Frequently Asked Questions
MMH is not an emergency hotline or an emergency hospital department. For all emergencies, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room in your city or town. One aim of MMH is, however, to equip patients and families during non-emergent times with best plans and resources for handling crises and emergencies.
Health Services Consultations are non-clinical consultations designed to aid patients and family members navigate the mental health system. They are not diagnostic interviews in which specific treatments are recommended or provided. They are information sessions wherein Dr. Merritt answers your questions and shares his knowledge, expertise, and recommendations for “best next steps.”
A Care Navigator at Merritt Mental Health is an expert in navigating the mental health system. The Care Navigator works at the interface of your specific needs and requests and the mental health system, dialoguing daily with Dr. Merritt to ensure that every project benefits from his clinical expertise, knowledge, and referrals networks. The Navigator helps you with research, provider searches, program searches, insurance-related matters, and anything else related to mental health care that you request.
All consultations are confidential to the fullest extent allowable by law.
In cases of risk of danger to self or danger to others, health care providers are required to take prudent action to prevent harm. Other than these instances and court orders, your information and records are kept fully confidential at MMH.
While Dr. Merritt has developed an expertise in evaluation and consultation in the area of addictive disorders over many years of practice, he is not an “addiction physician” or “addictionologist” with subspecialty certification by the American Board of Addiction Medicine or the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Be aware that “addiction specialist” is a confusing designation in the field of chemical dependency and recovery, used self-referentially by physicians, therapists, mental health “techs,” and many others. Only the names “addiction physician” and “addictionologist” refer specifically to a medical doctor with specialty training in addiction. Be sure to know the educational background and training of any health care professional with whom you work.
MMH is not “in-network” with any health insurance carrier. Some of our services, such as Clinical Consultations, are reimbursable by insurance on an “out-of-network” basis. Please contact us with any questions you have. We are committed to helping you receive the maximal reimbursement from your insurance carrier.
No value at MMH is more important than that of maintaining our objectivity in the recommendations and referrals we make to you. We accept no compensation or favors whatsoever from any outside healthcare entity for making referrals, and we give no compensation or favors for referrals made to MMH. We specifically request of all treatment centers, outpatient programs, hospitals and other clinicians that they give us no gifts, no matter how seemingly trivial. The American medical system is in the midst of a crisis of trust due to widespread conflicts of interest. Our explicit determination is to steer clear of all such entanglements so that you are always confident that our guidance and recommendations are based on one thing only—your best interests.
With the exception of a sabbatical year taken in 2009, Dr. Merritt has maintained a psychiatry practice in San Francisco consistently since 2002. The dominant focus of his practice is brief psychotherapy—individual therapy and couples therapy. Most of his professional hours are currently spent researching and consulting, but there are occasional openings in his private practice.
Dr. Merritt is trained in psychopharmacology, has taught resident physicians psychopharmacology, and continues to prescribe a spectrum of medications in his practice. However, MMH is a consulting, not a treating, firm. Only in rare circumstances in the course of Clinical Consultations does he prescribe medications. We call these “bridge treatments.” The sole purpose of bridge treatments is to aid patients during periods of transition of care.
MMH kindly requests that clients not contact us expressly for medication treatment. Instead, request Care Navigator Assistance and we will help you find a prescribing doctor who is a good fit for your needs and preferences.
You may cancel or change appointments times for consultations without charge up to 48 business hours before the appointment time. No refunds are made for cancelations made within the 48-hour window; the full cost of the appointment is charged. Thank you for your understanding.