It may take multiple contacts to providers for students to get connected with services. Contacting providers and getting connected can also take time--as students will likely be leaving messages and waiting for return calls.
It is strongly recommended that students contact multiple providers when they are seeking services, for some of the following reasons:
- Students may speak with a provider and decide that they do not want to work with that person.
- A provider may not offer the specific services a student is seeking.
- Not all providers will have availability for new referrals.
- Providers may change the insurance they accept in their practice—even though they may still be listed on an insurance company search website, they may no longer take that insurance.
- Providers may not return calls.
Some students may choose to contact several providers at the same time, and gather the information they need to make an informed choice about services, while others may choose to contact one provider at a time.
Generally, if a provider is going to return a call, they will do so within a week (unless otherwise specified on their voicemail message). If there is a particular provider that a student wants to work with, they may wish to contact that provider again. If a student has left two messages for a provider without a return call, the student may want to move on to other options.
Leaving Messages for Providers
It is very likely that students will need to leave a voicemail when contacting providers. Students should be sure their voicemail is set up and able to receive messages when contacting providers.
Some providers might indicate on their voicemail message whether or not they are accepting new referrals. They may also indicate specific instructions for information that should be included in a message, or when someone can expect return contact. Be sure to listen to the information they provide.
Some students have indicated that they are not sure what to say when leaving a message. Including the following information in the message is recommended:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Service(s) you are seeking
- Primary issue(s) you would like to address in treatment
- Name of your insurance coverage
- How you obtained their contact information
- Availability for contact/appointments (if specific days/times needed)
- Repeat your name and phone number
It can be helpful for students to write down what they want to say in their voicemail message(s). For student reference, a sample script is provided below, that can be customized with individual information:
“Hi, My name is XXXX, and my phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I am a USF student, and I am looking for therapy to address XXXX and XXXX. I have XXXX insurance coverage, and I found your name on my insurance company provider website. I am looking for appointments on XXXX and XXXX, if available. Again, this is XXXX and my phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I look forward to hearing back from you.”
Once contact has been made, some providers may gather screening/intake information on the phone, and others may want to schedule an in-person screening/intake.
During an initial phone call with a provider, students may wish to ask some of the following questions (as applicable):
- Can you share some of your experience working with XXXX and XXXX issues?
- What is your approach to working with these issues?
- What can I expect during an appointment with you?
- Are you available for weekly appointments? Would I have the same appointment time each week?
- Where exactly is your office located?
- If using insurance:
I have XXXX insurance. Can you confirm that you are in-network provider? If you are out of network, what would the cost of an appointment be?
- If not using insurance:
Do you offer any discounts or fee arrangements, such as sliding scale?
- Do you maintain a wait list for your services (if the provider has indicated their practice is full)?
- Are there any other providers you would recommend for my treatment needs (if the provider has indicated their practice is full or if they indicate that they are not able to address a student's treatment needs)?
Students may wish to keep notes about what providers they have contacted, and when those contacts were made—particularly if they are contacting multiple providers at the same time. It can also be helpful to take notes when speaking with a provider and asking questions, so the information can be referred to later.