How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 34272
Experience:  Attorney with 16 years litigation experience
19958803
Type Your Personal Injury Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

After spending a month in a mental institution ideation,

Customer Question

After spending a month in a mental institution for suicide ideation, Trauma and manic depression - I was ready for outpatient therapy. I connected in March '15 with an LPC. We spent twice a week together. Just 2 weeks ago I told her the voices were back and they wanted me to get a gun.
Last night (monday) at 8pm I receive a termination of therapy. Below is cut and pasted exactly as she wrote it. Before reading, keep in the back of your mind I have spent over 78 hours w this LPC and all, but one. were paid by my BCBSTX plan.
"We continue to have issues with your insurance company who is now auditing all the claims for 2015. It is our policy with the marketplace insurance companies to suspend clients who are in their grace period or when insurance denies claims unless the client is willing to pay full price for sessions. BCBS may be paying some the of the claims, if the premium is not caught up before the three month grace period expires, I have to repay all of these claims. It would be a huge financial liability to me if I have to repay these claims due to nonpayment of your premium.
At this time, there are claims from September that have denied and we have received 4 letters from BCBS in the last two weeks indicating that you are in the second or third month of nonpayment on your premiums.
We believe it is best to terminate counseling and I am providing you referrals to other therapists in the general area who may be more willing to work with the insurance concerns. I'm sorry this has to happen, but I simply cannot take on the financial liability."
Now there were issues w my plan that were direct fault of the marketplace, not to mention at no time were claims denied. Now I sit, 8 months later, alone and confused. My family has begun to once again worry that I might try something, but as of now I am safe, just hurt and depressed. I have everything documented (mostly emails).
Does anything in the above leave you to believe there is a possible therapy malpractice? Here I go, having to build trust in another therapist and start from scratch........
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

.

Unfortunately, in a situation like this, in the same way that a patient can "fire" their therapist and go to another one, the therapist has the right to "fire" the patient for whatever reason they choose to do so. A patient can't be forced to see a specific therapist and a therapist can't be forced to see a specific patient.

.

If they are having problems being compensated for their efforts or treatment, then that would be an understandable reason why they would choose to terminate any services.

.

So to answer your question directly, no, this wouldn't be considered malpractice for them terminating your services due to payment issues.

.

I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your answer. I am now seeing an actual PhD psychologist. We spent 2 sessions discussing the situation linked to my question to you and my Dr said that without a doubt there has been a few areas of liability that the LPC had crossed. Perhaps I didn't paint the entire story better to you. Payment was never an issue for 58 sessions, even if there was, the contract I signed w my LPC when I started stated a completely different policy. My Dr told me there are many areas of ethics that were violated. One of the biggest is even terminating the relationship, I was supposed to have a termination session .... which I was never offered....
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome. I am not an expert on medical ethics as I am not a doctor, so I would have to defer to the psychologist if they feel that the previous therapist violated some type of medical ethics rules. But ethical rules aren't laws and while they could result in some type of sanctions from any medical licensing board, that wouldn't necessarily give grounds to a cause of action for malpractice if the therapist was professionally treating you up until the time that they made the decision to terminate services. Terminating services doesn't equal malpractice. Providing poor services or unprofessional services or improper services could be malpractice, but ending the relationship due to financial reasons wouldn't rise to the level of malpractice in my opinion.

.

But opinions vary and you might be able to locate a local medical malpractice attorney who felt that this was malpractice enough to take on the case and file suit for some type of damages..

.

.

thanks

Barrister