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Scheduling an appointment with an off-campus provider

How to Call and What to Expect When Scheduling a First Appointment

Who may answer the phone:  If you call a group practice, mental health clinic, or medical center, chances are a receptionist or other office staff member will answer the phone. If you call a provider in private practice, the provider may answer or a voicemail may come on.

If you must leave a voicemail, you could simply say: "Hello, my name is so-and-so and I am calling to speak with someone about scheduling an appointment. I can be reached at…" You can expect a return call.

Once you have a person on the phone, you can use the same line: "Hello, my name is so-and-so and I am calling to speak with someone about scheduling an appointment for …(therapy or psychiatry)"

Each office will have its own way of getting some key information from you before scheduling the first appointment.

Here are a few questions you can probably expect during the first call:

  • What is your name?
  • What is a phone number where we can reach you?
  • How did you find out about our services? Were you referred? If so, by who?
  • What is your reason for wanting to see a mental health provider?
  • What type of insurance do you have, if any?

In addition, here are some questions you might want to ask them:

  • Where are you located?
  • What are the costs of the services?
  • What are your cancellation and rescheduling policies?
  • What types of treatment are offered at your office?

You might also want to know more about how well the office could accommodate your schedule. If you have preferences for certain characteristics in a mental health provider, you can also voice them during this call. Would you like to speak directly with a mental health provider when you call an office? If that's the case, you can make that request. With more information, you may get a better feeling about how any particular office may be able to help you. Then, you may choose to make the next step: scheduling the first appointment. You may be comfortable doing this during the first call. Or you may want to compare different providers or take some time to think it over.