Anyone have experience with geographically distant family therapy?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by torycf, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. torycf

    torycf New Member

    I guess more than anything this is a vent ...My son is in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) about 250 miles from where we live...As part of his treatment plan, our insurance (not the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) requires that we have a GDFT (geographically distant family therapist) with us on our end during our weekly telephone family therapy sessions. We have not found one yet (we have just done the family therapy with us on our end and our son and his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) therapist on their end). The insurance will not let us use the therapist we were using before and it is a major pain to find a therapist around here with openings and who will take our insurance-much less cooperate with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) billing wise. We have just found out (via the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) not our insurance) that if we do not find a GDFT by the 27th (5 days from now) that our son will have to be discharged. Most of the therapists around here won't even return calls and our case manager at the insurance won't help us find someone (I've asked...) So, Monday morning I will be calling every therapist in the area AGAIN (and I have major phone phobia) trying to find someone...Otherwise, our insurance has been great so I guess I really shouldn't complain. It just seems like such a waste of time and resources.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No experience with that here- but honestly, it sounds a bit suspect to me. I've had trouble finding two therapists who agree on anything, except that it's all my fault- but they don't agree on why (one says I didn't spank enough, another says I was too easy, etc), and I find it hard to believe that any Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will be happy with you just finding "some" therapist around to sit with you while you're on the phone or they will discharge your difficult child. That almost sounds like an excuse to me because they know you can't find it. But I'm pessimistic when it comes to tdocs these days and many people in a "system" so maybe others can come along with better insight. I hope so.

    Beyond that- Welcome! You've found a great place and many here have more experiences and better stories to tell than mine- hang in there!
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Who is paying for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?

    Have you talked to an insurance supervisor about why two therapists are needed for family therapy?

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Ask the ins co for a list of providers contracted with the co to provide this service. I there is no one in your area then I suspect you have cause for having this requirement waived.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If no one in your area will treat you for this, your ins co will have to accept your therapist IF your therapist is willing to sign a limited contract with them, accepting their payment and submitting treatment guidelines to them.

    they also should be required to give you an extension.

    If you cannot find a therapist, is there a university with a psychology dept - preferably a Masters/PhD program? You will be able to find a number for campus info, and look up the profs in the psychiatric dept. then get their office numbers and teh dept secretary/dept head phone number. Call the professors and ask if they do this, or would do this for this situation. Ask them who they would recommend, as time is short.

    Call the dept secretary first. Ask her if any of the profs do private or clinic counselling. Ask who is the head of the graduate program. The graduate program may be able to work with your ins to provide this. It would be a very good learning experience for the students. They will be very close to graduating with a master's or phd and sessions will problem be recorded for their supervisor to hear if the supervisor is not there. The supervisor will be a professor who is a licensed therapist. Billing would be done under the profs name or the univ's name.

    I have not heard of this, but I think it will become more common soon. I wonder if they would accept a video conference with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) therapist able to see you if there is no one in your area who can provide what you want/need? Then all you would need to do is make sure the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) has a webcam and that you do. It would be cheaper to send a webcam to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) rather than pay for this second therapist.

    Just some thoughts. Univ profs are EXCELLEMT resources - they will problem know a number of tdocs in the area.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Definitely. Typically it's the job of the insurance company to provide you with a list of providers that they are already contracted with. Check their website and if you don't find a list there, call them. It's highly unusual that an insurance company would have you do cold calling trying to find one that is already contracted with them, or who would contract with them.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wasnt quite as far as you are from my sons Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but we did phone therapy twice a month and in person therapy the other two times a month. Obviously we had therapy every week. They did it this way so we wouldnt have to drive to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) every week.
  8. torycf

    torycf New Member

    Thank you for all of the replies-I will def be calling the insurance company regarding this matter tomorrow (as I already have several times...). I would think (and I have asked) that they would be able to refer me to someone in my area who is familiar with this "protocol" but they say they can't tell from their records (so I think they should have a database of contracted therapists willing to do this). They just keep referring me to the online list of local therapists and basically saying I need to "cold call" until I find someone. A sympathetic customer service rep at the insurance company said a lot of people in CA (where we are) also have issues finding a local therapist willing to do this because all of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s that our insurance is willing to pay for are out of state. The insurance is paying for the bulk of the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) treatment and I am very grateful for this because otherwise there is no way we could afford this. We pay $40/day co-pay until we hit our catastrophic cap-then we do not have to pay anything.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    They may only have a list of therapists under contract, not the ones who do this special therapy. I think you will need to insist on a supervisor, explain all the ones you have called (whether they returned calls or not) and state that you have been unable to find a provider so far and need an extension on the deadline.

    You may have to insist on a supervisor several times - once to start, then that persons super, then that ones, etc.. until you find someone with the power to give the extension. Be patient and polite but do not waver in wanting a supervisor.

    If needed, use an online business database (like Hoover's Online) to find the CEO for the insurance co. Too much difficulty or unwilling supervisors? Call said CEO. I have NEVER called a CEO's office and not gotten results, so I recommend it!

    Good Luck!