1. How often do I need to be seen for psychiatric services?
First we will meet for an initial evaluation. At that point, we will decide if and what psychiatric medications and/or additional services will be appropriate for you. If you begin on a medication regime, we will then meet in four to eight weeks to evaluate how the medication is working for you. Once you are stable on your medication, we will only need to meet every three to six months, unless you choose to be seen earlier. If you are receiving controlled medications, California State law may require that you be seen every 3 or 4 months, depending on the control level of the substance. Appointments will always be available to you, within reason, as you need them.
2. Do I have to come to the office in-person for appointments?
No, you may choose whether to receive services in-person at Desert View Health in Rancho Mirage, CA or receive tele-services in the comfort of your home.
3. I noticed you do not accept insurance. Is there a way for me to obtain reimbursement from my insurance company for services?
We are an out-of-network provider. We require payment in full at time of service and we do not bill insurance companies. If requested, we will provide you with a superbill and if your insurance offers you benefits for out-of-network provider costs, you can subsequently submit the superbill to your insurance company for potential partial reimbursement.
4. Like many Coachella Valley residents I have an additional home out-of-state. Am I able to continue medication treatment when I am at my out-of-state home?
If your primary residence is in California you can continue to receive your medication during your visits out-of-state.
5. I noticed you also have Marriage and Family Services and Board Certified Coaching (Life Coaching) available. How do I access those services?
You are able to schedule an initial appointment with Petra Schoning, MA, LMFT, BCC, directly through her online scheduler. There is no charge for the initial appointment. This session provides you with a no-risk opportunity, with Petra's explanations and insights, to accurately assess the potential benefits her services would offer you. She provides both tele-services and in-person appointments.
6. If I need to be prescribed controlled substances, do I need to come to the office for all of my appointments?
No. As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, certain laws related to controlled substances have changed. You are now able to schedule teleservices for all appointments, including those involving controlled substances, if you so choose.
7. How long do psychiatric sessions generally last?
For initial evaluations of up to 50 minutes is usually sufficient to form a concept about what is going on and to begin to exp;ore treatment options. Occasionally a second visit is needed before beginning medication and this is more likely when the patient is a child or adolescent.
8. As a psychiatrist do you provide psychotherapy?
Although I rarely provide 45-50 minute psychotherapy sessions, I believe that many people who are taking medications are likely to do better if they are also in psychotherapy. If you wish, I am happy to refer you to an appropriate therapist.
9. If I am bringing my child or adolescent in for psychiatric evaluation, is there anything I can do in preparation for the appointment?
If your child or teenager is hyperactive or struggles with issues of focus and concentration, please fill out the ADHD Rating Scale-IV, home version, and give the school version of the same test to your child's teacher (or one of their teachers) to fill out.
10. How long is my treatment with medication likely to last?
The answer to this question can only be discussed following a complete psychiatric evaluation and there are a number of determining factors. Generally, the longer you have suffered from your symptoms, especially if they have been untreated, the longer your treatment will require. a mild problem might only require a couple visits, while more severe issues may require long-term, ongoing maintenance.
11. What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?
Once we schedule your
appointment, I hold that time specially for you. For cancellations or
rescheduling, please contact me at least 2
full business days prior to your appointment, so that I have
sufficient time to reschedule someone else who may be in need. If you do not provide 48 hours notice, you will be responsible for the full session fee. Emergencies are considered on a case-by-case basis.
12. How can I request prescription refills?
prescriptions should be discussed and handled during our scheduled appointment
visits. Sufficient medication will be prescribed at each appointment to last
until the next planned follow-up appointment. Medication prescription requests
outside of sessions will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If a refill or change in medications is
needed before your next regularly scheduled appointments, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible for us to meet. If the medication problem has been caused by a pharmacy error, leave me a detailed message regarding the issue and it will be corrected as soon as I have time to contact the pharmacy (or send a new prescription), and there is, of course, no charge to you. I have designated 15 minute emergency appointment times at the end of the day on Wednesdays or Thursdays and the fee is $250. If none of these alternatives meet your needs, you can call the office and leave a message on my emergency voicemail (which is forwarded to my cell phone). I will call you back and we can set up a time for an emergency medication appointment at a time that is convenient for both of us later that day. The fee for these appointments, outside of my regular working hours, is $300. Please be aware I do not respond to
pharmacy requests for medications, without also hearing from patients directly, because pharmacies frequently fax automatic requests.
13. Is what I share with you confidential?
Unless you provide me with written authorization to disclose information to another individual or agency, anything that you share with me is completely confidential with the exception of incidental necessary information required by other Desert View Health staff (who are also held to strict confidentiality guidelines}. Under California State Law, the following additional exceptions exist: 1) a client presents a danger to self or others, 2) an incident of suspected child abuse or neglect occurs, 3) an incident of suspected elder abuse or neglect occurs, 4) a court order is issued.
14. Are you accessible by public transportation?
Yes. Although ride hailing companies would likely be a better choice, the Sunline Transit Agency Bus, Route 111, with bus route connections throughout the Coachella Valley, stops approximately two blocks from our office, which is connected by sidewalk.
15. Is your office accessible to those with disabilities?
Our physical office space is at street level with parking as close as 8 feet from our front door. If you call ahead, we will make every effort to reserve the closest parking space and we will have a wheel chair ramp in place to assist you in traversing the one curb between the parking lot and the level of our sidewalk/front door.
16. What is the difference between a psychotherapist, psychologist and a psychiatrist?
Psychotherapists are trained counselors who treat persons with emotional symptoms with counseling or psychotherapy. A psychologist has a doctoral degree in psychology does psychotherapy and, in addition, often does psychological testing. A psychiatrist has a doctor of medicine degree and has specialized in psychiatry following medical training. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medications.