Ask Dr. Kirk about Appointments and Fees

After a long career working in psychiatric and substance use emergency and hospital care, I began seeing pilots in 2012 through Rocky Mountain Psychiatry Consultants. In 2017, I formed Aviation Psychiatry, LLC and in 2020 expanded to Nevada. 

I work with pilots from every legacy carrier, many regional carriers, corporate medical departments, and the large pilot unions. I also work with military pilots transitioning to civilian flight, general aviators, flight students, and ATCs. 

Apart from aviation, I work with the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and am an expert in suicide and unintentional death from mental health disorders, behavioral problems, and substance use.

You can read more by going here:

My appointments for Denver and Las Vegas are scheduled online by going here:

I am normally in Las Vegas once per month for three or four days. The rest of the time I am in Denver.

You can read more about typical fees by going here:

The hourly rate is $330. Most evaluations close  with 9-11 hours of total charges.

There are a few ways to answer the question.

If I have all of your records before we start the assessment, it takes me about a month after your visit to finish your report.

Securing records is the main bottleneck in completing an evaluation. A careful registration as soon as possible allows us to identify right away the records you will need to request.

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An insurance policy is an agreement between you and a business or government entity. The language of the contract determines eligibility for reimbursement. That said, most health insurance contracts pay for medical diagnosis, management, and treatment. An FAA evaluation is an independent evaluation and does not create a patient-to-physician relationship. A regulatory interpretation, instead of an ICD or DSM 5 diagnosis, is the key to an aviation evaluation. 

Without a CPT code (a treatment code) and an ICD diagnosis, it’s hard to get your company to reimburse the fee. On the other hand, you may be eligible to pay for the assessment using a Health Savings Account. Your eligibility to use an HSA is also defined in a contract between you and a private entity but reimbursement rules are more liberal.

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Along with the one-on-one assessment, reviewing background records is the other main important task for the psychiatrist. The FAA requires a deep dive into all records that may be important. Clinical summaries or letters from your physician are not satisfactory.

You can read more about producing medical records by going here:

To read about producing mental health records, go here:

All registrations are conducted online using a 128-bit, fully secure HIPAA complaint server. I can’t open a file or begin your appointment without your registration, so you should finish the form either before or immediately after you schedule an appointment.

In July 2020, Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Michael Berry allowed virtual psychiatric assessments as mitigation against the coronavirus pandemic.

The FAA Chief Psychiatrist and Assistant Chief Psychiatrist advised in April 2022 that in-person visits remain the gold standard. Virtual visits with video have not been banned but are not preferred. Voice-only visits are not allowed. 

Ask Dr. Kirk about Medical Certification

If you currently hold a medical certificate, be sure you understand rule 61.15 about the FAA’s 60-day reporting requirements.

If you are a professional pilot, you should contact your union representative if you are a member, your AME, or reach out to your Employee Assistance Program.

If you had a high alcohol level, especially one greater than 0.200 BAC or the equivalent blood level, the FAA will more likely than not either require you to enter treatment or to have an aviation psychiatric evaluation.

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Many pilots assume that stopping an antidepressant improves the odds of earning medical certification. That’s not true.

The FAA will decide about medical certification by understanding your most accurate diagnosis, the spectrum of your symptoms from most severe until the present, your treatment response to medications, what helped the most in your recovery, and your prognosis with and without an antidepressant.

Whether you take or do not take an antidepressant is one factor among many.

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