In many ways, psychological testing and assessment are similar to medical tests. If a patient has physical symptoms, a primary care provider may order X-rays or blood tests to understand what's causing those symptoms. The results of the tests will help inform develop a treatment plan. Psychological evaluations serve the same purpose. Psychologists use tests and other assessment tools to measure and observe a client's behavior to arrive at a diagnosis and guide treatment.
Psychologists administer tests and assessments for a wide variety of reasons. Children who are experiencing difficulty in school, for example, may undergo aptitude testing or tests for learning disabilities. Tests for skills such as dexterity, reaction time and memory can help a neuropsychologist diagnose conditions such as brain injuries or dementia.
If a person is having problems at work or school, or in personal relationships, tests can help a psychologist understand whether he, she, or they might have issues with anger management or interpersonal skills, or certain personality traits that contribute to the problem. Other tests evaluate whether clients are experiencing emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression.
The underlying cause of a person's problems isn't always clear. For example, if a child is having trouble in school, does he, she, or they have a reading problem such as dyslexia? An attention problem such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Difficulty with impulse control? Psychological tests and assessments allow a psychologist to understand the nature of the problem, and to figure out the best way to go about addressing it.
Common components of an assessment include:
- psychological tests
- surveys and tests
- observational data
- medical and school history
- medical evaluation
What do psychological test measure?
- Mental Health Assessment
- Aptitude Testing
- Cognitive Testing
- Educational/Achievement Testing
- Personality Assessment
Why are psychological evaluations done?
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) points out several signs and symptoms that might be an indication a psychological evaluation might be needed. These include the following:
- changes in mood
- social withdrawal
- changes in your sleep or eating habits
- difficulty concentrating
- trouble performing your usual tasks
- a lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
Clinical interview: This stage consists of a face-to-face or telehealth interview reviewing various aspects of your history, presenting concerns, reason for the evaluation, and determination of applicable testing.
Testing session: A battery of psychological and/or neuropsychological tests will be selected to answer the referral question. The testing location will depend on the types of tests selected. Some tests might require administration at the office while others can be completed online. Length of the session depends on the referral question. For a comprehensive evaluation to assess cognitive functioning, possible attention deficits, mood, and/or personality functioning, a three-hour testing session is typically required. For pre-surgical evaluations required by insurance plans for individuals seeking bariatric surgery or spinal cord stimulator implantation, the testing session is approximately one hours in duration. After the testing is completed, Dr. Nehring scores and interprets all tests and writes the report.
Feedback session: For standard psychological evaluations, the feedback session is scheduled three to four weeks after the testing session. At that time, you will be provided with a copy of your report and Dr. Nehring will explain the testing results, diagnostic impressions, and treatment recommendations. For pre-surgical and forensic evaluations, a feedback session is optional unless a concern that must be addressed prior to surgery is identified. The report is sent directly to your surgeon.
For pre-surgical evaluations, your insurance will be billed to your insurance for the cost of the evaluation. For private pay cases, sessions are billed at the rate mentioned above for the intake interview and the psychological testing. The number of hours required will vary depending on the tests selected. The testing hours also include the time needed to score and interpret tests and write the report.
You should be aware that, pursuant to HIPAA, I keep Protected Health Information about you in your Clinical Record. It includes information about your reasons for seeking testing, a description of the ways in which your problem impacts your life, your diagnosis, your medical and social history, your treatment history, any past treatment records that I receive from other providers, reports of any professional consultations, your billing records, and any reports that have been sent to anyone, including reports to your insurance carrier. Except in unusual circumstances that involve harm to yourself, you may examine and/or receive a copy of your Clinical Record if you request it in writing. Because these are professional records, they can be misinterpreted and/or upsetting to untrained readers. For this reason, I recommend that you initially review them in my presence or have them forwarded to another mental health professional so you can discuss the contents. In most circumstances, I am allowed to charge a copying fee of $0.25 per page (and for certain other expenses).
BILLING AND PAYMENTS:
You will be expected to pay at the time of the report of findings, unless we agree otherwise or unless you have insurance coverage that requires another arrangement. Payment schedules for other professional services will be considered when they are requested. In circumstances of unusual financial hardship, I may be willing to negotiate a payment installment plan.
If your account has not been paid for more than 60 days and arrangements for payment have not been agreed upon, I have the option of using legal means to secure the payment. This may involve hiring a collection agency or going through small claims court, which will require me to disclose otherwise confidential information. In most collection situations, the only information I release regarding a patient’s treatment is his/her/their name, the nature of services provided, and the amount due. If such legal action is necessary, its costs will be included in the claim.
If you have a health insurance policy, it will usually provide some coverage for psychological testing. I will fill out pre-authorization forms when needed and provide you with whatever assistance I can in helping you receive the benefits to which you are entitled; however, you (not your insurance company) are responsible for full payment of my fees. It is very important that you find out exactly what mental health services your insurance policy covers. If you have questions about the coverage, call your plan administrator.
You should also be aware that your contract with your health insurance company requires that I provide it with information relevant to the services that I provide to you. I am required to provide a clinical diagnosis and brief substantiation of that diagnosis. Sometimes, I am required to provide additional clinical information. This information is limited to the dates of treatment and a brief description of the services provided. This information will become part of the insurance company files and will probably be stored in a computer. Though all insurance companies claim to keep such information confidential, I have no control over what they do with it once it is in their hands. In some cases, they may share the information with a national medical information databank. I will provide you with a copy of any report I submit, if you request it. By signing this Agreement, you agree that I can provide requested information to your carrier.
Most insurance companies cover psychological testing. However, you will have to check that Dr. Nehring is in network and that if preauthorization is required.
If preauthorization is needed, we will request it from your insurance company.
Dr. Nehring is in network with: