Overview

This page has information for current patients. Prospective patients should look under For prospective patients. New patients should look under For new patients.

Weather issues

I never close for bad weather. If you cannot get in because of the weather, we can still do something at your appointment time. Please note that my 48 hour cancellation policy applies no matter what the weather. As long as I have a working cell phone or a working internet connection, I will keep my appointments with patients. I believe that it is better to have an appointment, even if in may be somewhat harder to do by phone, or a bit harder to do telepsychiatry than to skip it altogether.

I am able to get to my office in any kind of weather, so I can be there if you want to come in. If you want, we can do things over the phone (or even better, by telepsychiatry, and save both of us time. The quality of telepsychiatry video is very good, and I strongly suggest that you consider getting set up for it. Telepsychiatry is good not just for seeing me without having to come in, but given the price (free), it's a fabulous way to stay in contact with people all over the world.

Because I am often doing sessions with people over the phone during bad weather, the chances are high that my office phone will be busy at the time if you call or videoconference me. If you are calling or videoconferencing in for your appointment rather than coming in, please call 443 470 9101 or text a couple of minutes after your appointment is scheduled to begin as I may be finishing up with another person.

Cancellations

The first of these policies is standard procedure for most mental health professionals. The second of these policies relates to how I run my practice. My schedule is either filled or close to filled most of the time. If I am seeing someone else, I am not able to call someone else to reschedule your appointment when I am seeing a patient, and the time I previously scheduled for you goes to waste. Please be considerate of my time and that of others.

The only time I make an exception to these polices is for life-threatening emergencies or the death of immediate family members.

If you are not able to be at my office but are able to talk, we can do your appointment by telephone and you should call 443 470 9101 a couple of minutes after your scheduled appointment time.

I am also happy to do a telepsychiatry if you have signed a consent

My calendar program usually sends you a reminder 72 hours before your appointment. Because of the vagaries of email, I cannot be responsible if this email fails to reach you.

Medication refills

I want to do all prescriptions refills during your session. There are six good reasons for this policy:

If you need me to fill prescriptions outside your session, I consider this service to be emergency paperwork and my minimum fee for this service is the charge for 15 minutes of my time.

If you are out of a prescription because of changes I made between one of your sessions and the next, I will refill medications outside your session without charge. However, if you have run out of medication because you missed or rescheduled your appointment, you will need to pay the emergency paperwork fees.

Paperwork outside your session

In general, I prefer do all my work for you during your session. I do not charge any additional fees for any paperwork that we do during your session. When we are together, it is much easier to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you need any paperwork from me, such as insurance forms, prescriptions, letters to work, etc., please let me know at the beginning of your session so that we can attend to them during your session. If you wait until the end of your session, we may not have time to complete them, and you will will probably need to wait until the next time we meet. I believe it is unfair to my next patient for me to delay his or her session because of paperwork that could have been done during your session.

As a rule, I do not attend to non-clinical matters outside your session. Anything that is not an emergency will need to wait until your next session. If I absolutely must attend to a non-clinical matter at any time other than during your session, I charge for this time in 15-minute increments. You must pay in advance for at least 15-minutes (or more if I know that it is going to take longer than 15 minutes). I will charge you from the moment I start something until I complete it and you must pay the balance of any additional charges at your next session.

You should know that insurance companies and pharmacy management companies often keep people on hold for 20 minutes or more, so these calls can get expensive quickly.

Prior authorization

Most health insurance companies contract with another company, called a "pharmacy benefits manager" or PBM, to restrict your access to your medications.

If you go to the pharmacy and are told "we need prior authorization from your doctor," you should know that this statement is terribly misleading. What is going on is that your PBM is restricting your access to your medications, not your physician, and not your pharmacy.

To save money for your health insurance company, the PBM intentionally introduces considerable delay in the process of getting your medications. They do this through a variety of methods such as:

The good news is that most prescriptions will approved by your PBM. The bad news is that the more they can delay you getting your prescriptions, the more money they make.

It is probably as important these days to know your pharmacy benefits manager it is to know your health insurance company.

If you have complaints about delays in getting your prescription filled, I would suggest you call your insurance company and complain about their pharmacy benefits manager to them. The problem relates to a contract between your insurance company and another company where each benefits by blaming the other for any problems.

Please note that prior authorizations involving telephone calls outside your session fall under the category of "emergency paperwork," and involve additional fees as these are issues that due to your insurance company, not to your clinical condition.

Although I am familiar with most of the major PBMs, if I am not familiar with yours, you will need to get the necessary forms from your PBM.

Emergencies

If you have an emergency and cannot reach me, please go to the nearest emergency room and ask to see a psychiatrist. I try to answer phone calls as promptly as I can, but I also have a policy of not taking phone calls from one patient while I am with another patient, so that sometimes limits my opportunities to get back to you.

The bottom line is that if you don't think that you can wait for about 24 hours, you should probably go to the nearest emergency room.

Communications

I do not charge for most brief phone calls or emails directly related to your clinical condition. By clinical, I mean dealing directly with

Dealings with anyone else are non-clinical, for example:

Furthermore, I consider it a non-clinical matter to:

If you need me to do things outside your session you will need to pay additional fees for paperwork

Please note that I do not respond to phone calls from insurance companies until I have received a signed release of information from you.

I do my best to respond to emails or voicemails within 24 hours, but if you cannot wait that long, you should go to the nearest ER or call 911.

Email

My email address is: patrickbarta@patrickbarta.com

I try to check my email once a day. For privacy reasons, I advise that you to be thoughtful when using email to contact me. Email is much less private than most people think, and many people such as systems administrators, bosses, and curious family members can often read any email that you send. Email communication is good for a brief note saying something like "you asked me to check in with you to let you know everything is fine, and it is." or "I can't make next week's appointment," but bad for anything complicated or anything that you would not want to have widely known. I do not believe that it is possible to practice medicine by email, so please don't be offended if my response to your email is something like "Call me at the office."

Depending on whether I need to triage my email, it may take up to 24 hours to return your email, and sometimes longer, particularly if I am travelling. In an emergency, go to the closest ER or call 911.

Please see communication for policies on clinical communications.

Please note that your internet service provider may put email the email from me (or anyone else) to you in your spam folder, and that email service, like the U.S. postal service is not completely reliable. I cannot be held responsible if your internet service provider is putting my email to you in the spam folder--this is not something I can control.

Telepsychiatry

If you have never used doxy.me before, click on the link below to test your system before your appointment.

https://doxy.me/precall-test/

You may wish to read the Getting started for patients document for some additional information about checking in to my virtual office on doxy.me.

My doxy.me website is at:

https://doxy.me/drpatrickbarta

you may wish to bookmark this site for your next visit.

My Skype name is: patbarta

I would usually prefer to do video calls rather than audio calls for your sessions.

Medical records

Charges for medical records must be paid before they are sent. I do not accept payments from anyone other than you. It is up to you to get reimbursed by insurance companies, the state of Maryland, etc.

Returned checks

There is a $25 charge for any check returned by the bank.