How do I make an appointment with a clinician at The Johnson Center?
When do I schedule our follow-up?
It’s best to make a follow-up appointment at the end of each appointment. Generally, follow-ups are available and appropriate in 6-8 weeks.
Do you bill insurance?
Due to the variability of insurance benefits, we do not. We assist you by providing invoices with the appropriate coding and HCFA forms to submit to your carrier for reimbursement. You are responsible for payment, which is due at the time of service, unless other arrangements have been made. Grant funding, assistance with insurance benefits, and other support programs are available for those in need; discuss these options with the Family Care Coordinator.
What are your fees?
Consultations and follow-ups are billed from $25 to $390 per hour, pro-rated in 15-minute increments; only the time spent on the patient’s care is billed. Speak to the Family Care Coordinator for more information or to discuss financial support options.
What is your cancellation policy?
There is a strict cancellation policy because so many families are urgently seeking care. Whether the consult is via phone, Skype, or in our office, all new-patient appointments require seven business days’ notice for cancellation, and all follow-up appointments require 48 hours’ (two business days) notice for cancellation. If timely notice is not given, there will be a charge equal to 50% of the scheduled consultation fee.
How long is a typical appointment?
Appointment times vary based on individual need. Generally a first appointment will take between one and two hours. The first follow-up, when you will review any lab results or data collection and monitor the beginning of any prescribed intervention, can last 30 minutes to an hour. As a general rule, later follow-ups take 15 to 45 minutes.
May I email if I have questions between follow-ups?
We are able to answer many questions via email, but complex issues can only be addressed with an appointment, particularly questions that require laboratory or data interpretation. If there is any clinical decision or recommendation involved (for example, concerning a prescription for medication), there will be a charge based on how much time the clinician spends discussing it with you, including via email.
Please keep in mind that our office can receive hundreds of emails daily, so reading and providing answers takes considerable time for our clinicians and clinical staff, as well as the office staff.
What laboratory tests do you require?
Usually none prior to an initial consultation. This is because we can’t know what background information we’ll need to inform an approach until we see your child. After meeting with a clinician, certain laboratory investigations may be recommended. The charges for lab tests vary, and are not included in the consultation costs. Some tests are covered by most insurance companies, some not. Your clinician will assist you in determining which tests are absolutely necessary—you shouldn’t hesitate to mention financial concerns. Any lab fee is billed by and paid to the lab directly by you.
What are the average lab costs?
This is based on individual need. Many lab tests are covered by insurance plans, but plans vary greatly. The nurse and physician can assist you in determining what laboratory tests, if any, are needed and what the costs may be.
What other costs may be involved?
Some fees that you might expect to be billed to you are:
Blood Draw (Phlebotomy): $60
Blood Processing: $10 to $60, depending on the number of specific tests.
Letters: We are often asked to write letters on behalf of our families, such as requests for adjunct therapies, leave of absence for parents, physical forms, and letters that clarify “medical necessity.” We must bill for the time required for each of these, as sometimes these require an in-depth review.
Medication Refills: Have your pharmacy fax us with a medication refill request. Refills must be determined carefully, sometimes involving extensive review.
Why should we see a nutritionist or dietician?
Because children affected by developmental disorders are vulnerable to inadequate nutrition, balanced advice on nutritional intervention is particularly important for them. Additionally, nutritional status assessment is a crucial component of determining an overall intervention plan for any client.
What can I expect in the first dietetic report?
It contains an assessment of your child’s baseline nutritional needs, an evaluation of your child’s current supplement protocol, detailed information on dietary recommendations, and answers to any particular questions or concerns that you raised in the initial consultation. The diet summary includes calorie and nutrition analysis of your child’s current intake as well as proposed additions, and a basic plan. It might also include an outline of supplementation timing and dosage, and recommendations on including or discontinuing certain supplements.
Do you see out-of-state patients?
Yes, we have patients from 49 states and 54 countries. Many follow-up appointments are completed as Skype or phone consults, but keep in mind that we must see every patient at least once per year.
I already have my child on an “autism diet”; do I still need to see a nutritionist?
We believe there is no “autism diet.” Many children on gluten-free and casein-free diets (GFCF), other elimination diets, or the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), aren’t meeting their nutritional requirements for growth and health, despite a family’s best intentions.
Objective evaluation of a child’s current and ongoing dietary status can provide you with valuable information about appropriate (and inappropriate) foods and products. Review by a trained nutritionist or dietitian offers insight into changes and additions, some of them quite small, which can be extremely beneficial to a child’s health and well-being.
What follow-up is needed?
A follow-up appointment is scheduled approximately six weeks after the initial intake, to review questions or concerns you might have about changes in diet and supplementation; it also provides you with an opportunity to discuss goals for further dietary and nutrition intervention. Later appointments are scheduled on a case-by-case basis, and our clinicians must see clients annually.