Counseling Today, Private Practice in Counseling

Providing credentialing information to CAQH

Robert J. Walsh and Norman C. Dasenbrook May 5, 2006

Q: I received an e-mail about CAQH, a Universal Credentialing Data Source. What more can you tell me?

A: CAQH stands for Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare. In essence, licensed counselors can submit their credentialing information to CAQH once, and it will then be made available to more than 100 insurance and managed care companies.

This should be a huge time-saver for counselors who want to be providers for the council’s insurance and managed health care companies. Previously, counselors had to complete credentialing applications for each individual insurance or managed care company. We would encourage all counselors to take advantage of this service.

To do so, log on to www.CAQH.org and complete the credentialing process online. If you have trouble completing it online (as we did), call 888.599.1771 and have the credentialing packet mailed to you. Once completed, fax the necessary information to CAQH at 888.293.0414. Be sure to use the fax cover sheet provided by CAQH instead of your own.

You may want to follow up after three to four weeks to ensure that you completed the packet in its entirety and that CAQH has all the correct information. Once completed, you should receive a fax or e-mail that your new status with CAQH has been provided to all participating insurance and managed health care companies.

Q: I have an inquiry on whether counselors can charge a fee for preparation, transportation and time spent when subpoenaed to court as an expert witness or to attend a deposition. If so, is there a set fee range charged? If you have information regarding this matter, I’m sure it would be very helpful to American Counseling Association members. Do you have any publications that address this?

A: I’m not aware of any publications on this specific topic, but my belief is that you can certainly charge a fee for court subpoenas. This can be negotiated with the official who subpoenaed you or, as a rule of thumb, you may decide to charge your usual hourly fee times the number of hours you spend preparing, testifying and traveling.

Q: I am looking for information on recommendations for counselor office layouts. We all remember getting recommendations in our programs on having a setup where a counselor’s back is not toward the door and/or a setup for clear egress (so the client isn’t between the counselor and the door). Can you tell me where I can get written information or recommendations on such information?

A: I do remember some rule-of-thumb suggestions from graduate school days about office layout for the comfort and safety of clients. But after practicing for 25 years, individual preference and common sense have led me to arrange my private practice office in a comfortable manner with enough seating for clients to choose their location in the room.

The client or family is invited to enter the room first. After they are all seated, I take one of the remaining seats. If there is a security concern, a secretary or other office personnel might stay in the waiting area. When I am in session, I have a person answering the phone or doing clerical work in an adjoining room to protect both the client and myself.

Robert J. Walsh and Norman C. Dasenbrook are the co-authors of The Complete Guide to Private Practice for Licensed Mental Health Professionals (www.counseling-privatepractice.com). ACA members can e-mail their questions to walshgasp@aol.com and access a series of free bulletins on various private practice topics on the ACA website at www.counseling.org.