Philip Berent MD

Issues in Mental Health

Insurance: The current state of mental health delivery is dire. Virtually total control by insurance companies has forced psychiatrists in increasing numbers to abandon psychotherapy. Insurance premiums continue to rise; more onerous limits are put on both patients and doctors. In response, to maintain their livelihoods, psychiatrists have been forced to offer sessions shorter in duration, sometimes as short as 7-15 minutes. The psychiatrist is devalued. The patient is bustled through a visit, given a prescription, and seen monthly. The visits are hit or miss. Most self-pay clinics and hospitals charge $250 to $325 per hour. My fee is $300 to $350 per hour. I am dedicated to providing my patients with the best treatment options available.  I have chosen to be an out of network doctor and do not accept insurance.  Having a cash-based practice gives me the flexibility and freedom to tailor a treatment plan that best serves each individual patient.

What is tragic is that in the past 20 years, advances in the science of the basic psychiatric studies and various psychotherapeutic modalities have produced incredibly effective treatments for most mental illnesses. Current reimbursements have failed to make these advances available readily to patients. Primary care physicians and psychiatrists are labor intensive professions which deserve respect and reimbursements to keep patients well.