Frequently asked questions

Read the answers to common questions about our care program.

About Prairie Health
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  • Prairie Health is an online psychiatry service focused on reducing all barriers to mental healthcare and modernizing treatment. We specialize in helping adults with depression or anxiety get better through online psychiatry appointments, genetics-informed medication plans and ongoing support, all from the comfort of home.

  • Prairie Health is available in California to adults (age 18 or older) with depression, mild bipolar, insomnia or anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD and panic disorder. For people with ADHD, our team can only prescribe treatment to treat co-morbid anxiety and depression and not the stimulants that are commonly prescribed. (We do not prescribe controlled substances.)

    We are not able to support people with the following conditions:
    • Borderline personality disorders
    • Severe bipolar
    • Severe eating disorder(s)
    • Severe OCD
    • Severe personality disorders
    • Schizoaffective disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Suicide attempt(s) in the last 3 years
    • Substance abuse
    • Unspecified psychosis

    We will be expanding to more states and supporting additional conditions over time, so check back frequently.

  • Prairie was founded to empower everyone to achieve better mental health by reducing all barriers to effective treatment, motivated by personal experiences with mental illness and issues with getting quality care.

    In particular, medication is such a key part of treatment for many people, but the one-size-fits-all approach to prescriptions where trial and error is the norm prevents so many people from recovering.

    To learn more about why we’re so passionate about providing quality mental healthcare, read our founder Benson's story.

  • Prairie is committed to providing you the best possible care, which means we only work with the most qualified and experienced mental health specialists: psychiatrists.

    While both general practitioners like primary care doctors and psychiatrists are medical doctors, psychiatrists receive an additional 4 years of specialized training in psychiatry after completing medical school. In addition, psychiatrists only see psychiatric cases, whereas other practitioners see many types of patients, increasing psychiatrists’ ability to provide the best possible care.

  • Care Coordinators are mental health professionals who help guide you along your care journey.

    Between your psychiatry appointments you can reach out to your Care Coordinator with any questions. This includes adjusting your appointments, medication questions, answering billing questions and interacting with other members of your healthcare team with your consent.

    You have access to your Care Coordinator via text or over the phone for any questions regarding your care Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.

    Learn more about Care Coordinators' important role in this post

  • Your safety is very important to us. If you are in emotional distress or thinking about harming yourself at any point, please use these resources:

    1. Visit: If you are having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency department.

    2. Text: The Crisis Text Line provides free, 24-hour, confidential help. Text ‘HOME’ to 741-741 to connect with a counselor immediately.

    3. Call: You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK to talk with a live counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    There is always help available. We recommend also reaching out to a family member or friend to let them know that you are having these thoughts and ask for help and support.

Getting Started
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  • Prairie offers two ways to start your care program - PrecisionStart anad QuickStart.

    PrecisionStart includes a complimentary genetic testing. However, you'll only be able to see your doctor after your genetic testing results have been delivered. We recommend PrecisionStart if you:
    • Are sensitive to medications.
    • Have tried mental health medication without success.
    • Are female or a person of color.

    QuickStart does not include a genetic testing, but allows you to start your care aas soon as possible. We recommend QuickStart if you:
    • Would like to start care right away.
    • Seeking mental healthcare for the first time, and are generally not sensitive to medications.

  • 1. With PrecisionStart, you will schedule your appointment with your psychiatrist at least 3 weeks out in order to allow time for your DNA test results to be generated.

    2. Once you receive your genetic testing kit, send us back your saliva sample within 3 days upon receipt. This will ensure that your results are processed in a timely manner.

    3. Please allow up to ~2 weeks for our lab to produce your report.

    4. Once your genetic test results are ready, your psychiatrist will go over the results with you during your first visit in order to get personalized dosing decisions and avoid medications your body will not process well.

    5. Following your visit, we'll issue a prescription if medication is the right treatment for you. You'll have the option to get it delivered.

    6. After your first month, continue to meet with your psychiatrist to ensure you are on the right track and treatment is working as expected.

  • 1. With QuickStart, you'll be able to schedule your appointment with your psychiatrist as soon as possible.

    2. Through the intake visit, your psychiatrist will discuss with you to create a personalized treatment plan.

    3. Following your visit, we'll issue a prescription if medication is the right treatment for you. You'll have the option to get it delivered.

    4. After your first month, continue to meet with your psychiatrist to ensure you are on the right track and treatment is working as expected.

  • On your desktop
    No additional software is required on your desktop or laptop to use Prairie. We use HIPAA-compliant video conferencing tools to connect you with your psychiatrist. If you use your desktop or laptop for your psychiatry appointments, we ask that you use a camera so you can build a strong connection with your psychiatrist.

    On your mobile device
    While text will be your primary mode of communication with your Care Coordinator, you will also need to install Google Meet in order to meet your care team over video. Search "Google Meet" in the Google Play Store or App Store to download the app. If you have any difficulties using these tools, reach out to your Care Coordinator for assistance.

Genetic Testing with Prairie

Only applies to the PrecisionStart plan

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  • Different genes mean different responses to medication. Prairie conducts genetic testing via a spit sample in order to help psychiatrists personalize dosing decisions and avoid medications your body will not process well. By doing so, we minimize potentially serious side effects and ensure your care journey is as smooth as possible. Visit our genetic testing page to learn more about how it works and why we include this in care.

  • We firmly believe in evidence-based practices, so our genetic testing adheres to well-supported clinical evidence. Specifically, we provide psychiatrists with information to make dosing decisions and to rule out medications, in line with recommendations by the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC).

    Prairie does not predict what specific medication(s) will be most effective using genetic testing, since clinical evidence is still limited in that area.

    Learn more about how we use genetic testing

  • Most of our genetic testing reports are generated within 10 to 14 days upon the arrival of your swab sample at our laboratory. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your Care Coordinator.

    You will receive an update over text as soon as your report is generated and ready to be used.

  • Your personal information are used to provide your test results, and will be stored in a HIPAA compliant manner. While your information might be used to analyze and improve the lab's services internally, your information will never be shared beyond those entities involved in delivering your genetic testing results, without your consent. For example, the laboratory will never sell, lease, or rent your individual-level protected health information to any third party without your explicit consent. The laboratory will also not use your personal information for research purposes without your consent. However, your information might be provided to law enforcement or regulatory authorities when required by law, or to prevent fraud or cybercrime.

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  • Should your psychiatrist decide to prescribe medication, we offer a wide range of FDA-approved, non-controlled medications including SSRIs, NDRIs, SNRIs, and Alpha-Agonists. However, we do not prescribe any controlled substances like benzodiazepines or stimulant ADHD medications (e.g. adderall).

  • You can ask your Care Coordinator any questions about your medication. Your Care Coordinator will consult with your psychiatrist on your behalf, or you can ask your psychiatrist directly during your next scheduled appointment.

  • This is ultimately up to your psychiatrist and is dependent upon your situation. Typically, medication is prescribed in smaller quantities until it’s clear that the prescribed medication is the right one for you. The longer you are stable on a given medication, the more months your doctor will prescribe between visits.

  • If you get your medication delivered with Prairie, all medications will be provided at a flat price of $15 month per medication, regardless of your insurance plan.

    If you decide to pick up your medication at a local pharmacy, your medication co-pay will depend on your insurance plan and benefits.

  • We primarily use USPS First Class mail to securely deliver your medication, which typically takes 1-3 days. Expedited shipping is available upon request. Because we deliver your medication before your previous prescription runs out, you gain that much more peace of mind.

Appointments, Payments & Referral
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  • Prairie does not accept health insurance at this time, including Medicare and Medicaid. However,we can provide you with a ‘Superbill’ to submit to your insurer for out-of-network reimbursement.

    Patients are solely responsible for payment. However, patients may be able to use their insurance to cover their medication copay if they decide to opt out of medication delivery and use their own pharmacy.

  • When you pay an out-of-network provider, a basic receipt will not have the information required by your insurer for possible reimbursement. The information on a Superbill shows the care you received, how much you paid, and includes specific codes and information required by your insurance company. We can provide you with a Superbill for psychiatry appointments only. Superbills will not cover medication costs.

    A Superbill does not guarantee reimbursement from your insurance company, as each health insurance policy varies from plan to plan. Depending on your particular plan, you may get reimbursement for the total amount paid, partial, or no reimbursement. It is best to check with your insurer in order to find out the reimbursement policy.

  • After your visit with the psychiatrist, reach out to your Care Coordinator to get your Superbill. You can expect to receive your completed Superbill once you request it from your Care Coordinator within 2 weeks.

    Once you have your Superbill, you’ll need to submit it for reimbursement through your insurance. Generally, this looks like mailing or uploading a copy of your Superbill and filling out any more necessary forms.

  • You need to have health insurance coverage in order to seek reimbursement. The amount of reimbursement depends on your specific insurance plan, out-of-network deductible, and the type of medical service you received. Reimbursement rates vary widely by zip code, insurance company, and plan type. Please contact your insurance company to get more specific numbers of how much they can reimburse.

    On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for claims to be processed. Once the claim has been submitted, the best contact for a status update is your insurance company’s Patient Services, or your online insurance portal.

  • We can accept HSA/FSA in one of the following ways:

    (1) If you have a HSA/FSA account with a connected card, you may use your card as payment when booking an appointment.
    (2) If you need to submit a receipt for HSA/FSA reimbursements, we'll make the process easy by providing you with an itemized receipt upon request.

  • You will be charged a $50 deposit when you schedule an appointment, with the remainder billed after your appointment is complete.

    Here’s how that breaks down by each type of appointment:
    Intake appointment: $295 total, with $50 deposit paid when scheduling the appointment and $245 paid after completing your appointment.
    Follow-up appointments: $160 total, paid after completing your appointment. (No-show fee of $50 applies)

  • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, we request that you make changes at least 24 hours in advance. If you cancel and do not reschedule, you will be forfeiting your deposit, if you had paid one. If you reschedule more than 24 hours prior to your psychiatrist appointment, your deposit will be honored for your next visit.

    While follow-up appointments do not have deposits, we reserve the right to charge a no-show fee of $50 if your appointment results in a no-show. We charge this nominal fee to respect your psychiatrist’s time and ensure their time is focused on supporting patients. We appreciate your understanding!

    To make changes to your appointment, you can do so using the link in the original appointment confirmation sent to your email, or by reaching out to your Care Coordinator. If, for whichever reason, we cannot best support your needs, you will be fully refunded your $50 deposit.

  • You can easily schedule appointments with your psychiatrist online. Your Care Coordinator will also be available to support you with scheduling.

    Your psychiatrist will recommend a follow up date to schedule an appointment with you at the end of your visit. You will be given a link through your Care Coordinator to make this appointment.

  • Access will not be limited. You will be able to schedule psychiatrist visits at any time as needed throughout your care journey.

  • Great! For each person you refer, you each get $50 off your next appointment. There’s no limit to how many friends you can refer. In order to claim this reward, your friend must select that they heard about Prairie from a current client when completing their intake form. That will let us know to reach out and apply the credits.

    If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your Care Coordinator.

    Note: to be eligible to receive the $50 off, new clients must meet other eligibility requirements (over 18, living in a state Prairie supports) and successfully complete their initial intake appointment.

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