Primary Care Psychiatry is a program that allows children who are experiencing emotional or behavioral health concerns to receive basic psychiatric care within their medical home. You may be referred to one of our providers if you are a patient at Potomac Pediatrics. People often mistake the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist or a therapist. Psychiatrists are medical practitioners specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, particularly with regards to medication management. Psychologists or therapists receive different post-graduate degrees and are responsible for doing psychotherapy to manage emotional or behavioral problems. Dr. Lauren Zohler, DO, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, who can evaluate your child and initiate a treatment plan. At this time, Dr. Zohler is not offering therapy services. Ideally, once your child is stabilized, ongoing care will be provided by your doctor at Potomac Pediatrics. If your child requires more long-term psychiatric care or is prescribed medications that would necessitate more long-term follow-up (see a list of medications below), then your child may be referred to an outside psychiatrist for continued management.
Candidates for this service include:
- Patients who are currently seeing a psychiatrist and are stable on their current medications and can safely transfer to the primary care setting (see a list of medicines which do not fit into this category).
- Patients with symptoms of anger, sadness, irritability, worries or school performance issues that need an initial assessment.
- Patients with ADHD who are currently being treated by our physicians and are not responding adequately to medication.
How does it work?
To be considered for our program you must complete an intake form with pertinent information, such as prior psychiatric treatment, previous medication trials, and a list of current concerns that you and your child wish to be addressed. This program is exclusive to existing patients that have an established medical history with Potomac Pediatrics. Non- patients who are already established with a pediatric practice outside of Potomac Pediatrics, looking to switch to Potomac Pediatrics to gain access to this service will not be accepted by nor referred to Dr. Zohler.
Once the intake form is completed, Dr. Lauren Zohler our psychiatrist, will evaluate your child, confirm the diagnosis, if one exists, and develop a treatment plan. The next steps will either be follow up visits with her or transfer back to your pediatrician with treatment plan recommendations. Patients referred to the psychiatrist who has significant ongoing diagnostic or therapeutic challenges will be ineligible for our services and will be referred to an outside psychiatrist or other mental health providers. Our goal is to stabilize your child on the new treatment regimen and transfer them back to their pediatrician who will oversee their continued treatment.
Private patient discussions are confidential and protected under the law, they will not be shared with the parent unless Dr. Zohler is concerned for the patient’s safety.
The following medications are not appropriate for our Primary Care Psychiatry program:
- We are currently are credentialed with the following insurance companies: CareFirst, Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare. Your visit will be subject to specialist copays, deductibles, and/or coinsurance per your individual policy. Practice policies regarding copays and deductible deposits due at the time of service will apply. Please note that we can’t guarantee benefit coverage for primary care psychiatry services and it is the patients’ responsibility to verify if their policy offers mental health benefits.
- Once claims are processed to your insurance and received back you will receive a statement in your child patient portal account for any additional balances due or your credit card will be refunded any account credit minus any copay, deductibles, or coinsurance that is assigned to patient responsibility.
- Please be advised that some plans have a specific behavioral health network associated with their benefits. We can’t guarantee that our primary psychiatry provider will be considered in-network. If your claim is processed out of network, you will be responsible for the balance due per your out of network benefits.
- Patients who do not have mental health benefits will be considered self-pay and payment will be due upon check-in.
Forms for Children ages 12 and older:
Forms for Children ages 11 and under:
Forms for any age: