Clinical Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Call Family Psychiatry & Psychology Associates at 919-233-4131to schedule an appointment for clinical services or to arrange a consultation.

Questions frequently asked...

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  • Q: Do I need a referral to be seen at FPPA?
  • A: You do not need a referral from another doctor to be seen by one of the doctors at FPPA.  To make an appointment, simply call the office at 919-233-4131 and inform the receptionist that you would like to schedule your first appointment. If you do have a referral from another doctor, it is always helpful for your doctor(s) to share information with our doctors. A formal request to share confidential information will be discussed with you upon your first visit.

  • Q: What should I expect on the first visit?
  • A: We ask that you plan to arrive about 15 minutes early for your first visit at FPPA.  This allows time to fill out necessary paperwork prior to the first visit, and allows time for unexpected difficulties getting to our office.

    If you are bringing your child for a first visit, the doctor will likely want to meet with you with your child for part of the intake visit, and will also want to talk to all of you together and each of you separately. At the end of the first visit, you and your doctor will arrive at a plan for the next step(s) in your care. If seeing a psychiatrist and medication is a consideration, it may or may not be prescribed during your first visit, depending on individual circumstances.

    If you are bringing an adolescent to the office, we ask that you stay for the entire visit in our office area, even if the doctor elects to utilize most of the visit with the teenager. In all likelihood, you and your teen will spend time with the clinician together and individually but the doctor may choose to spend more time with one party than another for clinical reasons.

    Most first visits are between 45 and 75 minutes, depending on clinical needs and ability to cover desired information. If all the important information cannot be covered in the first visit, plans will be made for a second visit to cover the other related issues.

    If you have records from any prior evaluation elsewhere, we ask that you have such records forward to our office prior to your Intake Evaluation, if possible, for review by your doctor at FPPA.

  • Q: What should I tell my child about the reason for the first visit?
  • A: Please feel free to explain to your child the reasons for the visit, at the level that you believe your child will understand. If you feel you need more guidance about how to discuss this with your child, you may call the office for additional help. Additionally, if you feel that your child will not understand the reason for the visit, please consider telling your child that you are going together to a doctor who is an expert in understanding children and their emotions, behavior, learning, family and/or school situations. Explain that this is a "talking doctor" and no poking or shots will occur at this doctor's office.

  • Q: Is my visit confidential?
  • A: Yes! While our office is compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), we will not share any information about you or your visit(s) unless you authorize such release or transfer of information. If you would like your records sent to another clinician, we ask that you either fill out one of our "release of records" request forms or that you otherwise execute a written release of information. We take confidentiality very seriously and we follow the legal definitions and parameters of keeping your information private. If you have specific questions about the legal limits of confidentiality, please ask your doctor at FPPA.

  • Q: Are you on any health insurance panels or plans?
  • A: At FPPA, our clinicians are not on any HMO's, managed care panels, or preferred provider lists and are not providers for Medicare/Medicaid. We have found such third-party payers prefer to direct care too much; their primary interest is the cost of the care to them rather than the quality of care you receive. This can be a conflict of interest for you. Many individuals with health insurance have what is called "out of network mental health benefits." Such benefits reimburse you for the cost of your visit at a certain percentage of "usual and customary" rates.

    We collect payment at the time of service. For your convenience, we accept cash, checks and major credit cards. If your financial situation is unique, our Office Manager is available to discuss setting up payment plans as necessary. Additionally, for adolescents frequently seen in the office, specialized billing and/or credit card arrangements can be customized.

    If your situation is different than otherwise described here, please call our office to discuss how we may assist you in obtaining the care you desire.

  • Q: Do you see patients in the hospital?
  • A: While we do collaborate with the local hospitals, psychiatric and non-psychiatric, our practice is an outpatient practice only. Whether you are coming out of the hospital, or going in to a hospital, our doctors will work closely with or recommend a specific doctor for your in-patient needs. For psychiatric hospitalizations, our clinicians work very closely with the inpatient doctor to maximize the efficiency and benefits of your stay. Our goal is to make your continuity of care seamless and as comfortable and efficient as possible. We have the necessary forms in our office to permit exchanges of records and information at your request.

  • Q: Does FPPA provide emergency services?
  • A: Our doctors do provide emergency services for established patients only. During your first visit, and on our office voicemail, we explain how to utilize emergency services from FPPA and from the community. A covering clinician is available for true psychiatric emergencies 24 hours per day, by pager, for emergency phone consultation and planning emergency utilization of community resources. Additional community resources include:

    • Holly Hill Hospital Respond Program. 
      Holly Hill Hospital has a free, 24 hour, in-person assessment team called the "Respond Team" based in the hospital. There is no appointment necessary and this is provided to the community as a valuable service to individuals in need of emergency mental health assessment. To reach the program by phone, simply call the main hospital at 919-250-7000 and ask for the "Respond Program".
    • Your local emergency room. 
      You may utilize your local hospital and emergency room for psychiatric emergencies. All hospitals have the capability to evaluate psychiatric emergencies and provide an acute plan for needed services.
    • Your primary care doctor or 911 for emergency assistance.
  • Q: How do I get records from another doctor forward to FPPA?
  • A: Most doctors will not release your confidential medical or mental health records without your permission. To have records sent to FPPA, simply specifically request that your pertinent records be sent to our office. It is best to make this request in writing and either delivered or faxed to the sending office. Feel free to utilize our "Release of Information" form which you can download from this website or obtain from our office. Records should be sent to:

    Family Psychiatry & Psychology Associates
    1400 Crescent Green - Suite 120
    Cary, North Carolina  27518. 

    Our fax number is 919-233-4168.
  • Q: Does FPPA provide “Second Opinions”?
  • A: Yes. A second opinion is simply another doctor doing a separate, independent evaluation. This second evaluation will result in an "opinion" from the doctor about the diagnosis and treatment plan that can be compared to any prior evaluation(s). It is not uncommon for our clients to have been treated elsewhere prior to coming to FPPA. It is usually more helpful to have all prior mental health records reviewed prior to your first appointment at FPPA so that our doctor can focus more closely on the concerning issue(s) and spend less time on issues previously investigated by other doctors. After the intake evaluation, you are free to follow up with our recommendations with our clinicians or take your treatment elsewhere.

  • Q: I have been referred for psychological testing. What does that mean?
  • A: Children, adolescents, and adults are referred for psychological testing for a broad range of reasons. The types of tests administered are determined by the purpose of the referral. For example, children are sometimes referred for "psychological testing" when they are having trouble in school. In those cases, psychological testing usually involves testing for a learning disability, ADHD, and investigating other cognitive or emotional difficulties that might interfere with learning. The results of the evaluation will often be used to design an educational plan that is most appropriate for the child, including classroom placement and special accommodations/strategies that would improve school performance. An adult who has had chronic difficulty maintaining employment may seek psychological testing to determine whether there are deficits in organizational skills that interfere with good job performance. Results from the evaluation might be used for job placement. Better understanding of strengths and weaknesses may also inform treatment plans for behavioral and/or pharmacological interventions.

    Although there is a lot of variability in the reasons why individuals seek psychological testing, there are some features that are common for all individuals and families receiving their psychological testing at FPPA.

    First, you will have an initial intake meeting with the psychologist. She will gather relevant information about your medical, educational, occupational, family, and social history. For children, adolescents, and adults with memory or other cognitive impairments, it is often helpful to bring along a parent, sibling or other family member who can help provide accurate historic information. After the intake interview, an assessment plan will be made and you will schedule a follow-up testing session.

    Depending on the assessment plan, one or more testing sessions will be needed to gather all of the information. You may also be asked to complete questionnaires, and have others (e.g., caregivers, teachers) complete questionnaires to assist in the diagnostic assessment process. The length and extensiveness of testing will be discussed with you at the time of the intake, and any changes made in the plan will be discussed with you in advance. After the testing session(s) is complete, you will return for a final feedback session. This is an opportunity for the psychologist to provide an integrated summary of the information gathered through the interviews, testing, and questionnaires. This will also be another time to have a discussion with the psychologist about your questions and concerns.

    A comprehensive written report will be generated from this testing process, complete with the information gathered, clinical impressions, and recommendations for appropriate interventions. The psychologist will also be available to consult with others (e.g., teachers, employers) about the findings of testing and the recommendations on an as needed basis.


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