Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What should I bring to my first appointment?

  • Please make sure to bring the following items for your first appointment:
  1. Your completed New Patient Paperwork. It is crucial that you complete this paperwork prior to your first appointment. The form can be filled out and submitted online (Klara), or can be filled out by hand and emailed/faxed. You will NOT be seen until you have completed your New Patient Paperwork.
  2. Your insurance card.
  3. A government-issued photo ID.
  4. Cash, check, or credit card to pay for any copays or deductibles.
  5. A copy of your previous mental health records. This includes any neuropsychological evaluations and evaluations for academic accommodations.

All of these items can be uploaded on Klara before your appointment. For more instructions, please contact our office at 512-382-1933.

+When should I arrive at my appointment?

  • Due to COVID-19 pandemic, there is an additional check-in process before you can be seen for your appointment (temperature check and COVID questionnaire). Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time, that way we can safely check you in and you are not late to your appointment. Additionally, a mask is also required to proceed with the in-person appointment.

+ I am running late to my appointment. What should I expect once I arrive?

  • If you are more than 5 minutes late, you may have to reschedule your appointment to a different day. Regardless, please try your best to let us know that you are running late, so that way our staff members can make accommodations, if possible.

+I need to cancel my appointment. What are the policies?

  • Please make sure to cancel your appointment at least 24-hours in advance. If you cancel the same day, there is a same-day cancellation fee. If you are not able to reach us during normal business hours, you can also use Klara to request your appointment to be cancelled. (Please note, if you send messages after 5pm(Mon-Thur) and 4:30pm (Fri), they will be reviewed the next business day.)

+I never received an appointment reminder. Am I still responsible for paying the no show fee?

  • Keep in mind that appointment reminders are a courtesy and you are responsible for keeping the appointment. If it helps, please mark the date and time on a calendar, or set a reminder on your mobile devices.

+ Why do I have to attend a follow up appointment?

  • It is important to attend any follow-up appointments suggested/scheduled by your provider. This is true for a couple of reasons:
    • Prescription refills: depending on the type of medications you are on, you will be required to attend a follow-up (typically 3 months, but could be shorter or longer depending on your provider’s preference). If you fail to keep the appointment, you may not be eligible for your next refill.
    • Progress check-up: you provider will need to know what progress you are making with the medications and whether or not to make modifications to current treatment style.

+What will happen if I fail to follow up as scheduled?

  • You will most likely run into issues with prescription refills. This is a strict clinic policy especially with controlled medications.

+I missed my appointment. Do I owe a missed appointment fee?

  • If it’s your first time missing an appointment, there is no fee. However, if it’s your second time, there is a $60 fee, and the third time will be $85. Any missed appointments after that will result in a $100 fee.

+ Which Insurance does Specialty Austin accept?

  • Here are the list of insurance our clinic accepts:
    • BCBS – PPO & TX HMO
    • Aetna
    • United
    • Smart Health
    • Oscar
    • ComPsych
    • Cigna (coming soon)

+What if I am unable to pay for my appointment in full?

  • Payment of copays, co-insurance, deductibles, or self-pay rates is due in full at the time of service. If you are unable to pay for your visit due to a financial difficulty, we can offer you a payment plan (established patient only). Please contact our Billing Department for further details.

+I paid my copay on my visit but I had a balance later. What happened?

  • It could be due to a number of different reasons, but please be aware that insurance verifications are a quote of benefits only and the amount is an estimate may be subjected to change until you have received a final Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your carrier.

+Who should I inform if I change my Insurance plans?

  • As long as you have the complete information of your new insurance plan, you can either call our Billing Department, or send us a photocopy of your new insurance card (front & back) on Klara.

+I have a balance. How do I pay?

  • If you have a balance to pay, please call our office. Online pay option is not available at this time.

+Why do we have to have a credit card on file?

  • Since most of the appointments are being conducted remotely (telemedicine) due to COVID-19, you will be asked to fill out a credit card authorization form in order to pay for your visit. The payment will be taken on the day of your appointment. If you prefer not to have a credit card on file, you may be asked to come into the office for your appointment so you can pay in person.

+My child needs psychiatric care but I’m uncertain whether my ex-spouse will agree. What is your policy?

  • If both parents have medical decision making capacity, both parents must give consent  to treat your child. The consent form can be found on our website … (brief direction of how to get there).

+I’m starting to feel better. Why do I have to attend a follow-up visit?

  • Psychiatric disorders tend to fluctuate and stress can cause worsening of your conditions. A follow-up visit is still necessary in order to monitor and talk about how you’re dealing with stress. Moreover, sometimes medications can have serious and even fatal side effects, which must be discussed with your provider in order to make any adjustments.

+Why did my provider refer me to a psychotherapist?

  • Sometimes, medication alone is not enough. Psychotherapy can provide patients with coping strategies to improve stress management. Eventually, coping strategies can help you get off medications.

+What is Expert Care?

  • Expert Care is an evidence-based medication treatment with measured outcomes. For example, a questionnaire to get a baseline of how you’re doing and throughout our sessions we will use that to engage the improvement of your disorder. This helps to create tailored treatment plans that meet each patient’s unique needs and goals. The result is quality, individualized care. We understand there are no “one size fits all” treatment plans.

+What is a “medical model” treatment approach?

  • The “medical model” approach refers to the pharmacologic management of psychiatric conditions. It begins with a comprehensive evaluation and an assessment not only looks at psychological factors, but it incorporates the biological factors when considering treatment and diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder. This comprehensive evaluation includes using labs and checking for other medical conditions that could lead to mental health problems (e.g. depression and anxiety). This information helps us to formulate a personalized plan that fits the needs and goals of each unique patient. 

+Why is self-care considered to be part of my treatment plan?

  • Mental health is affected by the things we do everyday, such as eating healthy meals and exercising. If we take care of ourselves, this helps to cope with stress better. We encourage our patients to practice good self-care by engaging in regular physical activity, restorative sleep, proper nutrition, social interaction, and stress reduction. While we support medication therapy when it is indicated, we never believe that it is a substitute for self-care.

+What is a Physician Assistant (PA-C)?

  • A Physician Assistant, or PA for short, is a medical professional that can treat, diagnost, and prescribe under the supervision of a supervising MD.

+What do the PAs at Specialty Clinic of Austin do?

  • The PAs at Specialty Clinic of Austin can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications for various mental disorders under the supervision of a supervising MD. They are highly trained by our supervising doctors.

+Am I receiving the same quality of care if I’m treated by a PA instead of a doctor?

  • Yes, PAs are constantly under the supervision of a supervising doctor, so the quality of care should not be any different. If your PA comes across a complicated situation, they discuss that further with their supervising doctor to provide the best quality of care.

+Will my clinician complete a Prior Authorization for my insurance carrier?

  • Specialty Clinic can process Prior Authorization for your insurance carrier if the medication is not covered by your plan. Please note that this process can take up to 2 weeks as they are done in the order that they’re received.

+How and when should I request a refill?

  • You can request your next refill up to 3 days prior to running out. However, please note that any stimulants and benzodiazepines will follow a strict 30-day refill policy. This means that you can request a refill 3 days early, but you will not be able to fill it until the 30th day of your last fill date.

+I’m overdue for a follow-up appointment but I need a medication refill. What should I do?

  • Please go ahead and call our office for the soonest availability. You can also message us directly on Klara by briefly explaining your situation. If you have any questions, please call our office at 512-382-1933

+Are there any specialized policies in place for patients taking controlled substances?

  • Yes, if you are on a controlled substance (e.g. Adderall, Klonopin, etc.) you must comply with our Controlled Substance Follow-Up Policy and can only fill your next refill on the 30th day since the last fill date. If you are not sure whether you are on a controlled substance, please ask your provider or contact our office at 512-382-1933.

+I’ve misplaced my controlled medication. Can I get a refill?

  • Unfortunately, refills for controlled medications can only be placed every 30 days.

+I’m taking a controlled medication. Why did my provider ask me to submit a urine toxicology screen?

  • It is the medical board’s recommendation that anyone taking control medication we do a urine drug screening (UDS) to monitor for substance abuse. Stimulants are highly controlled medications. Sometimes people combine stimulants with illicit substances, which can lead to serious medical side effects and fatality. Your provider needs to do a UDS to verify that you are not using illicit substances for your safety.

+I called the Specialty Clinic but reached voicemail. How can I get in touch with the clinic?

  • We apologize for missing your call. Please go ahead and leave a voicemail with your name, DOB, and the reason for calling. We will get back to you as soon as possible!

+Are there any limitations to the types of questions that can be addressed by telephone?

  • You cannot make medication changes over the phone. An appointment is needed to discuss the risks and benefits of a possible medication change in order to follow the standard of care for your safety. 

+Can I use email to communicate with the clinic?

  • We encourage all our patients to use Klara or phone calls for any issues/questions you may have. However, if you feel that it’s necessary to use email, you can email it to info@specialtyaustin.com

+The clinic is closed but I have an urgent question. Who should I call?

  • If you have any medical-related questions, such as medication side effects/interactions, concerns about safety, etc. you can speak with our after hours on-call provider. Simply dial 512-382-1933 and press the option for emergency provider. Please keep in mind that this is not for medication refills, or to make changes to your upcoming appointments.

+Are there any issues that cannot be addressed by the emergency provider?

  • The emergency providers cannot address any appointment-related questions, or medication refills. Please call our front office for those.

+What should I do in the event of a life-threatening emergency?

  • If you find yourself, or someone you know to be in a life-threatening emergency, please do not hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.