How do I find an adult psychologist in Boston or Manhattan available on short notice?
July 20, 2012 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Help find a Boston or Manhattan psychiatrist who takes 1199 insurance and can see a new patient soon. My dear friend is in serious distress.

Her two-year-old boy has a life-threatening illness. His care requires frequent ER visits, extended and unpredictable travel, vast amounts of paperwork, and crippling expense. The boy is being treated in Boston but the mother has to come back to NYC and work two 12-hour shifts each week to keep her family's health insurance. She's exhausted, anxious, fearful, and sad in ways I can't begin to comprehend. I fear for her and she fears for herself. I've offered to help her find psychiatric help. I work in a large academic medical center and meet regularly with (non-psychiatric) clinicians in the disease for which her child is being treated. I know lots of people. Despite this, I haven't come up with anything. Everyone tells me to ask someone else. The referrals I have found so far, through work or through friends, sound great but can't help. They're completely booked, don't take her insurance, charge exorbitant fees, only see family of patients treated in certain hospitals, or don't answer phone calls/emails. What do I do?
posted by jcrcarter to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
has she asked at the hospital where her son is being treated? at the very least they should have a grief counselor on hand, no? that would be a good place to start, at least for a referral...
posted by sexyrobot at 5:22 PM on July 20, 2012

Response by poster: has she asked at the hospital where her son is being treated?
They have not been able to provide any useful referrals.
posted by jcrcarter at 6:04 PM on July 20, 2012

Forgive me, but why does she need to see a psychiatrist? She is certainly struggling, with a lot on her plate and sharing with a therapist would probably help her but pdocs are useful more for medication/chemical imbalances rather than situational stressors. If she feels a mild course of medication will help her take the edge off during a stressful time her family doctor could probably prescribe something for her. Therapists are often easier to find, and more likely to be available on short notice. Does this list help?

You said she has to work to keep her insurance, do you think she could get a medical leave of absence? I don't know her situation but many workplaces continue benefits while the employee is recovering from medical events (like extreme stress). Now is also the time that her family/friends/neighbors need to step up; her care/her son's care is more important than any pride she may be holding on to.

Alternately, mental health care is really messed up in a lot of places; unfortunately one of the best points of access can be voluntary admittance into a good psychiatric wing/hospital that will release her quite quickly but with on-going follow-up care that she would otherwise not have had access too.

Good luck to you both; I hope things improve.
posted by saucysault at 6:32 PM on July 20, 2012

Not sure if this group is covered under her insurance, but Comprehensive Psychiatric Associates in Wellesley, MA (approximately a 30 minute drive outside of Boston proper) is an excellent practice. From personal experience, Audrey Rubin Nathan is a wonderful therapist (LICSW) & Dr. Michael Posternak is an exceptional psychiatrist. The whole group, though, is great. Also, since the insurance has been an obstacle, I would start with the 1199 list of providers and go from there. Lastly, does her employer have an Employee Assistance Program? This is exactly what EAP's are designed for, and they are completely confidential.

I don't know if any of this helps, but I also know how frustrating it is to make the calls only to be told someone is not accepting new patients, the next appointment is a month or more away, or even worse, leave a message and never hear back. Persistence is key, however. Your friend doesn't have the time or wherewithal to be persistent, but it sounds like you do. Besdies being an emotionally supportive friend, this is probably the biggest help you can give, if you're up for it. Keep trying and eventually you'll find someone to treat her. Best of luck to you all.
posted by katemcd at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2012

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