Fees and Timeslines

Initial Consultation

After an initial, free consultation about your case by telephone, you should have an idea about how to proceed with the evaluation. Most of the time, a review of medical or legal records is required. I can help you figure out what you will need for the evaluation after we have a chance to talk more about your case.

Fees for an Initial Evaluation

Unless an existing contract with your employer or some other agency supersedes a private fee agreement, I charge an hourly fee for the interview and flat rate for the report. A typical case has these elements:

  • in-person interview (generally about three hours)
  • reviewing the background medical records, counseling notes, court documents, or other essential items for your case (varies; some cases have a few dozen pages of records while other cases have several thousands pages of documents to review)
  • producing an FAA-compliant report, generally 25-45 pages (flat rate fee of 5 hours)

Most of the time, I can give you a non-binding estimate of your case after we have had a chance to discuss your issue.

You aren’t charged for emails that go back and forth with simple questions about your case. You are charged for telephone calls to you, other professionals in the case, or references you might offer.

Scroll to the bottom if you want to read about fees for a follow-up evaluation.

Will my Health Insurance Cover the Costs?

Probably not.

Health insurance plans generally cover medical costs related to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, in the context of a physician-to-patient relationship.

  • In an aviation psychiatric evaluation, the evaluation serves a regulatory purpose. A physician-to-patient relationship is not established.
  • Physician-to-patient relationships require advocacy from the physician in the interest of your well-being.
  • Regulatory evaluations require neutrality, not advocacy, with the opinions applied against a law, regulation, or contract.
  • Medical billing requires an Evaluation and Management (E&M) Code for the level of service provided. Aviation psychiatric evaluations do not have an E&M code assigned to them.
  • Medical billing requires an ICD-10 Diagnosis, whereas a regulatory assessment for the FAA does not make an ICD-10 interpretation. FAA evaluations used the Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 CFR 67.107/67.207/67.307 and other regulations instead of the ICD-10.

Can I do a Payment Plan?

Releasing a report to an individual before fees have been paid creates an appearance of bias and allows the psychiatrist’s neutrality to be questioned by the regulator.

Why? If a client interprets a report as unfavorable, some clients could block or ignore the final balance due. This hypothetical creates a situation where the psychiatrist is more likely, consciously or unconsciously, to act favorably for the client to ensure the agreed-upon compensation. This appearance of bias downgrades the evaluator from neutral to partisan.

 

Scheduling an Appointment

Most of the time, I can schedule Denver appointments within two weeks or less from your request. Video appointments flow through the Denver office, with the same time frame as about two weeks to get an appointment. In-person evaluations in Las Vegas happen about once per month.

You can save up to an hour of billed time by pre-registering for your appointment here:

AviPsy Pre-Registration

When you are ready to request an appointment, click on one of the pictures.

After you select a date and time, you will receive an invoice for a four-hour retainer to reserve your appointment slot.

The invoice needs to be paid within 24 hours to keep the appointment time you have reserved. If you are not able to complete the reservation in 24 hours, the time will be released, but you can always start over again with new dates and times just by asking me.

How the Retainer is Used and Refunded

  • the payment is due within 24 hours of the time you request an appointment from me
  • the fee is a four-hour retainer to be applied towards the initial costs in your case
  • a second four-hour retainer will be due in the office at the time of your appointment
  • the hourly fee is $300/hour, and charges apply to all time spent in the case; this includes the interview, reading your records, writing the report, and all other time spent on your behalf
  • emailing Dr. Kirk is free; phone calls are charged at 0.1 per hour intervals
  • the fee is 100% refundable for any reason up to seven exact calendar days from your appointment; for example, an appointment for a Wednesday morning @ 9 am, must be canceled by 8:59 am the previous Wednesday for a full refund
  • the fee is 50% refundable if the appointment is canceled at less than seven days, but more than two exact calendar days; for example, a Wednesday morning @ 9 am appointment must be canceled by 8:59 am on Monday of the same week for a 50% refund
  • any cancellation at two days or less results in forfeit of the fee

Timeline

If we have all of the records before the evaluation begins, it normally takes somewhere around four weeks to complete the report.

Getting the records is the biggest variable in completing these cases. That’s why it’s important to have a careful discussion at the beginning of the consultation to identify the records necessary for the case.

If your records are not complete after your evaluation, I generally write a rough draft of your history and then pend your file until all of the records arrive. When the file is complete, your case enters the work queue with other active cases. It will take a few weeks to finish your case from this point.

Follow Up Evaluations

This discussion applies only if I did your first evaluation. If a different psychiatrist did your first evaluation, the evaluation might be a follow-up visit for you but it would count as the first evaluation for me.

For a pilot flying with a Special Issuance Authorization for a mental health, alcohol, or drug issue, the FAA may require that the pilot have periodic evaluations to maintain flying status.

If I did your initial evaluation, followup assessments cost less. For example, I do not have to cover your entire history on the second interview. We can focus on what’s happened since your last assessment.

There is also usually less paperwork to review, whether that is from your doctor, therapist, AME, employer, or the FAA.

Finally, the written report is shorter because I would have already documented a comprehensive history in my first report.

As a rough estimate, a followup evaluation usually takes only about 1/3 as much of my billed time as a full initial evaluation.