Psychiatrist in Westen Mass.
June 20, 2014 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a psychiatrist in the Northampton/Amherst Massachusetts area, and it's proving difficult.

The challenge is finding someone who is both accepts my insurance (Harvard Pilgrim) and is accepting new patients. I've talked to both Smith College and UMass Amherst counseling services and gotten recommendations of people to try, but I haven't luck with the leads I've been given. Does anyone have a specific doctor to recommend, or more general guidance on how to go about the process?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Harvard Pilgrim should have a list of psychiatrists who accept your policy. That would be a place to start, although I've never liked picking doctors off of insurance lists.

How are you having bad luck? The doctors aren't accepting new patients, don't have convenient appointments, or just aren't a good fit for you? Unfortunately you are probably going to have to call a bunch of doctors.

I have a friend who is a LICSW in that area, but I have no idea if he takes Harvard Pilgrim, or if he's accepting new patients. Coming from me, he's just another name off a list, as I no longer live in the area and I know him only as a friend, not as a therapist.

A quick Google search shows tons of guides on How to choose a psychiatrist, but I get the feeling your "bad luck with leads" is something else: you've already gone to colleges in the area for suggestions.
posted by tckma at 10:54 AM on June 20, 2014

The thing about insurance is that not all doctors are in all plans from the same insurance company. (There are PPOs and HMOs and lions and tigers and bears!) It looks like Harvard Pilgrim's web site is a little complicated in terms of nesting of information, but if you go to:

and then select your exact plan name/type, it will take you to a screen where you can select the provider category type (i.e., psychiatry). I've sampled a few click-throughs, and from there, though there may be one more screen (depending on plan type) where you'll have to click on which logo appears on the reverse of your card, you'll get to a nice screen that lets you narrow by zip code (plus radius), by area of expertise, gender of provider and even a particular "additional language" spoken by the provider. I put in one of the zip codes listed for the city in your MeFi profile, and narrowed it to 39 providers -- if you have a gender preference for your provider, or want to select one of the specialties, it will make it an even smaller, more manageable list. Then, seeing that smaller list on one page (a friendly name? a location convenient to your favorite diner?) should make the, "Hey, are you taking new patients?" calls more easily accomplished. Fewer names, with a smaller radius from your home, is at least a start. Good luck!
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2014

^ This is the way to do it. Find the list from your health insurance company, then start narrowing by criteria such as location, specialty, etc.

Another place to look would be a local non-profit mental health clinic, looks like you might want to call ServiceNet or Clinical and Support Options. You might try calling bigger general healthcare practices too, they sometimes have behavioral/mental health staff as well--try Valley Medical Group.
posted by epanalepsis at 11:36 AM on June 20, 2014

In Easthampton, you might try Manfred Melcher, who is an MSW/LICSW. If you need a prescription provider, he works with several in the area. I don't know your plan details so I can't figure out if he is in or out of plan.
posted by plinth at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2014

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