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“I Love Managed Care” – An Interview with Catherine Auman

Catherine Auman, MFT is a Los Angeles psychotherapist and managed care enthusiast.  She talked to WTCI via email about why.

What’s your background? What do you do now?

I’ve been working in our field for over 25 years in virtually all aspects of behavioral heath: private practice, psychiatric hospitals, chemical dependency treatment centers, residential treatment, and consulting nationally with mental health facilities. I guess what’s most relevant for this interview is that I worked for two years inside managed care companies, seeing them from the inside out.

I’m now in full time private practice that I built using the managed care strategies that I teach others in my seminars.

All the managed care options can seem overwhelming.  How do you advise people to get started?

The first thing is to learn more about managed care and challenging the misconceptions they’ve heard on the street. Most of these things, like the rumor that managed care companies are hard to work with or that there’s a lot of paperwork, are completely untrue.

What mistakes do people tend to make as they try to get on panels?

People often don’t know how to appear attractive to managed care panels in their applications. It’s not enough to just go to school and get licensed. To make themselves more attractive to panels, it helps to become “managed care friendly.” Neither of the managed care companies I worked for ever mentioned trying to save money or to shorten lengths of stay – both always instructed us to do what was right clinically. They don’t particularly like to work with clinicians who are hostile, or don’t understand how they work. I teach all about this in my workshop.

Some companies have a reputation of being hard to get paid by.  Do you have suggested list of good-to-work-with insurance companies?

It’s really not true that it’s hard to get paid by managed care companies if you do your homework up front. I teach people “how to get paid every time” in my workshops. That said, I’d have to give the “easiest to work with” award to United Behavioral Health (UBH). Most of the time it’s so simple: bill online and a check arrives in the mail.  Love that!

Any final words of wisdom for people trying to get happily to work via panels?

I love managed care – I wouldn’t have a full time practice without it. There’s a steady stream of referrals, an average of two new clients a week, checks keep arriving in the mail from what I bill. Most of what you’ve heard about working with managed care is a lie – there’s very little paperwork, the companies are easy to work with if you know how, and the clients are high functioning. What’s wrong with that?

Find Catherine Auman online at catherineauman.com.

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  1. I also work in a primarily managed care environment. It’s nice to know that there is someone out there who loves managed care :)

  2. I’m glad you love Managed Care, but do you love what they pay you, minus your time spent on paperwork?

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