What Is The Value Of An Independent Evaluation?
An independent evaluation provides you the documentation you need as leverage to get your child what they need. Frequently, we are asked to also go to Team meetings, observe current and proposed programs in the classroom, and – if necessary – to give expert witness testimony at a settlement conference or Bureau of Special Education Appeals hearing. We form a partnership with our clients and work side by side with them and other professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for the child. These services are often not available from other professionals, for a variety of reasons.
Parents should understand that this is one of the most significant investments they will ever make, in terms of helping their child to succeed. These are not just numbers on a page – they represent accurate, nationally normed results so that parents get a readily understandable picture of their child as compared to other children across the nation. At the same time, there is no bias in these tests, neither up nor down. Some schools will give tests that do not give statistically appropriate results, and as a result children may be referred to an inadequate program without results from more rigorous, professional test to reveal the deficiencies in the other tests.
When you choose an evaluation at NAI, you are assured of several important things. First, the evaluation will be performed by a clinician with more than 30 years’ experience, who has personally performed more than 1500 individual assessments. There is no substitute for that level of expertise and skill. Your child will not be evaluated, even in part, by a trainee, a post-doctoral fellow, or a clinician with only a few evaluations under their belt.
Second, you know that your child is being seen “cold”, with no prior reading of past evaluations and reports to possibly affect the diagnosis and recommendations. (We read the records after the testing session.)
Third, you have the convenience of a single testing session and a single parent feedback session, in nearly all cases, rather than multiple sessions. This is especially helpful to parents who live some distance from the clinic.
We work with you to “make school work for your child.”
What Does An Evaluation Cost?
Fees for the various services offered at Neurodevelopment Associates are below those at other private clinics, and will be discussed directly with parents when an evaluation is scheduled and we have an idea of what will be required.
What Is Included In An Evaluation?
A full neuropsychological evaluation includes all of the necessary testing for a full diagnostic picture of your child, a review of all previous testing and records, the parent conference (1½ to 2 hours typical), and two original copies of the report. Two hours of telephone consultation are also included, which may include talking with parents or with other professionals who are working with the child.
Payment for testing must be agreed to before the report is sent out. We accept personal checks, money orders, Mastercard, Visa and American Express, or a letter of authorization from a school system if they have agreed to pay for a portion of the evaluation (usually the neuropsychological portion). We also set up payment plans for parents when this is requested.
This consists of post-dated checks that are held in a secure location and deposited when they come due, thus allowing parents to spread the cost of an evaluation over several months.
Follow-up services such as school observations, attendance at Team or other school meetings, mediation sessions, etc. are billed on an hourly basis, including travel time. These are generally paid at the time of service by check or credit card unless other arrangement have been made. Our follow-up support is available only for those children we have tested.
In the event that Dr. Brefach will be providing expert testimony at a settlement conference or Bureau of Special Education Appeals hearing, she will estimate the number of hours for preparation, consultation with the parents’ attorney, observations, travel, and testimony. In general, a retainer equal to one-half the total amount is paid up front, with the balance due within two weeks of the testimony. Again, a payment plan may be agreed upon, with post-dated checks being provided by parents.
Does Neurodevelopment Associates Accept Insurance As Payment For Services?
NAI is not an in-network provider for any health care system, with the exception of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts. We do not bill any other insurance plan for payment of evaluations. If a patient has out-of-network benefits, and wishes to submit to their insurance company, we will provide the necessary forms and procedure codes. In the case of patients with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, certain parts of the testing may be covered, and these will be submitted by our office directly to Blue Cross if they are authorized. Patient co-pays apply to covered services.
Parents should be aware that neuropsychological evaluations are an educational support service, not a medical service. As is the case with other services that parents seek out for their children, such as counseling, coaching, academic tutoring, educational advocacy, and legal services, the neuropsychological evaluation is generally not a covered “medical” service, but rather one that parents obtain at their own expense.
Does NAI Offer Free (Pro Bono) Or Reduced Price Evaluations?
At NAI, we are committed to trying to make our services accessible to people of moderate income. To this end, we offer a payment option to spread out the cost of our services. We also have kept our costs below those of other private clinics.
Parents should know that our evaluations are often more comprehensive than those from hospitals or even some private psychologists, and the recommendations are often more relevant and useful, since they are worded in a way that helps parents make the case for more appropriate services.