I Have Relocated to Richmond Hill, GA

Because my sweet and darling wife said it was time to go, we packed up and moved to Richmond Hill, GA over Memorial Day Weekend 2018.

I have closed down my practice in North Little Rock and have re-opened here in Richmond Hill, GA.  My office is about 1/2 mile from Exit 90 off I-95, at 9390 Ford Avenue.

I can usually schedule an evaluation within 24 hours.

Give me a call at (912) 436-4817

Blessed to be Alive

On Friday last week, I was involved in a collision at 65 MPH.  I was headed south on a four-lane highway, in the right lane, cruise control set at 65, speed limit 70 in a 2010 Grand Marquis.  I was hit, ever so gently, by a lady in a Kia Sorento, on the door and just above the rear wheel well.  She had drifted into my lane as she was passing.

The only apparent damage to my vehicle, and hers, looks like it could have been done by a shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot.  A good wash and wax should take care of most of the damage.

As someone who has persistently struggled with faith, this was just another evidence that something bigger was looking out for me.  I might be mistaken; but, thinking a bit differently makes me appreciate living the life that I have just a little bit more.

Marketing Trips

Over the past several months, I have been making weekly marketing trips to drug and alcohol treatment centers, drug testing facilities, truck stops and trucking companies in the Central Arkansas area.  So far, I have not been “shown the door” by anyone.  There have been a few places where the positive mood and attitude was infectious and almost intoxicating; maybe they were piping in extra oxygen.

What I have found has been that people in Arkansas are really quite friendly, even when I am temporarily disrupting their day to day activities.

I really appreciate each of the folks that have taken the time to teach me more about their business, especially some of the logistics companies.  I was in shock and awe at some of the technology being used and impressed with the professionalism and friendliness of most everyone that I have met.

 

DOT SAP Evaluations

One of the areas of my business where I have seen some growth is providing DOT/SAP evaluations.  Quite simply it works like this:

  1.  A person in a safety-sensitive position has a positive drug screen.
  2. They are removed from that position by their employer, fired or suspended.
  3. They are then referred to a person known as a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) for an evaluation.
  4. The evaluation includes an assessment, several screening instruments, developing a treatment plan and referral to a service provider.  At a minimum, a person that violates a substance abuse rule must complete an educational program, usually 9-12 hours in length.
  5. After the client has completed the required program, they are re-evaluated to determine the need, if any, for further services.  At this point a final evaluation is made and a specific recommendation for a testing schedule is made to the employer.

Anyhow, I really like doing these evaluations.  It is kind of like getting a survey done on a boat or a pre-purchase  inspection done on a house in that the person making the assessment is not the person, or agency, providing the service or making the repair.

Tags:  SAP, DOT, Evaluation, Assessment, Huntsville, Madison, Substance Abuse, Counseling, FMCSA, Rule Violation

Hours, Contact Information, Etc.

I am generally available most weekdays from 9 to 5.  If you need another time or day, just contact me and we will figure something out.

I try to never answer the phone when I am doing something important such as driving, talking with a client, or eating dinner.  If you get my voicemail, leave a message and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as i can.

Texting or email in o.k. for setting or changing appointments; but, i will not be discussing clinical issues via text or email.

All that said, it is easiest to reach me by calling:  (256) 885-5193

My email address is: christopherhgerhart@gmail.com

Fees, finances and why I do not accept insurance

Just before I started working for myself, actually for you, the customer, I became significantly disillusioned by the sheer volume of paperwork that was required by both insurance companies and government funding agencies just to sit down with a client and say:  “I am glad you are here.  So, what would you like to talk about today?”

If you have not noticed, government agencies and insurance companies have some very peculiar and particular ideas about what and how much information needs to be collected, collated, copied and filed before services can begin.  I really believe that if someone is interested and willing enough to walk through my door, then they already have a pretty good idea about what they would like to talk about.

Over the course of our professional interaction, we may get around to some pretty personal details over the course of our conversations and counseling sessions, or we may not,  it depends more on you than on a government or an insurance form.

One thing that I learned in my previous career as a chef was that the customer is always right and the reason for that is that they are the ones paying the bill.  If I made them a lousy meal or they had a terrible experience at my establishment, then they did not come back, and they told their friends about it. I am bringing the same approach to my counseling practice because I believe that it works.

Some time ago, I was working for a state-funded treatment agency, serving predominantly a criminal justice population sentenced there for substance abuse treatment as part of their probation or parole.  There was a pilot program where the participants paid a nominal fee for each group and individual counseling session that they attended.  Initially, I though that it would not work as they did not have much money and had many other financial obligations.  I was wrong, dead wrong.  The clients that paid something for their treatment had far more favorable outcomes than those that did not.  They missed fewer sessions, were late less often, had fewer positive drug tests and lower rates of relapse and re-offense.   By paying for their treatment, they placed value on it, making it important to them made it work better for them.  Why they stopped the pilot, I do not know; looking back on it, without keeping up relapse rates, treatment businesses might have been afraid of working themselves out of business.

Another reason that I do not accept insurance is that it takes an awful lot of work to file  a claim, ensure payment and negotiate with declined requests for payment.  As a sole provider, I do not want my clinical judgement clouded by a fight that I had with an insurance company over a client’s bill.

The other thing about employer sponsored insurance that I detest is the lack of privacy and confidentiality inherent in the billing system.  In many cases, human resources, owners, managers, their secretaries and supervisors know who is using what type of insurance.  If the insurance company, or any other payer wants to see clinical records, very often they are allowed to, otherwise they do not pay.

Short of you threatening to harm me, yourself or another human being, I am generally not required to report to anyone, anything you may say to me.

Anyway, if you have read this far, you must be interested in what I though would be fair, honest pricing, for fair, honest work.  So, here goes:

  1.  DOT/SAP Assessments $500.  This includes an initial assessment, co-ordination of a referral to treatment or education program, re-assessment and providing a follow-up testing program for employers.
  2. Non-DOT Assessments $300.  This includes an initial assessment and a written summary.  I think that it would be well worth while to find out from an independent source just what appears to be wrong and what may be an appropriate and diligent course of action.  I will be writing a whole post about this later.
  3. Individual Counseling  $100/hr.  Whatever you want to talk about regarding a substance use issue.  I have also talked with couples, partners and family members about strategies, plans and expected outcomes.
  4. Court testimony  $2,500/day, plus expenses.  I have qualified as an expert witness in a number of courts.  A lot of child custody proceedings have an element of “he said/she said” regarding substance use.  Having an expert opinion can be invaluable.
  5. No shows $25.  My time is worth money to me and my family.  I will gladly reschedule almost any appointment, without a fee, if you call ahead of time.
  6. Veteran/First Responders.  10% Discount on any of my services for any veteran or first responder (fire, police, corrections, EMT, etc.)

Anyhow, I am seeking to make a living out helping others to make changes in their lives in regard to their use of substances.  I really believe that treatment that has no cost has no value and treatment that has no value is of no use and may even prolong problems.

First Customers

I had my first paying customers last week.  Because of HIPPA, licensing boards and my own personal ethics, I am not going to say anything about them; however, I am extremely happy that I now have an actual business, rather than just an expensive hobby.

A friend just gave me a wonderful desk.  I had to replace a leg; but, it worked out very well.  I am working on a bookshelf/stand for my printer/copier/scanner.  Then I will have somewhere else to put my coffee pot, etc.   I will take and post pictures shortly.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a safe, happy and healthy new year.

Chris

Day One

 

This is my new office.  I was there today with my wife and daughter, hanging up pictures and moving around furniture.   Gerhart LADAC SAP DOT

I got these really great Thomasville wing-back chairs and a coffee table on Craigslist.  The artwork comes from the lady next door.   She was planning on throwing away the wonderful painting that she had done of a waterfall.  gerhart SAP DOT Little Rock Substance abuse counselor office north little rock

Getting Started

I was not sure how much work it would take to get things started.  Today, I met with a friend and mentor for coaching and lunch, made a business call, signed my lease, ordered signage, moved furniture and did some accounting.  Oh yeah, I also opened a business bank account and got it linked with quick books and square.

My morning included my usual dog walking, breakfast and lunch making to get my girls out of the house.  Dropped off daughter at daycare and saw the wife out the door.

Picked up daughter, stopped for groceries and fixed dinner.

No wonder I am beat!  But, I guess that will all be worthwhile as I get this business up and running.