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Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 669
Experience:  LMSW, CASAC
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A councelor surprised me with a large bill last Dec. 2015.(I

Customer Question

A councelor surprised me with a large bill last Dec. 2015.(I didn't have insurance at the time and my BF was paying for my bill and a year passed with only using her services periodically and my bf paid upfront for therapy services) Without any prior monthly statements a year went by and the councelor demanded $3,800 payment within two weeks or she would send me to collections. I asked for a copy of my medial file and any other documents I signed including clarification of dates and times and more information for items that were questionable. She refused to do so and said her information was just correct. I live in WA state and have a right to my medical records including documents i signed for services.
I sent another certified letter and emailed a copy to this person for the same information i requested the first time.
They accepted the letter, didn't open it and then returned it to the post office to return to sender.
Will my email serve as their understanding that I requested the same documents? OR do I now need to higher a company that serves letters in person and how can a professional refuse to provide further detials of their services but expect me to accept her total as being accurate. Personally I feel like I am being scamed by this therapist who is trying to double charge me for billing after taking payments from my BF.
Last but not least I saw this therapist because my son claimed his father touched him inapropriately. During this time I gave her permission to talk to CPS, the GAL. But she never did she mention that she would charge me for such.
All the other counselors who helped my son didn't charge to talk to one another or my son's psychiatrist or the GAL etc.
An example is this person would charge me to talk to the GAL for 3 hours but the GAL would only indicate that she spoke to that councelor for only .8 of an hour.
I don't understand how someone can just bill and have no explanations. She would also try to charge me for emails that she didn't respond to. The counselor for my son would never charge my son's insurance for any extra work.
I'm confused and feel like this person is trying to take advantage of me financially for after I was no longer her client she still rang up a bill talking to other people she did not have permission to talk to. This is something that could of been worked out just by having that person supply the information I requested. My estimate is that there was a small bill owed that my BF didn't cover of maybe $700-$1,200 but not $3,800.
What to do
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Dear *****tine, I am so sorry that you have had to deal with this situation from a professional you trusted to help you. There is so much about this situation that is unethical and unprofessional toward you the client. You should not have to deal with this alone. professionals who are licensed to practice as therapists and counselors are accountable to their licensing board. Can you tell me this therapists credentials? Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Linda,
Thank you for your reply
The therapists credentials are PH.D. & PLLC and they are licensed in Washington state.
I even spoke to the Office of Health Professions and Facilities/Washington State Department of Health and they said that by law they have to give you copies of your records and any documents I signed. But they refuse to do so or tell me I signed a document asking not to keep records (I don't remember doing such) but won't even give me a copy of that. I believe per Heppa Law she has to keep records.This could of easily been rectified by the person giving me my documents and answering the questionable billing to resolve such. But they wont.What I could really use is some sort of document indicating what a therapist in WA state can only charge you for.For example she says she spoke to CPS for 1 hour x 2 in a day.
What it looks like she did is if she spoke to someone for 5-10 minutes she still charged for an hour. My child's life wasn't endangered he was traumatized so there was no reason why even CPS would talk to her for 2 hours in 1 day. They don't have time to waists
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This therapist world independently from their homeEven the times/dates she has on her calendar when she would see both my bf and I don't match our calendar and my bf always paid after we visited.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Due to this
Which is s bill that just needed to be problem solved and clarified;
This person has caused me distress. When she demanded a pay in full last dec in 2wks of providing me a bill I was in the middle of preparing to take the father to trial. Then I find out after she tried to send me to collections that she was just going to take me to small claims. Now I have waisted several days of work to figure out what is even fair on her billing based upon the laws and what info she won't provide me with.I have no problem paying what is fair. To make matters worse I was discharged from a chapter 13 last November as part of a hardship discharge.
When I was no longer a patient she found out from my bf that I sold my house (after the discharge in order to pay to protect my son in trial) I only made $18k last year due to my son not doing well and I don't have a way to pay in full now. I have no extra money and no way to obtain credit or a loan for another year or so.I
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Christine, I believe you when you say that you do not believe you owe her the amount of money she is saying and that you do have a right to get your records and the dates of your sessions in writing from her. When you contacted the Office of Health professions did you talk to them about filing a complaint wit them and did you ask if they can help you to resolve this? I can not imagine that she would jeopardize her license in this way. I would like to suggest that you do not pay her anything until she gives you your records and a bill with dates of service; time of the session/contact and the charge for that service. The fact that you notified her via email is sufficient. I don't think there is anything else you can do that you haven't done, except file a complaint as i suggested. They would then have to investigate the matter. My goodness, this is one of the most unprofessional treatments of a client I have heard of. Linda

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the Office of Health Professionals mentioned I can file a complaint - if it caused me mental harm.To me this isn't about mental harm, sure unnecessary distress but more so an unethical situation.Were you able to tell me where to look up what the state allows therapist to charge for "other work" as in emails and talking to CPS or the GAL for my son who wasn't even a client of hers.Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That office also told me they can't make her given me the info even if they get involved. So I'll go to small claims with this person who will not cooperate and her word is supposed to be golden. Is not good business not fair.
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

I can not find anything nor am I aware of any guidelines that suggest what a psychologist can charge foe various services. however, I am going to give you the link to the American Psychological Associations guidelines for record keeping for psychologists. You may find some of their guidelines helpful. I guess I think the way you have been treated is about mental harm, as well as professional ethics, and I wonder if you could ever trust a mental health professional again in the future after this. You may also want to consult with the American Psychological Association and see if they can guide you on how to best get this situation resolved. Here is the website with their record keeping guidelines: https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/record-keeping.pdf

I wish I could be of more help. I will continue to be here in any way I can. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Your welcome, I wish you all the best. Please take a moment to rate my service to you, I would truly appreciate it. Linda