61 Transcript

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[00:00:00] This is The Testing Psychologist podcast episode 61. This is Dr. Jeremy Sharp.

Hey, before we get into today’s episode, I want to let y’all know if you didn’t hear last week that I’ve released several paperwork packets for use in your testing practice. You can check those out. I have not announced it to my email list or the Facebook group at this point. So podcast listeners get, I think, two more days of access before I put it out to the rest of my lists. You can use the code podcast to get 20% off any of the packets. There are three to choose from. There’s a Clinical Packet, there’s an Administrative Packet and then there’s a Psychometrist Training Packet. If those are interesting to you at all, go check out the details at thetestingpsychologist.com/paperwork.

All right. Let’s go.

All right y’all. Welcome back to another episode [00:01:00] of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m going to be doing another series of short episodes meant to give you a few quick things to think about. I just finished up with the summer sprint series. If you did not check that out, go back and download those. It’s a series of 4 episodes talking about a series of small but hopefully helpful topics to give you some concrete takeaways for improving your practice. The numbers were so good on that series that I decided to do another one here right afterward.

So this next series, it’ll be a series of 5 episodes and it is the, What I Wish [00:02:00] I Knew series. This one came about for two reasons:

1: Shout out to my good friend, John Clarke, who did a similar series over on Private Practice Workshop, which is also good. If you haven’t heard those.

2. I had a consultant-client recently ask me that very question: What do you wish you had known when you were starting out? It was a really good question. I realized that I did not have a great answer to that and it made me think about it. Here we are. I’ll be doing 5 episodes on things I have learned over the years.

Starting off, one of the things that I wanted to talk about, one of the things that I have learned is to be careful with insurance panels. Now, this might seem like a no-brainer, but I’m going to go through and talk about why I think this is something I wish I’d known. 

I think the main thing is that when I was starting out with testing or in my [00:03:00] private practice, in general, as a lot of you know, I did not start out with a testing-only practice. I started out where I was primarily doing therapy and I was maybe doing one evaluation a month for two years before I switched over and ramped up the testing referrals.

One thing about going into private practice is that I did not know that there was any other way to do it. Back then there wasn’t a private practice consulting scene to speak of. I just knew that I had gone to see therapists in private practice, that they took insurance, and that I probably should take insurance too. So I applied and got on several insurance panels right off the bat and that turned out largely okay. But as time has gone on, I wish that I had known how to be a little bit more selective with that.

When I say being a little bit more selective, I mean [00:04:00] two things:

1. Doing some deliberate research to figure out who the major insurance carriers in your area are. I don’t think that most of us have to get on every insurance panel available, especially in this day and age. Over the past 10 years since I started, it’s gotten to the point where a lot of insurance companies own others. There’ve been several mergers and there aren’t, I don’t think quite as many small panels. I went crazy and got on a lot of panels but I would try to work to figure out who the major insurance carriers in your area are.

I know here in our town there are only two, maybe three major insurance carriers aside from Medicaid and Medicare. So, I wish I’d been a little more selective with that. It would have saved me a lot of time in the beginning and would have saved me, well, a lot of time and [00:05:00] effort over the years trying to keep track of different reimbursement rates and making sure I have all my paperwork in order with insurance panels, credentialing and contracts and whatnot.

That’s tip number one, do some work to find out who the major insurance carriers are.

The second tip is to consider, especially at the present moment since the Medicaid expansion, really look at the population in your community and try to figure out how many folks are on private insurance versus how many folks are on Medicaid.

Depending on your area, I’m making a generalization certainly, but more rural areas and certain areas of the country tend to have a higher Medicaid population for various reasons. So that’s something to check out because Medicaid also at least from everyone I’ll talk to, seems to be a little bit tougher to get reimbursement for testing. So, [00:06:00] think about that and how you might want to balance taking Medicaid or not in your practice and whether that’s a viable option given your community population.

One other thing that you might think about is trying to look around and ask some colleagues about which insurance companies reimburse better than others. So if you have any colleagues at all who are doing testing in your community, even in your state or in other areas of your state, then you can usually get some decent information about which insurance companies are reimbursing higher than others. I think this is worth it.

I was talking with our billing company, Practice Solutions, the other day about how we have such a variation in reimbursement from insurance companies. It’s about $30 between the highest [00:07:00] reimbursing company and the lowest reimbursing company. There’s a difference of $30 per hour. I’ve heard that that’s true elsewhere around the country. I know that that’s how it goes.

Before you jump on a ton of insurance panels, I would ask around and try to at least get a ballpark of what certain insurance panels are reimbursing because, over the years, you can lose thousands and thousands of dollars with testing.

Another thing that you can ask again, if you have colleagues there in the area or the state and you can do some research on this yourself without even asking anyone just by going to insurance company websites is what are the requirements for pre-authorization for both psychological testing and neuropsychological testing? We’ve talked a lot on here before about how different insurance companies have different requirements there. And you can usually just do some Googling and figure out if they require pre-auth or not.

The last thing that I will share with you about getting on [00:08:00] insurance panels is that once you’ve decided which ones you want to get in network with, and you have gone through the credentialing process, they should always send you a fee schedule as part of that contract.

So before you sign that contract, look at the fee schedule and it does not hurt to try to negotiate a higher contract right off the bat. I had success with this with at least two insurance panels when I was getting on them. It’s a lot easier to negotiate raises from the very beginning than over time, especially with certain insurance panels. So don’t be afraid to try to negotiate a higher rate. You can easily ask for 10%, maybe even 20%. I’ve gotten favorable responses with those requests.

Those are just a few quick tips, things that I wish that I had known when I very first started out regarding getting on insurance [00:09:00] panels.

All right, y’all. Thanks for listening to episode #1 in the, What I Wish I Had Known series -episode 1 of 5 coming over the next two weeks.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I have been working hard over the past few months to put together these paperwork packets. So, if you’re a psychologist in practice and either you’re just starting out and you need some forms to get you started and you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, I’ve got a packet for that. If you’re a growing clinician or in a growing practice and you want to train your folks but don’t want to reinvent the wheel with a training manual, I’ve got a packet for that. I also have a packet with administrative paperwork and some clinical items. So check that out at thetestingpsychologist.com/paperwork. If you use the code podcast, you will get 20% off your entire cart. So check that out.

As always, if you have not joined the [00:10:00] Facebook group and you’d like to talk about testing and connect with other folks who are doing testing, then jump in and join us. Let’s not add anything. It’s on Facebook. You can search for The Testing Psychologist Community on Facebook and join our group. That would be great.

My final call to action. I know you’re not supposed to have all these calls to action, but I trust that y’all can handle it. My last call to action is if you are getting into practice or want to grow your practice or solidify your practice and you think coaching might be helpful, that is what I do. Give me a shout. We can talk for 20 or 30 minutes complimentary to figure out if coaching is even a thing that might be helpful for you. I would love to work with you and have had a great time doing that over the last two years with other practitioners. You can get more info at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and maybe I’ll be talking to you.

[00:11:00] All right, take care and tune in next time for the next series episode where we’re going to be talking more about finances.

All right. Take care y’all.

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