Questions to Ask a Provider

Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your first appointment with a mental health provider to decide if they will work for you. Here is a checklist of common questions. Decide which ones are most important to you and bring them with you.

  1. What are your credentials?
  2. Are you licensed in this state?
  3. What level of education do you have?
  4. Do you have a particular approach, expertise or training?
  5. What experience do you have treating people with my condition?
  6. In your practice, do you have someone who prescribes medicine?
  7. Do you deal directly with my insurance plan or do I need to?
  8. How much will treatment cost me? Am I responsible for a co-payment?
  9. Do you have admitting privileges at a hospital?
  10. Are you willing to communicate with my other doctors and therapists to coordinate care?
  1. How hard is it to schedule an appointment?
  2. What times are you available to see me?
  3. How often do you recommend seeing me?
  4. Do you accept walk-in appointments?
  5. Do you require appointments for everything or can I conduct some transactions (refills, adjustments, referrals) over the phone?
  6. What happens if I need to cancel or change an appointment? Is there a fee?
  7. What can I expect during a typical appointment? How long will it last?
  8. Will I get time to ask questions?
  9. Will you be asking about other elements of my life?
  10. Do I have to talk about things I do not want to?
  1. How hard is it to contact you outside of business hours?
  2. Do you charge for non-emergency consults after hours?
  3. Will I be able to contact you in an emergency?
  4. Do you have an off-site receptionist during off-hours to assist me in the case of an emergency?
  5. If you aren’t available, is there a staff member who is “on call”?
  6. What kind of other staff do you use – interns, students, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, etc?
  1. What are the risks and benefits associated with my treatment?
  2. How soon could I expect to see signs of feeling better?
  3. How long will my therapy sessions last?
  1. Are there going to be side effects to my medication?
  2. Are there alternative treatments that would be beneficial to recovery?
  3. Will symptoms return in the future? What will the warning signs be?

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