Billing and Collecting for Your Mental Health Practice: Effective Strategies and Ethical Practice
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
While mental health professionals receive extensive clinical training, they typically receive minimal, if any, training in the business aspects of private practice. As a result, billing and collecting can be overwhelming. The process is further complicated because our attempts to maximize profits must occur in the context of a therapeutic relationship. Ethically balancing the business and clinical aspects of practice is an essential matter for all clinicians.
This book presents specific, practical guidance on the technical aspects of billing and related ethical and legal considerations.
- protecting client rights in the billing and collection processes
- setting and raising fees
- providing informed consent about billing and fees
- establishing and enforcing a written financial agreement with clients
- dealing with insurance companies and other third parties
- what to do when clients fail to pay agreed-upon fees
- the pros and cons of using a billing service
- billing issues specific to forensic mental health services
- and more
With its abundance of practical tips and case examples, this book is a must-read for all clinicians who are or wish to be in private practice.
- The Ethics of Billing, Collecting, and Financial Arrangements: A Working Framework for Clinicians
- The Financial Agreement Between You and Your Client
- The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Paid for Your Services
- Do It Yourself or Contract Out: The Pros and Cons of Using a Billing Service
- Billing and Collecting for Forensic Mental Health Services
- Ethical Lapses by Clinicians in the Billing Process
- Fraud, Abuse, and Case Examples
Appendix A: Sample Financial Agreement
Appendix B: Sample Superbill
Appendix C: Sample Insurance Claim Form (CMS-1500)
Appendix D: Sample Credit Card Guaranty of Payment
About the Authors
Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP, is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Loyola University Maryland and a licensed psychologist who has been in practice for over 25 years. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in both clinical psychology and clinical child and adolescent psychology. He also is a distinguished practitioner of psychology in the National Academies of Practice. He is a past chair of the APA Ethics Committee and currently serves on the ABPP Ethics Committee and the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
Dr. Barnett has also served in numerous leadership positions within the profession of psychology, including president of the Maryland Psychological Association and president of three divisions of APA (Psychotherapy; Independent Practice; and State, Provincial, and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs). In 2009, he received the APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to the Independent Practice of Psychology, and in 2010, he received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychotherapy and Psychology from the APA Division of Psychotherapy.
Dr. Barnett is a frequent author and presenter on ethics, legal, and professional practice issues, including the business of practice. His recent books include Financial Success in Mental Health Practice: Essential Tools and Strategies for Practitioners, Ethics Desk Reference for Psychologists, and Ethics Desk Reference for Counselors. He is an associate editor of the APA journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, as well as the editor of its "Focus on Ethics" feature.
Steven Walfish, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and has been in independent practice in Atlanta since 2002. He received his PhD in clinical– community psychology from the University of South Florida in 1981. He has previously been in independent practice in Tampa, Florida, and in Edmonds and Everett, Washington.
He is the editor of Independent Practitioner and has served on the editorial boards of several journals. He has published in the areas of substance abuse, weight loss surgery, and professional training and practice. He is currently a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, where he supervises postdoctoral fellows.
Dr. Walfish has received the Award for Outstanding Research in Consulting Psychology from APA's Division of Consulting Psychology, the Walter Barton Award for Outstanding Research in Mental Health Administration from the American College of Mental Health Administration, and the Award for Mentoring from the APA Division of Independent Practice. In 2010, he was elected a fellow of the APA.
His other published books include Succeeding in Graduate School: The Career Guide for Psychology Students, Financial Success in Mental Health Practice: Essential Tools and Strategies for Practitioners, and Earning a Living Outside of Managed Mental Health Care: 50 Ways to Expand Your Practice.