Neuropsychological and psychological testing are comprehensive evaluations used to help diagnose and clarify existing diagnoses of developmental delays, various types of learning disabilities, as well as the common problems of anxiety and depression. These evaluations can add clarity around how symptoms can impact an person’s functioning. It is often difficult to deliver quality treatment until a thorough assessment has been conducted.
Each testing provider will present a conclusion with findings and recommendations based on these findings – which can help guide treatment according to the individual’s specific clinical need. Testing can help identify the most effective treatment interventions for your symptoms presentation, as well as recommendations for accommodations in a school environment, work setting, or simply improve your day to day functioning .
Listed below are some of the common diagnoses our Psychologists assess for:
- Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Learning Disabilities
- Academic Difficulties
- Mood Disorders
- Testing Information and Frequently Asked Questions
We often receive many questions regarding the scheduling of appointments for neuropsychological and psychological testing at The Counseling Center, as well as the process that must be followed to obtain insurance company authorization for these services. Therefore, we have compiled this handout to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. The testing psychologist will provide additional information regarding the testing process during your initial appointment.
When will testing take place?
When referred for neuropsychological or psychological testing, a staff member from the Intake Dept. will schedule you (or your child) for a 45 minutes initial appointment. This first appointment will consist of:
- Discussion regarding referral questions
- Gathering of history information
- Discussion of overall testing process
- Discussion of particular tests that may be used to answer referral question
- Discussion of any prior authorization processes that must be followed for your insurance company
- If your child/adolescent is the person to be tested, you may be asked to bring him/her to this initial appointment, or to a follow up intake appointment.
- No actual testing will occur at this initial appointment.
- An appointment for future testing appointment will either be scheduled at the end of this initial appointment or later by phone once insurance company issues an authorization for testing, if applicable.
Testing is usually completed in six to eight hours at The Counseling Center, with individual testing appointments lasting up to four hours, except in cases for young children where testing may be done in smaller more frequent time increments. Additional time is spent scoring, interpreting, and writing a report on the results of the testing. One or two feedback sessions are scheduled to have the results explained to you once the report is complete. Typically, total time spent from the first appointment to the feedback session ranges from 11-18 hours, and only occasionally does it extend beyond 18 hours.
What should I bring to the Initial Appointment?
- Copies of any reports of previous psychological or neuropsychological evaluations.
- If your child is to be evaluated: copies of most recent report card, as well as documentation of any school accommodations currently in place (e.g. Individualized Education Plans, Section 504 Plans)
- Copies of any previous counseling, mental health or relevant medical or neurologist records (if available).
- If handwriting is a concern, a sample of this would be useful.
- What has to be done to obtain prior authorization for testing from my insurance company?
The processes that must be followed to obtain prior authorization for the testing depend upon:
- Your insurance company’s policies
- Whether you are seeking psychological or neuropsychological testing
- The number of hours needed to complete the test administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing to answer the referral questions.
- Some insurance plans do not require prior authorization; others require a primary care physician to complete a referral for testing and other insurance plans require the testing psychologist to submit a written request for authorization. Different insurance companies have different guidelines for when testing is a covered service. This will be explained to you at your first visit.
- The psychologist who initially meets with you will be able to explain what steps must be taken to obtain the appropriate authorization and typically what is covered.
- In some instances, your insurance company may deny a portion of the authorization request. Rarely will testing be fully denied, but this does occur in cases where the exclusive need for testing is due only to academic concerns. You have the option of appealing any denials or alternately paying yourself for some or all of the testing. The Counseling Center, or your psychologist may assist you with that appeal process if you request it.
- It is important to note that insurance companies do not cover academic achievement testing that is used to determine the presence of a learning disability since educational related diagnoses are not considered a medical condition. Some plans have limits on testing for ADHD. Some may limit or deny completely the amount of time requested for reports to referral sources, and instead will cover the cost of summarizing results in your medical record in a far briefer format that is insufficient to school system’s need for educational programming.
What Expenses Might I incur?
This depends upon your insurance company’s policies and the number of hours required for test administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing.
Some insurance plans require flat-fee co-payments per visit, while others require a deductible and a percentage co-payment. Your specific fees will be explained after The Counseling Center verifies your particular testing benefits, although the ultimate responsibility for understanding your insurance coverage rests with you.
The information that we obtain from the insurance coverage does not always accurately match the information contained in your insurance benefits booklet, which should always be checked for double verification.
Should your insurance company deny all or a portion of the testing request, you always have the option of self-paying to avoid delays in testing. If the denial is due to the testing being partially educational in nature, one option is to have the academic achievement portion of the testing be conducted by your child’s school district and to have the school district forward the results to the psychologist at The Counseling Center.
Educational Testing by the School System
This kind of testing can sometimes take up to 90 days to complete. Alternately, we have educational liaisons who can perform educational testing at the rate of $60.00 per hour (typically costing $300.00 for each achievement test administered.)
Since some insurance may limit or eliminate authorization for comprehensive report writing, there may be cases where parents or school districts may request more detailed information (e.g. specific test scores) to be provided in a report used to determine whether a child should receive accommodations for a learning disability or an emotional/behavioral disorder.
If a comprehensive report is necessary, a self-payment agreement must be completed with the testing psychologist. All payments for non-covered services and applicable co-payments and deductibles are expected prior to or at the time of testing. Special arrangements can be made, on a case by case basis, to allow for a two installment payment plan, one prior to the date of testing, and the other prior to completion of the report and feedback session.
It is the Counseling Center’s policy that no final results will be released until payment in full is received.
When Might I Expect My Results or Findings From Testing?
Testing results typically take about 4 weeks after the testing is completed to obtain either a draft report or final version and a feedback session to help you understand the findings.
In some cases, two feedback sessions are recommended to help individuals and parents absorb the information, read the report and return for a follow-up meeting to ask questions or discuss findings.
Parents may want to bring the information to the school to ask for help in establishing an IEP or Section 504 plan. If desired, parents may request that psychologist completing the testing attend the school meeting, although the cost for this is not covered by health insurance and typically ranges from $300 – $400 (approximately 1.5 to 2 hours of time).
An alternative and less costly option is for Counseling Center’s educational liaison to attend the feedback session:
- To obtain the results of the testing
- To attend school meetings to help convey the results and ensure that a meaningful plan is put into place.
- Fees for educational liaison are $50.00 per hour and a typical cost for attending a feedback session and a school meeting is $250.00
- Liaisons can also help monitor progress and implementation after an IEP or Section 504 plan has been established