Pre-Surgical Behavioral Assessments
Bariatric Surgery: Almost all bariatric surgery programs in the U.S. request candidates to undergo a pre-surgical psychological screening to identify potential contraindications to surgery, such as substance abuse, poorly controlled depression or other major mental illness, as well as help identify potential postoperative challenges and facilitate behavioral changes that can enhance postoperative weight maintenance. Factors such as mood or anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders, need to be evaluated to screen individuals who will more than likely be successful post-surgery. The pre-surgical evaluation plays a vital role in identifying psychosocial issues that a patient may encounter postoperatively. It is also considered a unique opportunity to perform the psychoeducation of the patient about the changes resulting from the surgery, offer psychological support and prepare the candidate for behavioral modifications that must occur in the postoperative period.
Spinal Fusion/Laminectomy: Spine surgery can have a profound effect on a patient, surgeon, as well as third-party payers. Unfortunately, if a spine surgery fails, the patient continues to remain disabled, with perhaps even greater pain, increased medication dependence and more emotional difficulty than before the surgery. The many psychosocial risk factors that challenge spine surgery results can be assessed through psychometric testing and a detailed patient interview.
Intrathecal Pump/Spinal Cord Stimulators: Chronic pain patients who are seeking an SCS or an intrathecal pump may have some level of pre-existing depression and anxiety, which may increase if the device becomes ineffective in reducing the patient’s pain level. A pre-surgical psychological evaluation is important in predicting the outcomes of this patient population. Due to the risks associated with implantation of these devices and their substantial costs, a good deal of emphasis has been placed on patient selection. Some of the risk factors that have been identified which correlate with greater risk for pain or poor outcomes include: pain chronicity, psychological distress, a history of abuse or trauma, poor social support and significant cognitive deficits. An evaluation is designed to help identify the right patient to achieve the maximum benefit from an implanted device. Patients can be more informed of their chances of success as well as the risks associated with the procedure.
Non-Surgical Behavioral Assessments
Depression Screening: With depression rates increasing, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has made strong recommendations for physicians to actively screen patients for depression at regular visits. Primary Care Physicians are the first line of defense when it comes to depression due to the fact that they usually see the patient first before referring them on to a specialist. However, most primary care physicians may not have the time to thoroughly evaluate a patient’s level of depression. Our service allows patients to be screened in a comfortable and convenient setting so as not to cause anxiousness or be a burden to the patient or doctor requesting the assessment. We can provide a comprehensive mental health report to complement a physician’s physical assessment to get a complete picture of the patient’s overall health.
Addiction Screening: Administering specific and targeted addiction screening is an important first step in improving identification of addictive disorders, which is imperative in this day and age due to the increasing number of people who are afraid to seek help or not being able to recognize their own addictions. By opening the way to early recognition of addictions, there is the potential to save millions of lives and healthcare dollars by facilitating identification and treatment of the problem before it becomes severe. Screening by itself has been shown to decrease the behavior. Many physicians fail to recognize addictions when seeing a patient for a routine physical. This can hinder the effectiveness of treatment. Our staff is trained in evaluating and recognizing addiction symptoms in an individual as well as suggesting a course of action for treatment. Our service provides an easy and convenient way for patients to be screened without feeling anxious or uncomfortable in a typical office setting. Our reports can be used as a preemptive screen for addictive tendencies prior to prescribing opioids, or as a regular tool to monitor a patient’s inclinations before becoming an issue.
Medical Marijuana Screening: Medical Marijuana is being used more frequently to help treat mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety as well as major medical diagnoses such as nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer. Many states have legalized medical marijuana which leads to assessing which patients should use it as part of their treatment. For example, if a patient requests medical marijuana for PTSD symptoms, most states require a patient to obtain a PTSD diagnosis from a mental health professional. Our team of professional counselors and psychologists can provide physicians with a comprehensive diagnosis of anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder so that all parties involved can be more comfortable that a patient may legally obtain medical marijuana. The report will also provide the physician with an overall picture of the patient’s mental health so that they can advise of the optimal medical marijuana dosage for the intended treatment benefits.
HR Evaluations/Pre-employment Screening: Companies can employ psychological testing to give an extra layer of comfort that prospective hires are suitable from a behavioral standpoint before committing the immense resources needed for new employees. Each professional environment is different so we work closely with companies to tailor the assessment and clinical interview to address specific areas of concern, such as ability to handle stress, team dynamics, code of ethics, and other behavioral qualities that often slip through the cracks of a traditional HR process. Given our use of telemedicine and our streamlined process, the cost and convenience of this extra layer of diligence greatly offset the risks associated with a bad hire, not only limited to the cost, but, more significantly, the liability and reputational risk to the firm.