Established in 2019, Kaufman Psychological is a small Detroit-based mental health clinic with a team of six dedicated psychologists and licensed therapists. Calder (owner and director) supports Medicare for All, yet recognizes the human right to unfettered healthcare access has yet to be realized. Thus, we do our small part by making therapeutic time available to those with low income, no insurance, or high, unmanageable deductibles. We do not turn people away and charge as little as $0 to $5 per therapy session.
We want to continue doing so but, like any small business, have inescapable financial obligations. Until there are cultural and political sea changes, we believe private sector solutions to gaps in mental health availability are important:
- Accessibility. We don't have intake specialists or case managers who gatekeep and oversee patient care (though we salute our colleagues employed in those positions!). There is no diagnosis, severity of illness, or income threshold required to be seen at our practice.
- Individual Attention. Patients work with one clinician from initial consultation through weekly appointments to the end of treatment. The same clinician is also a directly-accessible touchpoint for many urgent psychological needs or crises.
- Effectiveness. Government mental health systems (e.g. Community Mental Health or CMH) are societally invaluable but woefully underfunded and understaffed (contact your legislators!). As a result of high caseloads, clinician burnout, and other factors prevalent at CMH, a private practice like ours can provide more attention leading to better clinical outcomes.
- Flexibility & Privacy. We want to retain professional flexibility and meet the unique needs of each patient without bureaucratic oversight of clinical decision-making.
Many individuals who require low or pro bono fees have Medicaid. Kaufman Psychological could panel with Medicaid but here's why we don't:
- Medicaid is an administrative nightmare. Large hospital systems can support the staff required to navigate this overly-complicated system. Tiny practices like ours cannot.
- Medicaid rates are extremely low and don't justify the financial overhead or time investment.
- Medicaid, more often than private insurance, takes back money from practitioners for (ridiculous) reasons unrelated to patient care (20% of claims are not paid).
While we firmly believe high-quality, personal mental health services should be available for all, doing so has proved a significant financial loss-losses that cannot be written off at tax time nor adequately compensated for in other ways. Access to private, personal, and effective care should not be solely incumbent on the goodwill of psychotherapists, an already grossly underpaid profession also crushed by student debt.
Kaufman Psychological provides 160 sessions per month which amounts to nearly 2,000 patient hours per year. In 2022 and beyond, we hope to achieve two simple goals:
- Provide 150+ hours annually of psychotherapy (for individuals, couples, and families) or psychological assessment at no cost to the patient.
- Provide these services without simply "eating" money or time, but rather compensating the therapist and practice minimally at a rate of $65 per session ($45.50 to the therapist, the remainder for overhead and administrative costs).
Any amount pushes us further toward the annual goal of $10,000, and directly supports mental health access with zero redtape. You give money, we provide the service, the patient benefits. It's that simple.