Psychiatrist outside the box
December 13, 2018 7:57 AM   Subscribe

My psychiatrist is leaving in six months and her replacement just backed out. My region is very very bad for mental health care, and the other options are awful or not accepting new patients or don’t take Medicare. I want to explore options like telemedicine, traveling, and other options. Please share your experiences and tips for finding a psychiatrist in mental health wasteland

I currently live in Blacksburg, VA and will be here at least another year.
I’m *not* looking for local recommendations.

I currently see my psychiatrist once a month or so but could do less if out-of-office communication is good.

Her practice is seeking a replacement for her replacement, who just backed out after signing the contract.

I want to have a game plan in case that doesn't work out, and no attractive regional options are open to me.

I don’t drive but can bus, train, or get rides to other cities. I’m concerned that the distance would be a problem in an emergency, should one come up.

I’d be okay with telemedicine (alone or with occasional office visits). I’ve looked into some but the billing has been problematic. I only have Medicare, so I need a provider who takes that or has a sliding scale.
(My current doctor is willing to do telemedicine but the local medical system won’t implement it.)

There must be more options as well, but what are they?

I am hoping to limit my search to psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, and maybe psychiatric prescribing nurses.

Please share your experiences and resources. Thank you.
posted by mermaidcafe to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
UVA Medical School has a telepsychiatry program that serves the entire state. As an academic medical center, they're certain to take Medicare.

I have no personal experience of the program, but my reading of them saying that they offer telemedicine services including "Adult Psychiatry including diagnostic evaluations and follow up therapy and medical management visits" is that even your initial, new patient visit could be done via telemedicine without a trip to Charlottesville.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:30 AM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

When you say that your current doctor is willing to do Telemed but the local medical system won't implement...does that mean they aren't allowing their docs to practice Telemed? Our mental health practice is ramping up Tele services (so right now we have just a few patients) and we use Super easy to use. Would your doc be willing to do Telemed appointments with you on her own, outside of her work hours with the new place (so like at 5:30 or something?).

The Medicare rules as I understand them for Telemedicine is that they will only cover it if you are in a rural area (I'm not sure how they define "rural"), with no access to any other Medicare provider in a certain mile range. And I think you have to actually go to a doctor's office to do the appointment (which now probably explains your comment about the local medical system not implementing it). However, with UVA being a teaching hospital/system, they probably have other ways around that (do they have any UVA Med System offices in Blacksburg? Or Roanoke that you could drive to for telemed appointments?)
posted by MultiFaceted at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2018

How get-to-able is Roanoke for you? Carillion looks like they've got a couple dozen folks in their psych department. I know you said you didn't want local recs, but does VT have anything that could help? (When I've been on the hunt for mental health services, somehow nearby universities always slip my mind.)
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 6:33 PM on December 14, 2018

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