Kathleen Kawamura, PhD Clinical Psychologist
Kathleen Kawamura, PhDClinical Psychologist

OFFICE INFORMATION

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

PHONE: (949) 422-7185
I will do my best to return your call within two business days.


APPOINTMENTS/HOURS: ***I am no longer taking clients at this time.***  See information below for emergencies.

E-MAIL: Kathy@DrKathyK.com
***Internet is not a secure or confidential medium and therefore e-mail communication will have to be restricted to matters related to scheduling.  All other communication regarding clinical matters should be done over the telephone or in person.***

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

EMERGENCY PROCEDURES: If you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911 or your local hospital emergency room instead of my phone service. As a rule, I do not keep emergency hours. I understand that some clients may need more availability than I can offer, so please consider this limitation when searching for a therapist that best meets your needs.

 

OFFICE POLICIES AND INFORMATION

 

FEES:  Each 50-minute session is $185.  Given my degree and qualifications, my fees are consistent with the customary charge for similar services in the area that I practice.  I do not serve on the panels of managed care companies for the protection of my clients and the quality of treatment. With self-pay, you can be assured that you are getting the best available treatment without restriction, based on your needs and desires. See bottom of page for more thorough explanation of self-pay vs. insurance.

 

Any other professional services you need, including report writing, telephone conversations lasting longer than 10 minutes, preparation of treatment summaries, or time spent performing any other service you may request are charged $40 for each 15-minute increment, similar to the fee for therapy. Lectures and speaking engagements also operate on a similar fee schedule.  However, I do offer many lectures free of cost.  Contact me for more details.   

 

INSURANCE:  If you prefer to use your insurance benefits, I will provide you with a standard receipt and form that can be submitted to your insurance company.  If you choose this option, know that your insurance company will determine whether to reimburse you or not and will likely request personal information about our therapy sessions to determine your reimbursement.  If this occurs, know that I will maintain as much discretion and confidentiality as is possible.   

 

If you are going to use your health insurance, call them and ask:

     Do they pay for mental health services?

     Do they pay for the services of a clinical psychologist?  

     Do they cover out-of-network providers?  And if so, what is the reimbursement rate? 

    

     What are the steps to ensure timely reimbursement?

 

Negotiating payment and insurance can be a confusing process, especially for someone in the middle of a crisis, so if at any time this information becomes too overwhelming, do not worry, just give me a call as I have helped many previous clients through this process. 

 

CANCELLATION POLICIES: Appointments are made to reserve a specific time slot for you, and therefore, a minimum of 24 hours notice is required for rescheduling or canceling an appointment.  A cancellation fee of $100 will be charged for sessions missed or rescheduled without sufficient notification. Most insurance companies will not reimburse for missed sessions.

 

Reasons to not be on a managed care panel:

Limitations on length of treatment and type of treatment            Treatment is only authorized if a reviewer determines that the treatment conforms to the policies set by the company.  This reviewer assesses the severity of your problem, your motivation for treatment, and whether treatment is necessary, and then determines whether you will be reimbursed. This reviewer need not have any mental health experience despite being responsible for making these very important decisions about your treatment.  In addition, managed care companies encourage very brief treatment and favor the use of medication over psychotherapy. 

Choosing your own therapist
 
Self-pay and out-of-network benefits allow you to choose a therapist that has the qualities and qualifications you are looking for.


Privacy issues
 
To justify treatment and determine reimbursement, insurance companies will require disclosure of information about a client's most dyfunctional behaviors.  Treatment plans, progress notes, and a diagnosis may be required.  Oftentimes, this information is put into a data bank and it is not always clear who has access to the information (some employers have been able to access information from their employees' insurance companies), how this information is protected, and how this may affect the client's future abilities to acquire insurance coverage in the future (health insurance, life insurance, disability).  

Managed care is a business
 
Managed care companies will often make treatment decisions based on cost rather than the needs of the clients.  Being a business, managed care companies also use profits for advertisements, executive salaries, political lobbying, and shareholders.

Labeling sickness
 
Managed care companies often require treatment to be "medically necessary" for it to be covered.  This means that a psychiatric diagnosis is required regardless of your reason for seeking therapy.  Many clients come to therapy for issues such as self-growth, stress-management, or habit change, which are issues that may not warrant a psychiatric diagnosis. 

Cost-benefit analysis
 
All health insurance providers will be different but often times clients are only responsible for 10-15% of the fee set by the managed care company, which is often times as low as $60 but can be as high as $100.  This means a cost of about $10-15 for the client.  On the other hand, if a client sees a therapist who is an out-of-network provider, then the client may be responsible for 10-20% of the fee set by the mental health provider.  This means a cost of about $20 based on my fees.  Is the money you save worth it?  My experience is that many qualified, competent therapists do not feel compelled to lower their fees to get on insurance panels not just for financial reasons but for the reasons listed above.  Utlimately the choice is yours, but at least, you will now be able to make an informed decision based on these fact. 

Click here for more information from the American Psychological Association's Division for Independent Practice regarding managed care vs. self-pay
Click here for information from the National Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers on reasons why treatment may be denied by managed care
Click here for more information on choosing a psychologist.
 
   
CONFIDENTIALITY           

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of mental health treatment and is protected by the law.  I can only release information about our work to others with your written permission.  Some basic information about diagnosis and treatment may be required as a condition of your insurance coverage.  Exceptions to confidentiality where disclosure is required by law: if there is threat of serious bodily harm others, I am required to take protective actions, which may include notifying the potential victim, notifying the police, or seeking appropriate hospitalizationif there is threat to harm yourself, I am required to seek hospitalization for the client, or to contact family members or others who can help provide protectionif there is an indication of abuse to a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person, even if it is about a party other than yourself, I must file a report with the appropriate state agencyif you are involved in judicial proceedings, you have the right to prevent me from providing any information about your treatment.  However, in some circumstances in which your emotional condition is an important element, a judge may require my testimonyif due to mental illness, you are unable to meet your basic needs, such as clothing, food, and shelter, I may have to disclose information in order to access services to provide for your basic needs

These situations have rarely arisen in my clinical practice, but should such situation occur, I will make every effort to fully discuss it with you before taking any action.

I may occasionally find it helpful to consult with other professionals.  In these circumstances, I will make every effort to avoid revealing the identity of my client.  The consultant is also legally bound to keep the information confidential.

PRACTICE STATUS

I work in an office with a group of independent mental health professionals.  While the practitioners share an office space, I want you to know that I am completely independent in providing you with clinical services and I alone am fully responsible for those services.  My professional records are separately maintained and no member of the group can have access to them without your specific, written permission.