Busting Insurance Myths

Busting Insurance Myths: An Interview with Barbara Griswold, MFT

An interview with Barbara Griswold, LMFT – Curt and Katie talk with Barbara about what it is really like to have an insurance-based private practice. We look at the common myths and strategies to navigate taking insurance.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when therapists must develop a personal brand to market their practices.

To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

Interview with Barbara Griswold, MFT, practice consultant, and author

Barbara Griswold, MFT, is a practice consultant and the author of Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist’s Complete Guide to Working with Insurance — And Whether You Should (http://www.theinsurancemaze.com), now in the newly-updated seventh edition.  She invites therapists to contact her through her website to get answers to insurance questions, for practice-building support, and to subscribe to her free monthly e-newsletter to keep abreast of the ever-changing world of insurance.  In private practice in San Jose, California, Barbara has been interviewed on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and her articles have appeared in Psychotherapy Networker and The Therapist magazines.  She is a past member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist’s State Ethics Committee and Board of Directors, and former Oral Licensing Examiner for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The impressions that we often have about taking insurance
  • Why to take insurance: Accessibility of services, full practice with a waitlist, without a waitlist, trade off on costs and fees taken
  • The small marketing steps needed to maximize insurance practices: provider directories, website
  • Expanding your practice beyond wealthy clients – increasing diversity and accessibility, capacity for long-term therapy
  • Taking insurance without selling your soul
  • Barbara never makes a clinical decision based on insurance
  • Sorting through the common myths about taking insurance
  • What makes you appealing to insurance panels
  • Requirements for getting onto panels
  • The online “filing cabinet” for applying for insurance – CAQH
  • The importance of niche and specialization – even for insurance
  • Strategies for pointing out your value to insurance panels
  • Learning what the contracted fee is on an insurance panel and how to negotiate up front
  • How to ask insurance panels for a raise
  • The real truth about the paperwork
  • Improving reimbursement rates and timeline to be paid
  • Using an insurance biller
  • What to do when insurance panels say they are not accepting new providers in your area

Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links.

CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists)


Navigating the Insurance Maze: The Therapist’s Complete Guide to Working with Insurance — And Whether You Should (http://www.theinsurancemaze.com)

Office Ally

Barbara’s Insurance Billers Referral List

Barbara’s Webinar on Progress Notes

Our Generous Sponsor:

Thanks again to our sponsor, SimplePractice!

SimplePractice is an all in one platform where you can schedule appointments, use paperless intakes, file insurance claims, and meet with clients remotely using our integrated Telehealth system.

Go to https://ter.li/tr2018 to sign up for a free 30 day trial.

Because running your practice should be Simple, so you can do the work that really matters.

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a Board Member at Large for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine University, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more about Curt at http://www.curtwidhalm.com.

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant. As a helping professional for two decades, she’s navigated the ups and downs of our unique line of work. She’s run her own solo therapy practice, designed innovative clinical programs, built and managed large, thriving teams of service providers, and consulted hundreds of helping professionals on how to build meaningful AND sustainable practices. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more about Katie at http://www.katievernoy.com.

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch:






Voice Over by DW McCann https://www.facebook.com/McCannDW/

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano http://www.crystalmangano.com/

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