Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a doctor’s referral to access psychological services?
A doctor’s referral is not required. In some cases a medical doctor will make a referral for a child or youth to receive a psychological assessment, but this is not a requirement in order to access our service. (Please note that your extended health plan may require a physician’s referral in order to provide reimbursement for psychological services, and we recommend that you review plan prior to scheduling an appointment at our office.)
What are the costs of a psychological assessment?
The costs of assessments vary depending on the age of the child and the referral questions. At present, the typical cost of a psychoeducational assessment is $1680. The cost of an autism spectrum disorder evaluation is $2240 (there may be a reduction in cost if a recent psychoeducational evaluation has been completed). If the child is seen through the Interior Health Children’s Assessment Network, the costs are covered by the provincial government (contact 250-712-0416 for more information about the IHCAN program). Please speak with your family physician or pediatrician regarding a referral to IHCAN if you are looking for an ASD or FASD assessment.
Accepted payment forms are by cash or cheque only. Payment is expected at the time of service. We will issue a receipt to you to forward to your Extended Health Benefits Plan for reimbursement or to retain as a medical expense for income tax purposes, if applicable.
Are the costs of psychological assessment covered by insurance?
Many extended health plans provide some coverage for psychological services. Check your plan for specific information. Your coverage can be discussed with our office further when you call to book an appointment. We do not directly bill extended health plans but we work carefully with you to insure that we provide you with the necessary documentation to meet your plan’s needs and to maximize your coverage.
How long does an assessment take?
The time required varies depending on the type of assessment requested and the complexity of the presenting issues. On average, our assessments require between 10 and 15 hours of the psychologist’s time. This includes time for direct testing with the child, meeting with parents, scoring, and report writing, as well as a final feedback meeting. Much of the psychologist’s work is done “behind the scenes” and involves reviewing past notes, school and psychology reports about the child, scoring and interpreting the results of tests, formulating diagnostic impressions, consulting with colleagues and writing a final report. This work is included the standard assessment fee. Time required for direct testing varies depending on the age of the child. Assessments with older children are typically conducted over a single day (often 4-6 hours of testing with breaks provided) although there are some cases where we may book the assessment over two or more sessions. Assessments for younger children typically take half a day (typically 1.5-3 hours). Feedback meetings may occur on the same day of the assessment or may be scheduled on a separate day.
Who conducts the assessment?
Our psychologists work together with a trained Master’s level psychological assistant (psychometrician) to conduct assessments in an efficient manner. Your child will work with the psychologist but may also work with the psychological assistant for a portion of the time, such as when the psychologist is meeting with parents to gather relevant background information. In some cases, our psychologists work as a team to complete the assessments. In the case of a private autism evaluation, two psychologists will be involved in a portion of the assessment in order to ensure diagnostic reliability.
What are the outcomes of a psychological assessment?
The psychologist will meet with you to discuss the assessment findings, including any diagnoses and primary recommendations. You will also receive a written report that provides detailed documentation of the assessment findings and related recommendations. Recommendations may include referrals to relevant service providers and supportive agencies.
What happens to the personal information I share with a psychologist?
Information shared with a psychologist is confidential and cannot be disclosed without the client’s consent except under certain specific conditions concerning a child’s safety or where our information is subpoenaed in court proceedings. In the case of children and youth, parent or guardian consent is required (when there is shared guardianship between parents, such as in a divorce situation, consent from both guardians is required). In the case of private assessments, our reports are released only as family members direct. In the case of assessments conducted through the medical system, our reports are shared only with the referring medical doctors and as directed by parents/guardians. We do not share assessment information directly with schools or other agencies without express permission from families. If there is a need or desire to disclose information from files with another professional (for example a medical doctor, teacher, etc.), the client will be consulted first and asked to sign a release of information document.
Is there a waiting list?
Wait time for a private assessment varies considerably, although typically we book assessments 2 to 3 months in advance. In the case of urgent referrals, we do have cancellations and there is often a capacity to complete an assessment in a more urgent manner if needed. Let us know at the time of booking if your request is urgent and we will do our best to accommodate you.