Frequently asked questions
Can I use my insurance to pay for services?
If you do not have Medicare or Medicaid healthcare insurance then you may be able to obtain partial reimbursement using out-of-network benefits. Health insurance companies vary greatly with respect to out-of-network coverage. The best way to find out what your health insurance will reimburse is to call them directly and ask about their mental health out-of-network benefits and coverage policies. You can also use services like Reimbursify to help with the process. If you would like additional information about using your out-of-network insurance benefits, contact me and I will send you a brief guide I created. If maximizing insurance reimbursement is a priority, it may make more sense for you to pursue an in-network practice.
What are the benefits to seeing a psychiatrist out of network?
You can expect individualized attention and longer appointments. You'll meet 1:1 with a board-certified physician who provides both psychotherapy and medication treatment -- without the need to "split" your care with another therapist (unless you prefer to do this).
Your records stay private. Most large healthcare institutions require mental health notes (even psychotherapy!) accessible to all staff across the shared electronic medical record.
There are trade-offs too. The financial decisions about using full insurance benefits are important. Out-of-network treatment is likely to have more upfront costs - but there may not be much cost difference between in- and out-of-network care if your insurance plan has a high deductible.
How does someone qualify for reduced fee rates?
I reserve a number of appointments for individuals who do not pay full fee. I also reserve a number of appointments for individuals with Medicare Insurance.
To qualify for reduced fee rates, the request must be made through my psychosocial oncology colleagues at UNC (Comprehensive Cancer Support Program) or Duke (Cancer Patient Support Program). I am already connected to several clinicians in these programs who have my contact information.
When there is new availability for individuals needing reduced fee rates or Medicare insurance, then I will update this site in addition to notifying my colleagues listed above.
Why work with a psychiatrist who specializes in cancer and cancer survivorship?
Too often, we fail to recognize the profound impact that cancer treatment and recovery has on someone’s life. While most people expect physical changes, the emotional and psychological effects can range from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder or long-term cognitive changes. Psychiatrists who specialize in the care of individuals with cancer are uniquely trained to help patients and their families cope with these issues.
My medical psychiatry training combined with my experience at UNC Lineberger Cancer Center and Dana Farber Cancer Institute helps me understand when having a certain cancer can make a difference. It also means I am well-versed in the universalities of the cancer and cancer survivorship experience.
Whether someone is just starting, in-the-middle, or moving past their cancer treatment, my approach emphasizes the importance of understanding your unique situation and the many potential ways that cancer intersects with the mind and body. I provide therapy, education and advocacy, connection to resources, and when indicated, medications to manage physical and psychological symptoms.
I take into consideration your medical history, current and future treatments, and potential side effects of both your medical and mental health treatment. This means I won't prescribe a medication that might seriously interfere with your cancer treatment, and if you have persistent neuropathy from your chemo, I'll start by using medications that treats both the neuropathy and your psychological symptoms. It also means that I know to ask whether it's more helpful to meet before or after your next surveillance scan and how we can start when your cancer treatment is over but you're just coming to terms with what happened (and usually, what is still happening).
Do you work with children, adolescents, or couples?
Sometimes it helps to bring your partner or co-parent with you to your appointment -- especially if you are navigating a new issue, concerns about children, or role changes.
Patients with children have also found it helpful to have professional support when introducing an important health topic with their children.
In these situations, it can make a lot of sense for all of us to meet together. I am happy to discuss what that might look like for you should the need arise. Otherwise, I do not offer child or adolescent psychiatric services or standard couples therapy. When these services are needed, I will do my best to help connect you with these referrals.
Do you only see patients who have had cancer?
I see individuals without cancer too. My experience includes working in a specialized women's mood disorder clinic and physician support program. I'm invested in helping you with your needs and even if you have had cancer, it means also addressing issues related to relationships and communication, career, self-esteem, trauma, anxiety and depression.
Life brings unanticipated change and challenges to everyone. It also brings a lot of good stuff too. Connecting with the parts of life that bring you meaning and fulfillment are always important. Whether someone has had cancer or not, there is value in seeking support for what you need.