Frequently Asked Questions
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychology is a specialty that focuses on the evaluation of cognitive and psychological functioning. Neuropsychologists have specialized training in brain function, brain injury and disease, and neuroanatomy. With the help of standardized tests, we can obtain information that is vital in an overall diagnostic work-up and can offer the physician important information often necessary for:
• Assessment of cognitive impairment and areas of preserved function relating to a neurological injury or disease- useful for patients with head injury, brain tumors, cerebrovascular disease and stroke, encephalitis, and other conditions affecting the CNS.
• Diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities in adults and children
• Diagnosis of dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia) – for patients over 60 complaining of memory problems. Evaluation may last 2 to 2.5 hours.
• Differentiation between psychological and organic causes of cognitive dysfunction
• Acquisition of reasonable accommodations at work or school as per the Americans with Disabilities Act
• Acquisition of disability benefits
• Monitoring functioning over time in a patient taking medication for cognitive dysfunction (e.g., cholinesterase inhibitors for dementia, stimulants for ADHD)
Option 2: A neuropsychological evaluation is a formal assessment of cognition (thinking abilities). It can provide detailed information about your ability to focus, process information, learn, remember, and solve problems. Research shows that many conditions can result in changes to your thinking abilities. These conditions could be medical, psychiatric, and/or developmental. Examples of medical conditions that could affect thinking include a brain injury, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep apnea, Lyme disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Lupus. Examples of psychiatric conditions include depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Examples of developmental conditions include an attention deficit disorder, a learning disability, and autism. There are also many other things that can affect one’s thinking abilities, including fatigue, pain, stress, and medication side effects. A neuropsychological evaluation can help determine why you’re having cognitive problems. With that information, important decisions can be made about the best way to treat the problems.
Who is qualified to conduct a neuropsychological evaluation?
A neuropsychologist is someone who has earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, completed pre- and post-doctoral training in neuropsychology, and has become licensed as a psychologist.
How do I know if a neuropsychological evaluation is necessary?
If you’ve noticed a decline in one or more of your cognitive abilities, you should be evaluated.
What is involved in the evaluation?
The neuropsychological will spend time with you to get a detailed history. You will be asked to talk about the problems you’ve been having and how they’ve been affecting you. Then, you’ll do some mental exercises or tasks. These tasks will assess your ability to focus, process, learn, remember, and so on. The evaluation is not a test of how smart you are or of how much you know. You don’t need to be nervous. The tasks simply give us information about how your brain is working.
How long will the evaluation last?
The interview usually takes 30-60 minutes and the assessment session could be an hour or a few hours. We want you to be as comfortable as possible, so you can take as many breaks as you need and, for many of the tasks, you can work at your own pace. That’s why it’s hard to tell you exactly how long it will last.
What happens after the evaluation?
Most people return to the doctor who referred them for the evaluation to go over the results, but we also encourage you to meet with us for a more detailed review of your neuropsychological report. It’s written for you and we want to make sure you understand everything in it.
How long does it take to get the results of the evaluation?
It usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks for a final report to be completed. If necessary, however, the report can be completed in less time.
Does insurance cover the cost of a neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychological evaluations are typically covered by insurance. Since most people referred to us have some form of cognitive compromise, dealing with the insurance companies is difficult for them. Therefore, we have a very experienced billing director who will handle ALL insurance issues for you. She will contact the insurance company on your behalf and determine your coverage. She will always inform you of your coverage and what co-pay you might have to pay. You shouldn’t have to deal with the insurance company at all.
FOR REFERRAL SOURCES:
Neuropsychology Associates of Fairfax is a comprehensive neurocognitive assessment center that offers appointments for your patients with minimal wait times and reports tailored to your needs and that of your patient. Drs. Quig, Wilken, and Sullivan have a team of staff with years of experience. We have an experienced billing director who handles all insurance and billing issues so you and your patient don’t have to.
To make an appointment:
There are several ways to make an appointment:
1) Have your patients call our office at (703) 876-0966. If they reach our voicemail, they can leave a message and we will call back within 24 hours.
2) Your patient can stop by our office in person to make an appointment.
3) Fax us a prescription for testing (703) 876-1628
4) Call our office yourself with the patient’s contact information and the reason for the referral (703) 876-0966
Appointments can generally be scheduled within a couple of weeks of the initial contact. If there is an urgency to the case, please contact us and let us know. We will make every effort to work the patient into our schedule as soon as possible to accommodate your needs.
What to expect from the reports:
• Focus on the referral question without the use of jargon or “psychobabble”.
• Typically 3-5 pages, including a comprehensive set of recommendations.
• Many different formatting options (can be tailored to your needs)
• Typically ready within 2-3 weeks. For urgent cases, contact us and it can be sooner.
• Patients can be scheduled for a one-hour feedback session to review test results and recommendations. Medically related accommodations will always be discussed first with the referring physician.
• Consultations with referring physician are always an option when needed. Just call our office to set up a time to talk with the neuropsychologist who saw your patient.
• Neuropsychological evaluations are typically covered by insurance.
• Since most people referred to us have some form of cognitive compromise, dealing with the insurance companies is difficult for them. Therefore, we have a very experienced billing director who will handle ALL insurance issues for the patient. She will contact the insurance company on behalf of the patient and determine coverage.
• Our billing director always informs the patient of his or her coverage and the likely co-pay. The patient does not have to deal with the insurance company at all.