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FAQ

Clinic policies

Our office hours

8 AM to 5 PM

We are closed on
  • All national holidays
  • All weekends
The national holidays we observe are:
  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • George Washington’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
At times we are off:

We are a community psychiatry clinic and so during holidays and outside office hours we cannot provide services. Please call 911 during the times we are not available.

We use Zoom. Zoom is a HIPAA compliant and safe systems with the highest quality video and audio available.

Factors against video conference:
  • SC psychiatrist/ therapist need to see the patient in person to pick up on cues that are not available over video conference.
  • Vitals and body measurements are not possible over video conference.
Factors for video conference:
  • Traffic takes a lot of time and we have seen patients not reach out for care due to difficulty in taking time off work.
The policy

Initial intake has to be in person and subsequent appointments can be over video conference as per provider’s decision.

The matching system is a innovation in mental health because a patient working with an incorrectly matched mental health provider leads to codependent chronic conditions instead of solutions.

Let’s say you were going to see a cardiologist. Regardless of who you see, they’ll likely treat your heart problem in a very similar way. In mental health, the treatment can vary widely between providers because the medical field still doesn’t understand the mind as well as it does the rest of the body.

The patient provider matching system is run through SC-Brain, the SavantCare neural network. This looks at many factors and takes input from the doctors before making a decision.

The reason for no-match is simply no-match and should not be construed to indicate anything being wrong with someone.

The insurance reimbursements for mental health services are among the lowest of all specialities since it is not a procedure oriented service.

Psychiatrists and therapists are providing services to patients with depression, anxiety and anger management issues. Most of the patients are very understanding, but a small percentage of patients put a disproportionate amount of stress on the organization.

Most medical services have a metric that allows measurable and trackable data.

For example: We can measure temperature for a simple problem illness such as the flu, and the heart rate for complex problem of the heart.

However, for the most complex organ of all, the brain, tracking technologies are still being developed.

Our psychiatrists/therapists are in-network with the following insurances:

  • AETNA
  • Alignment
  • Anthem Blue Cross of California
  • Anthem Cal Medi-Connect
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cardinal Care (Stanford students)
  • Cigna
  • Healthnet (PPO only)
  • Humana
  • Medicare
  • MHN
  • Tricare
  • Optum

We are actively in negotiations with:

  • Kaiser- Value Options
  • Magellan
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Appointments

Seeing a psychiatrist is a difficult choice and one way to make it slightly easier is by giving privacy.

The SavantCare in clinic companion app does the task of checking you in, informing the doctor and subsequently checking you out. We are one of the very few clinics that takes most insurances including medicare and keeping our costs low allows us to do that.

Calling or texting the SavantCare phone number connects you to the doctors personal admin assistant who can help you with any questions.

Follow these steps to login to your myhealth portal:

  • Step 1: Go to www.savantcare.com
  • Step 2: Click on “my health” in the top navigation bar.
  • savantcare my health nav - step 2

  • Step 3: Login with your credentials.
  • login myhealth portal - step 3

Because our doctors see patients back to back throughout the day, going over the allotted appointment time will cut into the next patient’s time.
As a courtesy to other SavantCare patients, please try your best to be on time and plan ahead. If you arrive too late to allow time for proper care, you may be asked to reschedule.

If you are more than 15 minutes late to your appointment, you will be asked to reschedule.

We require a minimum of 5 business days to complete requested paperwork. Paperwork needs to be reviewed by the provider for appropriateness before it is accepted for completion. If provider deems the paperwork to be inappropriate for any reason, it may not be completed.

Submitting paperwork completion request does not automatically mean acceptance by provider to complete the paperwork.

Insurance companies will only reimburse 1 session if you see a therapist and a psychiatrist on the same day. So if you are paying out of pocket then you can see a psychiatrist and a therapist on the same day. If you are paying through insurance then you cannot see a psychiatrist and a therapist on the same day. If you travel from a far distance and it is difficult to come on 2 different days you may want to pay for the psychiatrist using the insurance and for the therapy session out of pocket.

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Follow-up care

  • Emails are NOT a secure form of communication. We deal with protected health information (PHI) and it is important to use a secured mode of communication.
  • HDR’s (Helpdesk Request) allow us to track if a support request was completed on time. When you create a HDR for Dr’s admin assistant even if he is out sick, an HDR informs the management if it has not been completed on time.
  • HDR’s are better then phone calls since they remove the possibility of confusion that may arise over a phone call. We deal with very senstive information and a difference in dosage of medication can make a life and death difference. Hence it is important that communication is in a written format to remove any possibility of confusion.

We use a secure help desk request (HDR) system for communications between patients and their care team.
There are two ways to create an HDR:

  1. Send an email to support@savantcare.com
  2. From your myhealth portal follow these steps:
  3. step 1

    help desk request - step-1

    step 2

    help desk request - step-2

    step 3

    help desk request - step-2

We receive many requests for refills each day, and the process takes time (especially when your provider is not in the office).
An office visit may be required (to monitor your overall health and condition) prior to refilling your medication.
Please allow 3-5 business days for new prescriptions or refills to be sent to the pharmacy.

Why?

  • An average doctor at any given time manages care for hundreds of patients. Doctors often get 10-20 refill requests per day.
  • Please keep in mind that sometimes there are delays not only at the end of the doctor’s office but also by the pharmacy and insurance.

Therefore, ideally make the request when you pick up your last refill.
NOTE: You should always request a refill at least 3 days prior to running out of medications.

The 3 ways in the preferred order are:

1. Log into my-health portal and follow the steps shown in the screenshots below:

Step 1:

savantcare my health nav - step 1

Step 2:

How do I sign the release of information - step 2

Step 3:

How do I sign the release of information - step-3

Step 4:

How do I sign the release of information - step-4

2. Use the sign-to-emr app when you are at the clinic

3. Request the doctors admin assistant to email / fax you a PDF that you can then sign and return back to the doctors admin assistant.

Unless the psychiatrist gets your records they are unable to complete your evaluation and prescribe medications.
It is important that you fill out the release of information so the admin assistant for the psychiatrist can reach out to the other medical providers you might have seen and request the needed medical records.

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Insurance and billing

Missed appointments prevent you from receiving care, and prevent the doctor from seeing another patient in need of care during that time.
You will be charged $75 within 3 business days of your appointment, if you do not cancel before 24 hours (Excluding weekends or holidays) of your appointment. If an unpreventable situation arises, SavantCare may waive of reduce the amount.

Note: For an appointment booked within 24 hours, you’re automatically subjected to the above cancellation policy.

There are 4 key concepts:

1. In network vs Out of network services

Any medical services that is sold can be divided into 1 of 2 types:

  • Out of network services
    • Patient is responsible to pay 100% of fee
  • In Network services
    • Patient is responsible to pay
      • Co-pay
      • Co-Insurance
      • If annual deductible has not been met:
        • Any amount above co-pay and co-insurance
    • Insurance company is responsible to pay
      • If annual deductible has been met:
        • Any amount above co-pay and co-insurance

What in the world is in-network vs out-of-network services?
For e.g. if medical services costs $300

Type of services Patient to pay SC Insurance company to pay SC
Out of network services $300 $0
In network services If annual deductible has not been met: co-pay / co-insurance / amount above co-pay and co-insurance $0
If annual deductible has been met: co-pay / co-insurance Amount above copay and co-insurance
2. Co pay
What is copay ?

Co-pay is usually a small fixed amount for e.g. $20.

What is the economic reason behind co-pay?

John’s Mom always thinks there is something wrong with her and if she did not need to pay anything to go to the doctor she will go to the doctor every-time she sneezes.

3. Co Insurance
What is co-insurance ?

Co-insurance is usually a small percentage of total cost like 15%

What is the economic reason behind co-insurance?

John’s Mom always thinks there is something wrong with her and out of 100 sneezes she stopped going to the doctor for 90 sneezes since she had to pay $20 but for the other 10 times she sneezed she went to the doctor and the doctor had to spend $10,000 examining her whole chest. So the insurance company said to John’s mom that you need to pay 15% of the total cost. So that out of 10 sneezes when the doctor said do you really want me to do your chest exam … John’s mom will decline 9 times and say let me wait for a week and see if it gets better.

4. Annual deductible
What is the economic reason behind Annual deductible?

John is very high money saver and a healthy person. He only wants insurance in case there is a catastrophe like a car accident and he wants to pay low insurance premium. So the insurance company will sell him a plan with a annual deductible of $10,000 so that John only uses the plan in case of a big catastrophe and does not use the plan for day to day sneezes and coughs.
By selling a plan of annual deductible of $10,000 Insurance company needs to charge $100 per month as premium.
By selling a plan of annual deductible of $1,000 Insurance company needs to charge $500 per month as premium.

What is the interrelationship between co-pay co-insurance annual deductible and monthly insurance premiums ?

Say John’s mom sneezes 100 times.

  • Without co-pay she will go to doctor 100 times.
  • With co-pay she will go to doctor 10 times
  • With co-pay and without co-insurance a expensive procedure of complete chest exam will be done 10 times
  • With co-pay and co-insurance a expensive procedure of complete chest exam will be done 1 time

If not there is no pre-existing business agreement between the insurance company and Savantcare then it is out-of-network services.
It is in-network services if following conditions are satisfied:

  • There is a pre-existing business agreement between the insurance company and SavantCare.
  • Fine print of the insurance contract between the patient and the insurance company does not rule out the services rendered.
How to figure out the fine-print?

That is a mystery even to us.
Some suggestions as you try to navigate the complex contract between you and your insurance company:

  • Call their customer service and talk to them.
  • Use the my-health portal to see the data returned by insurance company’s computer systems when we ask them for co-pay co-insurance annual deductible and covered services.
Out-of-pocket charges Psychologists Psychotherapists (M.A)
60 minute appointment You have to pay $300 per hour. You have to pay $250 per hour.
Special discounts: You can consult psychologists at $200 per hour and psychotherapists (with Masters in psychology) at $150 per hour.
Encounter Type Description Fee
60 minute appointment Either an initial appointment aimed at gathering historical data about your treatment and life or an hour long session with therapy and med management. $500 per session for patients ages 18 and older / $600 per session for patients ages 0-17
30 minute appointment 15-20 minutes face-to-face, 10 minutes for documentation and other management tasks by the provider. $250 for patients ages 18 and older / $300 for patients ages 0-17
Am I being charged now?

No. 99% of the time, there are no charges prior to the appointment. Exceptions are:

  • Patients who have a history of late cancellations or no-shows will be charged prior to their appointment.
  • Patients without insurance or paying out of pocket

Note: First time patients may see a pre-authorization (will show as pending, not charged) to verify the payment method is valid. This typically drops off within 3-5 business days.

Why do you require the payment information then ?
  • The reason for requesting this information is to “hold” the appointment time.
  • If you do not come for the intake appointment and do not cancel within 3 business days of the intake appointment – then you will be charged the cancellation rate as mentioned here.
  • Our clinic tries to provide access to mental health care to the community. Often, people will book first time appointments with our doctors and then will not show up, which forfeits the doctor’s precious time when they could be seeing another person in need. We have found that getting payment information to hold appointments improves our show rate, which maximizes our doctors’ time and overall increases the amount of care we can provide to the community.

An explanation of benefits (commonly referred to as an EOB form) is a statement sent by a health insurance company to covered individuals explaining what medical treatments and/or services were paid for on their behalf.

Sometimes insurance companies carve out plans to different categories like mental health, etc. It becomes impossible for us to check for every patient’s coverage and hence its important patients are solely responsible to check for coverage with their insurance company.

Here is an incident analysis from several identical cases we have seen:

Why is patient responsible to check coverage with their insurance company

Patients can check their insurance coverage by logging in to the “my health” portal. Please refer to the screenshot below for a visual understanding:

  • Step 1: Go to www.savantcare.com and click on “my health” in the top navigation bar (see visual below)
  • savantcare my health nav - step 1

  • Step 2: Login to your myhealth portal (see visual below)
  • login myhealth portal - step 2

  • Step 3: Once logged in, from the dashboard, click on “admin file” (see visual below)
  • admin file - step - 3

  • Step 4: From “admin file”, click on “health insurance coverage” (see visual below)
  • health isurance coverage - Step-4

  • Step 5: You can now see your health insurance coverage (see visual example coverage below)
  • my invoices - Step-5

You can find out what your copay will be for a visit by looking at what your health insurance card says for the copay for a specialist. If the copay is not listed on your card, you can call your insurance company and ask. Usually copays are around $30-$50 per visit.

Blue Shield of California has opted to spin off their Mental Health coverage to a third party called MHSA.

We believe the practice is not fair for patients nor doctors as this means services rendered to Blue Shield Covered California patients are considered “out of network”, despite SavantCare maintaining an “in-network’ contract with Blue Shield.

We have filed a dispute with Blue Shield on the matter. Unfortunately, Blue Shield is firmly stating that they are not ‘responsible’ for Mental Health Coverage for the affected Blue Shield plans.

We urge all affected patients to file a grievance or dispute with Blue Shield on the matter and to encourage Blue Shield to honor their contractual obligations to providers and to patients.

It is not possible for us to call every patient’s insurance to find out if they would be covered. Hence, we request all our Blue Shield of CA patients to make sure they check their coverage before their appointment to avoid confusions.

The patient is responsible for paying the doctor’s hourly out of pocket rate for any time the doctor spends completing paperwork.
A doctor’s hourly rate is $500.

You can download and view invoices for your appointments in the myhealth portal by following the following steps:

Step 1

How can I view my invoices Step-1

Step 2

How can I view my invoices Step-2

Step 3

How can I view my invoices Step-3

Administrative assistants manage most phone calls and help desk requests (HDR) with logistical concerns outside of session.
However, if a psychiatrist or therapist needs to make a phone call or reply to a HDR on a patient’s behalf (with a therapist, another doctor, a family member or with the patient themselves), the patient is responsible for paying the psychiatrist or therapist’s hourly out of pocket rate.

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