our providers perform a comprehensive evaluation of our practice’s ability to provide mental health care to you when they review your intake information. We are a small, outpatient psychiatric practice with limited resources, and when providers decline to accept you as a new patient it is often because they feel you would benefit from a higher level of care. These decisions are final, and we provide patients with a list of other psychiatric practices to assist you in finding a provider/practice that may be able to accept you as a new patient.

How soon can I get an appointment?

Our goal is to schedule all new patients as soon as possible. Once we receive your information, we will complete a verification of benefits with your insurance plan(s), this can take up to 72 hours. Once this has been completed, we will forward your information to our providers for consideration, this may take 5-10 business days. If you are accepted, we will schedule you for the first available appointment which may be as long as two months away. When we have cancellations, we call patients to see if they are available to come in sooner.

I am already on medications that work for me from another provider, and I just need a refill.

Our providers may agree with your previous treatment plan and if not, they will collaborate with you by discussing other options. If you feel you have been stable on your medication for some time and only require a doctor to provide refills, it may be that refills through a primary care physician would be more efficient and less costly for you.

When is payment due for my appointment?

Payment is due at the time of service. Psychiatry Northwest requires that you store a valid active payment card on file so that we can charge you the day before or on the day of your appointment to be sure that there are no issues with your method of payment. Failure to provide payment information is a valid reason for appointment cancellation.

How can I prepare for my appointment?

Psychiatry Northwest expects all patients to arrive for appointments 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time with your provider. If you arrive late for your check in time, we reserve the right to cancel and reschedule your appointment, due to our providers having full schedules.

Current Patient Questions

How do I cancel or reschedule an appointment?

Before canceling or rescheduling an appointment, please consider that all patients must be seen every 90 days to maintain access to medication refills. That is why we ask patients to prioritize making their appointments to prevent interruptions to your care or medications. To cancel or reschedule an appointment, contact our office by phone (206-402-3375) or by email (info@psychiatrynorthwest.com). We require 48 hours advance notice of your scheduled appointment, or we will charge you a late cancellation fee of $50 for medication management or $175 for psychotherapy. Please contact us as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment, we are best able to reschedule patients that contact us well in advance of their need to be seen. If you are out of medication at the time of your cancellation/reschedule request, we will request medication refills to bridge your care until you can be seen next, this is at the discretion of your provider. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and we will inform you of your provider’s decision as they are able to respond within 72 business hours.

I need some paperwork filled out (FMLA, disability forms, court-ordered evaluation, letter for a service animal, etc.) will you do that?

Completing requested paperwork is at the discretion of your provider, they will evaluate this on a case-by-case basis. You must be an active established patient with a provider before they will review paperwork to complete. There should be no expectation that paperwork is completed without thorough evaluation and intense scrutiny.

How do I request medical records?

To have your records sent to another provider we will need you to complete and return a release of information “ROI” form. The ROI is a document that gives the patient the opportunity to decide what information you want released from your medical file, who you want it delivered to, how long that information can be accessed, and under what guidelines it is to be released. Provide us with your personal email or ask for the ROI form when you visit our office. We can answer any questions you have about filling out the ROI out and will forward your signed copy to our records department for processing and storage. Psychiatry Northwest does not charge patients to have records transferred to other doctor’s offices, but there is a fee per page to have records released for your personal use. Our records department will provide us with a quote of the cost to have your records released to you if you make this request, and we will ask you to approve that expense prior to charging you and releasing your records to you in-person or by mail only.

Why did you cancel my appointment?

If we cannot collect for your appointment, we will contact you by phone and email to try and secure payment before your appointment. If we do not hear back from you prior to your appointment, we will cancel your appointment.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time, referred to as your arrival time. This allows time to resolve payment and administrative matters leaving your appointment time for you and your provider for your care.

Late Arrival Policy

If you are late checking in for your appointment and we need to reschedule your session, we can request medication refills to bridge your active prescriptions if needed until your next scheduled appointment, This is done at the discretion of your provider. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and we will inform you of your provider’s decision within 72 business hours.

My insurance is changing. What do I need to do?

Call or email us immediately at info@psychiatrynorthwest.com upon learning that your insurance will be changing. Please call your Human Resources department and/or your new insurance company for your new group number and member identification number and ask when you will receive the card with this information. We request this to make sure that patients do not receive services not covered by their insurance, which can result in large patient balances. You may be asked to contact your old and new insurance to perform a “Coordination of Benefits.” Only you the patient can make this request from their insurance and our office must wait until it is complete until we can proceed with the next steps in your care. As Psychiatry Northwest verifies your new insurance, we may learn that you are no longer in-network with our practice. You may become eligible to self-pay, we may need to request to transfer you to a different provider in our office, or we may need to refer you to a different psychiatry practice.

When are patient balances on my account due?

Patient balances that appear are due prior to your appointment, and urgently if greater than $100. We will call and email you about balances due, and if we do not get a response from you after three attempts to reach you, we reserve the right to cancel your appointment until payment is received.

How do I provide updated payment card information when I am notified that my card is declined, or needs to be updated in your system?

We commonly reach out to patients by phone and email requesting updated payment card information when our charges are declined. Often our scheduling software removes cards on file automatically to protect your financial information. Psychiatry Northwest asks that you call us to provide updated card information. Only provide your payment card information when speaking directly to one of our staff. Do not leave your card information by voicemail or send it to us by email as these methods are not safe ways to communicate this information.

Helpful Information For All Patients

What is a coordination of benefits?

Coordination of benefits, or COB, applies if you have more than one insurance plan OR have recently changed insurance carriers. When you have more than one insurance plan (primary and secondary) both health insurance companies need to coordinate benefits with each other to help you receive the full benefit of each plan. If you have recently changed insurance both carriers will again need to work together to help you receive the full benefit of the active plan. Your participation is required to ensure that your claims for services can be processed accurately. If you have a recent change in your insurance plans you must call both insurance companies and provide the effective dates of your previous and your current policy. If you have multiple insurance policies active at the same time, then call your primary and secondary insurance carriers and request to update your coordination of benefits. If you are unsure which insurance is Primary and which is Secondary this is a great conversation to have with your insurance company(s) before a claim gets stuck in the processing stage. Failure to update your Coordination of Benefits when you change insurance plans may cause you to owe a large balance.

What is a copay?

A copay is a set amount that you pay for each office visit. If you have a copay-based insurance plan for outpatient mental health services, your deductible is waived or does not apply for this benefit. We will collect the copay from your visit at the time of service.

What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is a portion of the medical cost you pay after your deductible has been met. Coinsurance means that you and your insurance carrier each pay a share of eligible costs that add up to 100%. For example, if your coinsurance is 20%, you pay 20% of the cost of your medical bills and your health insurance plan will pay the remaining 80%. The higher your coinsurance percentage, the higher your share of the cost is for covered services. We collect the estimated Co-Insurance amount from your visit at the time of service.

What is an out-of-pocket maximum?

Health insurance plans are not designed to pay for every medical expense you will have during the year. The difference between what they pay toward your health care costs and the total amount owed for your health care costs is what you must pay, known as your out-of-pocket expense. The out-of-pocket maximum is the most you will pay for covered medical expenses in an insurance plan year. Not all insurance plans are the same, depending on the specifics of your insurance policy, this amount may include money you spend on deductibles, copays, and coinsurance (for some insurance plans, these patient portions do not count towards your out-of-pocket maximum). Once you reach your annual out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance will pay your covered medical and prescription costs in full for the rest of the plan year.

What is a Verification of Benefits?

After you have submitted your insurance information to our office, one of our insurance specialists will perform a “Verification of Benefits” based on the insurance information you have provided to us. We will contact the insurance carrier(s) and get a quote for your outpatient mental health benefits at our practice. A quote of benefits is not a guarantee of payment from your insurance. This verification of benefits will be completed as a courtesy to you, it is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to educate yourself about your outpatient mental health benefits.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount you must pay before your insurance starts contributing more to the cost of your health care. Your deductible resets on an annual basis, and the amount your insurance contributes to your care after your deductible is met is determined by your co-insurance. We collect the estimated deductible amount from your visit at the time of service.

What is an ROI (Release of Information)

In WA State for anyone other than the patient to access or discuss any information related to the patient, a release-of-information, or “ROI” must be completed and signed by the patient. The ROI will be stored in your chart. A release of information is a document that gives you the patient, the opportunity to decide what information you want released from your medical file, who you want it released/delivered to, how long that information can be accessed, and under what guidelines it is to be released. We can only directly communicate with patients, and no one else, until patients complete and sign an ROI, this includes spouse, family, and friends.

What is a prior authorization?

Many insurances require a “prior authorization” to fill a medication. When insurance requires medication preauthorization it means that they have placed a restriction on the medication prescribed and will review your medication treatment history with your medical diagnosis to approve/deny coverage. Typically, within 5-10 business days of receiving the prior authorization request, your insurance company will either: approve your request, deny your request, ask for more information, or recommend you try an alternative that is less costly, before your original request is approved. Whenever possible, we will supply requested information to your insurance during a prior authorization and appeal their decisions if they are not in favor of our patient’s medical needs. If the final decision from your insurance company ends up being a full denial, then at your next appointment with your provider you can discuss other options.

Questions about Medications

(Refills and Insurance)

How do I request a refill of my current medications or move them to a different pharmacy?

When you need a current medication refilled or transferred to a new pharmacy, please follow the instructions listed here:

Call/contact your pharmacy and verify that they have your medication and the dosage needed in stock. If yes, please email us at info@psychiatrynorthwest.com in the subject line enter Refill Request. In the body of the email include the following information:

  • Your full legal name
  • The name and dosage of the medication
  • The name and address of your preferred pharmacy

Upon receipt of your email with the above-listed information we will forward the request to your provider for review, please allow 72 hours for us to get back to you.

I want a different medication/I want to change my current medication dosage; how do I do this?

Patients that wish to increase their dosage, or change their medications, must have an appointment with a provider to do so. Contact our reception team to schedule an appointment with your provider to discuss your need for this request.

My pharmacy said I have no “refills” left for my medication. Can my provider send in more refills?

Always ask your pharmacy, “Do I have any remaining prescriptions on file for my ______ (medication name) ?” If you are requesting “refills” for controlled substances including stimulants (such as Adderall or Ritalin), sedatives (such as Xanax, or Ambien) or opiate substitution medications (such as Suboxone) this will confuse pharmacy staff and they will tell you that you have no “refills” available. This is because these medications are not prescribed as “refills,” they are sent into your pharmacy as separate, independent prescriptions with a day-based fill quantity depending on your dosage. Based on the next date you need to be seen for a follow-up appointment, our providers send in multiple prescriptions for each controlled substance they are providing you. You must ask the pharmacy if you have any remaining prescriptions on file. If your pharmacy tells you that you do not have any remaining prescriptions on file, then please follow the standard “How do I request a refill of my current medications” process. Many prescriptions require regular follow up appointments, if it has been 12 weeks or longer since your last appointment, please schedule an appointment with your provider.

My pharmacy said they contacted you for refills, why haven’t you sent them?

If you have contacted your pharmacy and verified that they do not have any remaining prescriptions on file for you, always send us a medication refill request after speaking to your pharmacy even if they tell you they will contact your doctor. We often do not get these communications or need clarifying information from you the patient to be able to ask providers to send in medication(s). Send Psychiatry Northwest an email or call providing us your full legal name, the name of your medication(s), your dosage, and instructions for using each medication(s), as well as the name/address/phone number of the pharmacy you would like to have prescriptions sent/transferred to. Please note, that if you need to have your medication(s) transferred to a new pharmacy, patients are required to contact/call their new pharmacy and verify that they have the supply necessary to fill your medication and dosage BEFORE office staff are allowed to send transfer medication requests to your provider.

My insurance denied my medication and my pharmacy said that they would contact my doctor, what do I do?

If your pharmacy tells you that your insurance will not cover/pay for your prescription, ask your pharmacist to fax our office the denial information. Next please contact our office to tell us that your medication was denied by your insurance. We will contact your pharmacy and insurance to determine the reason for the denial, and if it can be resolved simply, we will contact your provider/pharmacy to do so. 

What is GoodRx?

One option patients can try is GoodRx. GoodRx is a savings program provided through a website and mobile app that can give discounts most commonly for generic prescription drug prices. You can take advantage of GoodRx discounts regardless of having or not having insurance. If the cost is lower, you can use a GoodRx discount instead of your prescription insurance or Medicare. However, GoodRx cannot be combined with your insurance or any federal or state-funded program such as Medicare or Medicaid. GoodRx is not insurance.

I got a text from my pharmacy saying my medication was not available…now what?

Do not rely on pharmacy websites, patient portals, or apps for information about the status of your medication. These are rarely accurate and confuse patients, pharmacy, and office staff frequently. Patients are responsible for contacting their pharmacy in person or by phone each time they need to request to have their prescriptions filled/refilled, and then follow the standard “How do I request a refill of my current medications” process.

I have not been able to find a supply of my medication at other pharmacies, do you know which pharmacies have my medication in stock?

Psychiatry Northwest does not track or store information about the availability or location of medication. This information changes rapidly. If you have contacted multiple local pharmacies and have not been able to locate supply, please request an appointment with your provider to discuss changing medications that may have greater availability than those you struggled to find supply for.

I am planning to leave the country for a trip, will I be able to bring my ADHD/Anxiety/Sleeping/Pain medications with me? What information do I need to provide Psychiatry Northwest for a travel accommodation letter?

Drugs with a high potential for abuse such as stimulants, sedatives, and narcotics/painkillers may not be allowed into many foreign countries without a travel letter from their healthcare provide. Please know that there may be severe penalties for trying to do so. Psychiatry Northwest needs at least 2 weeks’ notice to prepare travel documentation for patient medications. Be aware of your destination’s banned and restricted medications. Psychiatry Northwest does not provide urgent travel letters to patient’s days before a trip. The US embassy website of your destination country is a good place to start gathering information about what precautions you should take—a quick query in the search bar should do the trick. You can also check your airline’s website to see if things like flying with stimulants like Adderall, for example, are prohibited. Declare all medications to the appropriate customs and border patrol officials, carry medications in their original containers, and carry your travel letter stating that the substances are being used under a healthcare provider’s supervision and are necessary for your physical and mental well-being while traveling.

I want to use a mail-order pharmacy, how do I set this up?

To use a mail-order pharmacy, you will need to contact your insurance and ask which mail-order pharmacies are contracted and in-network with your insurance. Once your insurance has told you which mail-order pharmacies you can use to fill prescriptions, you should call them and set up an account. You will then follow the standard “How do I request a refill of my current medications” process.

I am in a different state on a trip and do not have enough medication to last me until I return to Washington. Can my provider send in my medications to this pharmacy near me?

If you find yourself in this situation Psychiatry Northwest will do our best to help you. We will send your request for a bridge refill (enough medication until you return to WA State) to your provider for review. The request will be processed at the discretion of your provider. Additionally, if your provider agrees and sends your prescription to a local pharmacy in another state, please know that some out of state pharmacies may refuse to fill the medication. Unfortunately, if this happens, we will be unable to accommodate your request. If at any time you begin to feel unsafe or are experiencing side effects from not having medication, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care for immediate assistance. Please notify us as soon as you can so we can keep your provider updated.

I used to be a patient/have not been seen in a long time and need to be seen urgently for refills and be seen by a provider, how do I get an appointment?

WA state law requires patients to be seen by psychiatric providers every 90 days to be prescribed controlled substances. It is your responsibility as the patient to prioritize making your scheduled appointments to remain within this timeframe to keep access to your medications. If you are an existing or previous patient at Psychiatry Northwest that has fallen out of regular care, we will schedule you for your provider’s next available appointment. For existing patients, we can ask your provider if they are willing to send in a bridge of medication until your appointment, but we cannot guarantee your provider will agree to provide medication. You may need to wait until being seen before accessing medication previously prescribed to you.

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