MHConcierged posted a request to a list provided by the MN Board of Psychology (available for $5 on the MBOP website) requesting participating in this survey. The survey was sent out on 10-10-17, with the expectation of posting a summary of the results 2 weeks later (a previous version was sent out on 10-8-17 with a technical glitch – apologies to those who responded promptly and enthusiastically to that one).
I knew that such a survey was novel – was not aware of any previous similar survey, at least locally – but I did not anticipate the consternation that some colleagues would express about such a survey. So, I had to delay posting to research some questions that were raised – and is often the case, the research led to some other questions. These questions have been resolved to my satisfaction, and I am now pleased to be able to post the results.
The idea for the survey came from an article in the APA journal Practice Innovations, Koocher, G. P., & Soibatian, C. (2017). “Understanding Fees in Mental Health Practice.” Practice Innovations, 2(3), 123-135. The authors recommended “being aware of “the normative fees for mental health services in your geographic area” as one important factor for setting your own fees.” So, that was the stimulus for this survey.
Many thanks to the 99 colleagues who responded to the survey. I had hoped for more responses, but some of the feedback indicted that some were wary about participating due to various concerns. I plan to do a follow up survey in two years, and hope for more comfort with participating and more responses the second time around.
The results are aggregated, with no access to individual response (except for voluntary, but anonymous, comments). All of the respondents to the final, technically functional survey were Doctoral psychologists. The data was aggregated for entire State, without information about regional or specific community results.
The results are intended to be strictly “FYI,” with the intent of helping you, perhaps using the very helpful information from the Koocher et al article, think about your own fees in an informed manner. No action beyond this is implied or intended.
Finally – to cut to the chase -here are the results, with the specific fees described by service, with the expectation that you will recognize the billing code that you use for that service:
INFO ABOUT RESPONDANTS
Interestingly, 74.4% of the respondents are in independent or small group practice. Only 2 identified themselves as having a forensic practice, 2 categorized themselves as “other” and the remaining 19 were evenly dispersed among the medium/large group and facility categories.
One respondent does not charge for services, and accepts donations, which accounts for the low end of the range of responses being $0. Also, for a few questions a few respondents answered $0; based on the comments, it appears that they were intending to communicate that they do not provide that service, so I recalculated those scores without all of the $0 answers for those questions. I have included, in parentheses, the results minis the $0 fee responses, and provided the next lowest fee to help understand the range of fees actually charged for each service. The average fee was recalculated without the $0 fee, also provided in parentheses.
RESULTS FOR EACH SERVICE
Initial intake interview
Average fee: $200 ($204)
Range: $0 ($30) to $300
Individual therapy, brief
Average fee: $94 ($95)
Range: $0 ($8) to $175
Individual therapy, intermediate
Average fee: $140 ($142)
Range: $0 ($8) to 210
Individual therapy, extended
Average fee: $169 ($172)
Range: $0 ($8) to $210
Average fee: $155 ($158)
Range: $0 ($3) to $250
Average fee: $73 ($77)
Range: $0 ($18) to $200
Service requiring management of complexity factors (used by only 34 respondents)
Average fee: $112 ($122)
Range: $0 ($21 to $250
Crisis services (used by 45 respondents)
Average fee: $158 ($162)
Range: $0 ($9) to $300
General psychological testing (used by 55 respondents)
Average fee: $149 ($155)
Range: $0 ($47) to $250
Neuropsychological testing (used by only 30 respondents)
Average fee: $133 ($137) (obviously, it is very that this fee is lower than the previous fee)
Range: $0 ($37) to $250
Assessment of behaviors and symptoms related to medical conditions, per 15 minutes (used by only 26 respondents
Average fee: $39 ($43)
Range: $0 to $100
Sliding fee scale
Offered by 50% of respondents.
Finally, several respondents left helpful anonymous comments. Several commented, very appropriately that for those of us who rely on insurance payments for most, if not all, of our business, that at one level it really does not matter what we charge, as what we are paid is determined by contracts with insurance companies. Koocher et al discuss this in their article, with, I believe, some helpful suggestions about how to think about this and whether to have fees higher than what insurance pays (they recommend having higher fees, and have an interesting rational for this).
Once again, thanks to all who responded. Please feel free to pass on the link to the survey results to colleagues who might be interested. Please also consider participating in future MHConciege surveys, which are intended to help inform and support psychologists in the age of managed care.
Richard Sethre, PsyD,LP