MHConcierge requested community info – and got 373 responses!

Copyright MHConcierge 2021 – you are welcome to share the link to this post but use for commercial purposes without permission is forbidden.

BACKGROUND

I did an initial survey about fees charged by Minnesota mental health clinicians in 2017. The idea for the survey came from an article in the APA journal Practice Innovations,  Koocher, & Soibatian,  (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.”  99 colleagues responded to my invitation to participate, all Doctoral psychologists.  Quite a few potential participants informed me, sometimes in pretty strong language, that they declined to participate due to concerns about somehow getting into trouble based on “I have heard that you can get into trouble for discussing fees.”

Legal Issues

For the initial survey I invited colleagues to participate by posting on several professional listservs and social networking sites.  I received very strong pushback from a representative of the Minnesota Psychological Association, who was concerned that I would put the association at risk for “anti-trust activity” and also that I was putting myself at risk (by just inviting members to participate in a survey about fees).

I consulted an attorney who is contracted with MPA, who did a lot of research and eventually concluded that groups of providers or, in particular, members of professional organizations who discuss fees with the intent of organizing in order to lobby for increased reimbursement by managed care organizations are indeed at risk for anti-trust troubles.  In particular, a professional organization would risk losing their tax-exempt status, which would probably put the organization out of business. But, the lawyer opined, this is not what I was doing, and he was “neutral” about my survey but he also opined that it I provided a disclaimer about anti-trust issues “you will probably be OK.”

It appears that the clearest risk would be for professional organizations allowing, or promoting, discussion of setting fees on the organization’s official listserv.  Here is a document from the American Psychological Association with examples of what is “OK” and “not OK” (with some discussion of fees actually allowed).

So, I proceeded with the initial survey, did not get into trouble, and received a lot of support for doing it. I therefore planned to do a follow-up survey in a few years to update and expand the info.


Here is my current disclaimer:

Use of the results of this survey by groups of clinicians with the goal of acting together to set fees as a group is prohibited, and doing so may create risk of anti-trust consequences for the discussants.  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.


RESULTS

Many thanks to the 373 colleagues who responded to the survey.  The majority of responses, 357, were from psychologists (267 doctoral, 90 masters). I received 16 responses from Social Workers, LMFTs and LPCs. I will provide the results in three categories: doctoral psychologists, masters psychologists and miscellaneous clinicians.

The results are aggregated, with no access to individual responses. The data was aggregated for the entire State, without information about regional or specific community results.  The results are rounded to the nearest full digit for ease of presentation and analysis.

INFO ABOUT RESPONDANTS    

Interestingly, 75% of the respondents are in independent or small group practice (which I categorized as 1-5 clinicians). This is identical to the results of the first survey. The rest of the respondents were about equally in the remaining work setting categories.

RESULTS FOR EACH SERVICE – in dollars

Service                                    Current responses                  2017 Responses


90791

Doctoral Psychologist                             220                                      200

Masters Psychologist                              189

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       188


90832

Doctoral Psychologist                             106                                        95

Masters Psychologist                              88

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       89


90834                                                            

Doctoral Psychologist                             156                                        140

Masters Psychologist                              137

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       129


90837

Doctoral Psychologist                             187                                        169

Masters Psychologist                              162

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       162


90847

Doctoral Psychologist                             173                                          155

Masters Psychologist                              156

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       163


90853

Doctoral Psychologist                             73                                             73

Masters Psychologist                              68

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       55


Psychological Testing (per hour)

Doctoral Psychologist                             172                                            149

Masters Psychologist                              142

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       154


Neuropsychological testing

Doctoral Psychologist                             163                                             133

Masters Psychologist                              137

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       156


HBAI – assessment, per hour                                                           

Doctoral Psychologist                             53                                         39 (per ¼ hour)

Masters Psychologist                              52

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       52


HBAI – intervention

Doctoral Psychologist                             34                                          not asked

Masters Psychologist                              35

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       28


Sliding fee scale offered

not dollars, percentage

for this one only

                                                  

Doctoral Psychologist                             58 %                                            50%

Masters Psychologist                              58%

Miscellaneous Clinicians                       80%


And, finally, here is a little info about forensic fees. Unfortunately, I forgot to add a question for this category, but fortunately three respondents added info about their fees in the narrative section:  $250, $280 and $350, for an average of $293.


I leave you to do your own analysis of the info above.  Many thanks to the participants.

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