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What Patients Should Expect

Making an Appointment
Patients usually are referred to the Department of Psychiatry by their primary care physician, or a specialist. However, you may make an appointment without a referral. Clinical services are available for children, from infancy to preschool (up to five years), school age (six through 17 years) and adults.

Adult Psychiatry (314) 286-1700
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (314) 286-1700

Confidentiality Guidelines
The Department of Psychiatry believes in and operates under a doctor-patient relationship based on trust and confidentiality. You can be assured that information will not be shared with others without your expressed written consent. However, that there are circumstances in which exceptions must be made and some information about your treatment must be divulged. If, in the clinician's opinion a danger of harm exists to yourself or to others, steps will be taken to protect all parties. The law requires that clinicians notify the appropriate authorities in cases of reported physical or sexual abuse. Finally, if documents come under subpoena, they will be provided to the designated court.

What to do in an emergency
Contact the clinician you have been seeing. See Make an Appointment for the telephone listing. If the office is closed, you will be instructed to call:

  • For children: (314) 454-6000. Ask for the Psychiatrist on call.
  • For adults: (314) 388-5205. Ask for your clinician by name.

If the emergency is life threatening, you should proceed immediately to the nearest emergency room.

What to expect when scheduling an evaluation for a child
Children are seen for initial evaluation by either a Psychiatry Resident or Psychiatry Fellow (physicians who are in advanced training in the specialized field of psychiatry) followed by the staff Child Psychiatrist. Preschool-age children usually will require several visits to complete the evaluation. Typically, four to six one-hour sessions will be necessary. School-age children's evaluations usually take two one and a half hour sessions.

The family will receive a packet prior to the first visit that requests information to be returned at the time of the appointment. Information to review will be in the packet along with a detailed map to the appointment location. Both parents or caretakers are requested to attend the child's evaluation visits. Future appointments are made with the Resident or Fellow who work under the supervision of a staff Child Psychiatrist.

We recommend that the family write down any and all concerns and important historical information prior to the visit.

What to expect when scheduling an evaluation for an adult
Adult patients will be seen by the clinician with whom they have made an appointment. Residents and other students-in-training do not see adult patients either for evaluation or treatment except in the Resident Clinic. You may expect an initial evaluation to take one to one and a half hours. Please be prepared to provide the following information during the evaluation: Description of all symptoms and concerns; past mental health care, where it was provided and by whom; a list of medications and the dosages you currently are taking; and, a family history.

What to expect after the evaluation
A treatment plan will be developed by the clinician. Based on the diagnosis, appropriate methods of treatment will be proposed. Such treatments may include psychopharmacology (medication) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and/or psychotherapeutic techniques including supportive therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.

Cancelled/rescheduled/missed appointments
Our office hours are by appointment only. When an appointment is scheduled, that time is reserved for you. It is, therefore, necessary to charge for missed appointments. If an appointment must be rescheduled or cancelled, we require 24 hours advance notice. A fee will be charged if the patient or a member of the patient's family does not call 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.

Payment and insurance
Payment is expected at the time of service for all care rendered. If your insurance requires a co-payment, it and any out-of-pocket deductibles are to be paid at the time of a visit. The Department of Psychiatry has third party contracts with most PPO plans. HMO participation is limited to the following plans:

  • Blue Shield Harmony
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • HealthPartners of the Midwest (HPM)
  • Group Health Plan (GHP) (limited to subscribers who have BJC primary care providers)

Please note that there are a number of other HMOs providing mental health services within the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Department of Psychiatry currently does not have contracts with these groups. You may want to check with your insurance company to see if evaluations and therapy are covered.

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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine