M. Christina Benson, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A

Psychiatry-Psychotherapy-Psychoanalysis

Office Policies & Procedures

  1. Confidentiality: Communications are confidential and generally no information will be released without your consent, except for the following situations: By law, I am required to report suspected child or elder abuse, domestic violence, and take action when a patient is considered to be a danger to themselves or others. In addition, while no patient identifying information is shared, I do, on occasion obtain professional consultation for my cases. In addition, confidential files must be released when presented by a waiver signed by you for insurance or medical legal purposes.
  2. Cancellation Policy: FAILURE TO PROVIDE 48 HOURS CANCELLATION NOTICE AND MISSED APPOINTMENTS WILL BE BILLED AT FULL FEE. I understand that personal schedules change but the time slot has been saved for you. It is your responsibility to keep track of your appointment. If I am able to fill the time you have canceled, you will not be charged for it.
  3. Payments: For new patients, payment is due at the end of the first consultation. For ongoing patients, patients are billed at the end of every month. Payment is due within 10 days. A credit card will be held on file to guarantee payment but will not be charged without notification.
  4. Insurance: I am not a contracted provider with insurance companies. Services are not rendered on the basis that your insurance company will reimburse you. If you have insurance, you will be provided with an insurance statement to submit to your insurance company but you are responsible for payment in full. Check your health insurance coverage for Out-of-Network outpatient mental health care to determine your possible reimbursement.
  5. Length of Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. Some people respond to short-term treatment (e.g. after 12 or so sessions). When people have had their symptoms for a long time or have a complicated clinical picture, longer-term treatment may be necessary. Some disorders may require continuing care or multiple episodes of care. After the initial evaluation, I am usually able to give patients some idea of what length and kind of treatment would be optimal. See the Length of Treatment section for more information.
  6. Rates: My rates are comparable to those of other adult psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in the West Los Angeles area. You should contact me directly to discuss fees for treatment.
  7. Telephone Support: Telephone calls are recognized as patient care by the American Medical Association and may replace the need for an office visit. Telephone calls (with you, a member of your family, other practitioner and/or your insurance company), emails, document preparation, and other requirements of my time and expertise lasting longer than 10 minutes will be charged at my usual rate. Please remember that no contact will occur without your permission.
  8. Returned Checks: Checks returned by the bank will be charged a $35 fee.
  9. Emails: Emails should not be used for complicated patient care as they are not confidential.

Medication & Refill Policies

The following guidelines need to be followed to assure optimum continuity for you and your medications.

  1. I request that you provide me with your most recent physical exam and lab results done by your primary care physician. This should also include a list of all current medications. It is your responsibility to notify me immediately of any side effects of your medication.
  2. Authorization for prior mental health treatment needs to be signed so my office can get important clinical information.
  3. You need to advise me any time another physician starts you on a new medication, or if there is a change in your health status.
  4. Insurance companies allow only a 30 day supply of medication at a time unless you use a mail away prescription plan which allows a 60 or 90 day supply.
  5. Please anticipate any refill needs and discuss it during the office visit. Refill requests may take up to 48 hours to be available at your pharmacy. If you have been unable to get refills during our scheduled visit, I suggest you initiate contact with your pharmacy by the end of the week. I am unable to refill stimulants that are requested on the weekends.
  6. When needed, ask your pharmacy to fax refill requests to 323-938-9209.
  7. My adult patients are responsible for getting blood work done once a year. I can order this for you, or you may have your primary physician order it.