Alliance Counseling Center is an outpatient mental health agency that supports individuals, children and families with mental health needs. Because the agency provides support to some of our most vulnerable populations, the amount of subpoenas received on an annual basis can be overwhelming. When a therapist receives a subpoena to appear in-person to certify documents or appear in court as a fact witness in a criminal proceeding, or make testimonies in child custody cases, this often times requires that the therapist cancels their entire day (or more) of clients who rely on them for important mental health support. Sometimes, one therapist (especially those who work with children, youth and their families) will receive several subpoenas each year to be involved in the various legal cases of their clients, affecting the sustainability of their income and more importantly, unfairly requires their other clients to postpone their mental health appointments. Oftentimes, a therapist will cancel their entire day of clients to be available for a legal case, only to be notified that they have been released from appearing at the last moment. When it comes to requests to be involved in family law cases, it is well known that high conflict divorce and custody cases can be rather complex to navigate. In most situations, emotions run high as parents negotiate what custody arrangements will look like. Many times, lawyers or defenders may think it is a good idea to request that a child’s therapist testify in family law and custody cases. This is especially true if they feel that the therapist’s testimony could be helpful, resulting in a favorable outcome. However, it is important to know that such requests may not prove helpful at all and may actually be a detriment to the case itself, resulting in unfavorable outcomes. Our therapists are not family therapists and are not expert witnesses, they are here to provide mental health support to your child. It is important to understand that the therapist’s client is the child, not the parent(s). As such, the therapist will only respond to questions relating to the mental health treatment of the child and will not get involved in making parental or guardianship recommendations and has no basis to make comments on parenting observations. For this, parents or guardians should consider hiring a professional parenting evaluator who specialize in such issues.
As with professionals in law, medical and mental health fields, there is an expectation to be compensated for the time lost or the time in which we are focusing on a single client’s legal needs. While many law firms will cite various reasons in which to try to escape compensation for time and resources lost against a therapist’s time, it is the policy of Alliance Counseling and The Center at Heron Hill to make aware that fees are required up front to be involved in legal proceedings involving clients. Additionally, if the subpoena comes from an alternative party who is not our client but is involved in the case, and they refuse compensation or reimbursement, unfortunately the responsibility then becomes that of the client and or their financial guarantor that is listed on the account with our agency and is up to them (you) to seek reimbursement from the other party. The hourly rate charged is the same rate that insurance companies allow therapists to be reimbursed for Case Management and or Case Coordination. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not reimburse for legal fees and therefore these fees cannot be billed to your medical insurance company and they are strictly out of pocket costs.
The fee schedule is as follows for reasonable compensation of time and income lost due to request to appear for legal proceedings:
$33.00 per every 15 minutes or $132.00 per hour includes:
Time required in giving testimony
Time away from office due to depositions or testimony
Filing a document with the court
In-person certification of paper records
The minimum charge for cancelling a full day of clients to appear in-person for any legal need is $350.00. To avoid this charge, a therapist needs to be notified of any cancellation of in-person requirements at least 72 hours in advance.
Charge for documents to be sent electronically (without in-person appearance): $30.00
The minimum charge for a court appearance is $350. This charge remains if in-person requirement is cancelled within less than 72 hours.
Mileage: $30 a day plus .25 cents per mile if out of state ORS 44.415 – Fees and mileage of witnesses (public.law)
PLEASE NOTE: A retainer of $350 is due in advance
If a subpoena or notice to meet attorney(s) is received without a minimum of 48-hour notice there will be an additional $250 “express” charge.
If the case is reset with notice of less than 72 business-hours, the client will be charged $350 (in addition to the retainer of $350). All fees are doubled if the therapist has to postpone or interrupt plans to go out of town
CHARGE TO REQUEST MEDICAL RECORDS
A health care provider or state health plan that receives an authorization to disclose protected health information may charge:
(a) No more than $30 for copying 10 or fewer pages of written material, no more than 50 cents per page for pages 11 through 50 and no more than 25 cents for each additional page; and
A bonus charge of $5 if the request for records is processed and the records are mailed by first class mail to the requester within seven business days after the date of the request;
Postage costs to mail copies of protected health information or an explanation or summary of protected health information, if requested by an individual or a personal representative of the individual; and
Actual costs of preparing an explanation or summary of protected health information, if requested by an individual or a personal representative of the individual. [Formerly 192.521]
ORS 192.563 – Health care provider and state health plan charges (public.law)
The Therapist does not provide disability letters, companion pet letters, or letters regarding your ability to work, or any letters that would inform providers of your mental health history. You must discuss these needs with your medical or primary care provider. If a letter is required attesting the client’s needs, the therapist will provide it for a fee of $35 per one-page letter and $25 for each additional page. Letters are only provided to clients who have been seen for 8 sessions or longer.
If you wish to continue with a Subpoena request, please fax to 1-866-485-6741. If the legal party initiating the subpoena at any time refuses payment, the clients account will be charged and fees will be collected for these services.