Moak Center for Healthy Aging Practice Membership Fee
Patients who come to the Moak Center for Healthy Aging for an evaluation and then wish to continue to receive ongoing services must pay an annual membership fee of $300. You DO NOT have to pay this fee to come for a consultation at the Moak Center. It applies only if you decide to become a regular patient. The practice membership fee is an out-of-pocket expense, and it is not covered by insurance. It is non-refundable, and does not include any co-payments or deductibles required by your insurance company. Our initial evaluation may take from one to four visits, so you have some time to decide whether or not to pay the fee. If you decide not to pay the fee, we will send a report of our evaluation, with recommendations, to your other doctors, if you wish.
Why do we charge it a practice membership fee? The answer is complicated. Geriatric psychiatrists are in short supply. Nationally, there are fewer than 1400 certified geriatric psychiatrists. The need is certainly there, so why is there such a shortage? The reason is financial. Medicare payments have not kept up with the costs of providing the complex care older adults need. Doctors who specialize in geriatrics cannot make up for this from payments they receive for the care of younger patients. As a result, geriatric specialty practice is not viable financially. Because of this, many physicians are taking fewer Medicare patients and some have stopped altogether. Older patients are having more and more difficulty finding physicians to see them. We decided to charge a practice membership fee when we reached the breaking point. Without it, we would be unable to continue to treat the many older patients and their families who depend upon us.
The practice membership fee allows us to continue providing the following services:
- Spending time on the phone providing advice, guidance, consulting, and telephone management, when needed.
- No charge for appointments that are missed with less than 24-hour notice.
- Copying and sending records to your other healthcare providers at your request.
- Providing duplicate prescriptions to replace those lost or misplaced.
- Spending the time on the phone with your insurance company obtaining the approval they may require for your prescriptions, and appealing denials of coverage on your behalf.
- Filling out forms you need for insurance, day programs, assisted living facilities, Veterans Administration benefits, etc.
- Writing letters on your behalf (except for those sent as part of your care to your other doctors).
The practice membership fee allows us to provide other benefits:
- If you come to an appointment without knowing your current insurance or cannot provide correct, updated insurance information, or do not have prior authorization from your primary care physician (HMO patients), we will see you anyway.
- No charge for repeatedly rescheduling appointments for transportation problems, illness, conflicts with other doctor appointments, or other similar reasons.
- Complementary subscription to our online newsletter
- 24-hour, 7-day per week emergency availability by telephone
We hope the practice membership fee will seem fair and reasonable, and that it will not prevent older people with mental health problems from being able to see us for the help they need.