If your market is anything like my market, you have a limited number of psychiatrists to use as referrals for your clients in need of evaluation and/or medication management. And… even when you do have those resources, waiting lists can range from weeks to months.
Sometimes we think that psychiatrists have the better end of the stick when it comes to making referrals; that they have oh, so many clinicians to offer their patients in need of counseling. Although that may be true, physicians want to be sure that the referrals they make are “good” referrals.
They want and need “good” referral sources too! If they are going to be collaborating for care, they want to work with competent clinicians who are willing to hold up their end of the collaboration.
That person can and should be YOU! I’m going to take it for granted that you are a good clinician; that you clinical skills are more than adequate and your engagement skills are such that you can see clients long enough to help. Once that has been established, it is the “extras” that will put you on the PREFERRED REFERRAL LIST of your local psychiatrist.
Here are just a few of the EXTRAS that are sure to help…
- Find an efficient way to let the psychiatrist know who you are and what you do. A simple fact sheet that includes:
- Your areas of expertise
- Populations served
- Modalities of service provided
- Information about fees and/or insurance
- Allow the psychiatrist to rely on you:
- Offer to triage his/her patients into your practice or refer them into the community
- Offer to run basic groups around common topics (i.e. depression or anxiety group, symptom management group); you might even offer to hold the group at the psychiatrist’s office
- Be known as a good collaborator
- Send the psychiatrist a cover letter and copy of your initial assessment
- Provide follow up on a regular basis, and as needed (even if you just fax over your session note before the client’s next psychiatric appointment
Just a little extra effort might make the difference between your card being the first card handed out, and you being just an afterthought.
Even 1 extra referral a month can generate thousands of dollars a year into your practice. How many psychiatrists in your market can send you at least 1 referral a month if you treat them right?