Q: How much does it cost to become a patient at VIN?
A: VIN has a direct financial relationship with all patients. In other words, we charge patients directly for all services. We do not participate with any health insurance companies. By charging private pay, we are able to provide neuropsychiatric services that are difficult to get within the limitations of traditional insurance-based medical systems. This approach allows us to do the following things that are typically not done in insurance-based medical centers:
- We spend a lot more time with patients to give them the comprehensive evaluation they often need. Our typical initial evaluation takes all day, with a mid-day break for lunch. Our typical full follow-up evaluation, done every 3 months on average, takes half a day. In between full follow-up evaluations, we also provide 30 minute brief evaluations to check on responses to new medications and keep the medication titration moving along.
- Dr. Ross and his clinical staff are happy to call other doctors or clinicians. Insurance-based doctors generally are reluctant to do so because insurance almost never pays for that service.
- In addition to contact information at the office, Dr. Ross usually gives his home and cell phone numbers and email address to his patients. Many of our patients find email to be a convenient way to communicate with Dr. Ross about simple things. Except for emergencies or very urgent situations, insurance-based doctors generally are reluctant to communicate with patients other than during face-to-face visits, because insurance almost never covers that type of service.
- Although Dr. Ross always prefers to see patients face-to-face, often he sees patients remotely (via GoToMeeting webcam/phone meetings, or just phone conversations) to make it more convenient for patients who have difficulty travelling to the office due to geographical distance or difficulty travelling. Note however, that Dr. Ross must see all patients face-to-face at the initial visit, and at least each year thereafter or more frequently, depending on the clinical situation.
Since Dr. Ross is one of only 3 physicians in Virginia board-certified in neuropsychiatry and brain injury medicine (as of September 2014, when the first brain injury medicine board exam was given), sometimes he can can come up with helpful ideas that others might not have thought of.
On the other hand, we realize that private pay is expensive up front and difficult for many patients to afford. Therefore, we are happy to team up with insurance-based doctors or medical systems, so that they can do the insurance-based work to get a lot of ground covered. Then for patients who can afford it, we can add some extra time or attention. For example, if Dr. Ross starts a new medication which is helpful, and the patient is stabilized on it, then the patient’s local physician can take over prescribing the medication if they like, to make it less expensive and more convenient for the patient. Furthermore, Dr. Ross often refers patients out to insurance-based doctors or clinicians for evaluation or treatment when appropriate. For example, most TBI patients benefit from cognitive rehabilitation done by speech language therapists, who typically are insurance-based, and patients often find that affordable and helpful.
For up-to-date details about our costs for services, please contact our office at (804) 594-7046 or by email:[email protected]