Finding PCHs and Physicians in Atlanta, Georgia

I recently received the following comment from Elizabeth B.

I am so glad to have found your blog. My 20 year old son has been in residential treatment for severe major depression/ PTSD for 2 years. I am heartsick that we cannot afford to keep him in treatment any longer and am desperately seeking a good group home in the Marietta area as well as a therapist and a psychiatrist. These clinicians have been provided by the residential facility but neither is in private practice and he has outgrown the child/adolescent ones from pre-residential days.

My DS is still a high school senior but has been on hospitalization status for 2 years. I have recently been appointed his legal guardian and we are in the process of obtaining SSI/Medicaid. He self-harms and is chronically suicidal (many features of BPD) but no “official” diagnosis. He averages at least one 1013 hospitalization every two months. Even if we could afford to continue residential treatment, he is being discharged from the residential facility for failure to make adequate progress and for not keeping his safety contract.

I also have completed the NAMI Family to Family course and found it to be invaluable. The course I attended was in Atlanta though and I am lost trying to find something for my DS in Marietta. Please help!

Hello Elizabeth,

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties your DS has been having. I have a few thoughts that I hope may be helpful.

First, even though you have applied for SSI/Medicaid, can you try to fight to keep your son on your insurance or your husband’s? This is one of the regrets I have about my DS. At the time he became too old to be covered by my husband’s health insurance he was not “disabled enough” in my opinion to qualify as a disabled adult dependent. Now ten years later, I fear the delay in asking for coverage may make it even more impossible to get approved. Then again, I wonder if my son would have qualified for SOURCE if he still had some private insurance. I don’t know.

About finding a place for your son, such as a group home or a personal care home, I suggest you start here:

http://socialworkersteam.com/Lincensed_pch.aspx . {Edit on July 28, 2010: This site appears to be dead. See my next post on finding a PCH.}

Start with the SOURCE Placement Services. Personally, I would advise skipping Betty Hardy. Unfortunately they don’t always help a lot with the footwork, and you may still find yourself calling a hundred places to find that most of them do not accept clients of your son’s gender or youth, or that they have no current openings. I fear that your son’s inclination to self-harm may make it difficult to find placement also. Nobody wants clients that are troublesome, but there may be a few caring souls out there. Also, understand that personal care homes are not places of treatment; they are only a place to room and board. They give a certain amount of supervision and they make sure the medicines are taken.  At first I was nervous about the fact that they did not lock doors during the day and my son could just walk away whenever he felt like it. At least the latest PCH my son is living at has an alarm that sounds on the outside door when it opens. The list of personal care homes on the above page is very abbreviated. There are many more personal care homes, and the people from the SOURCE Placement Services can give you more names to check out.

From what I remember of the procedure, you need to have a personal care home picked before you can go through the application process for SOURCE, but you should ask about that. It can be tough to find an opening in a personal care home you would care to use, then you could lose the slot while you are waiting for approval, I think. Hopefully, they still do not require you have a slot before going through the process for SOURCE. After we got approved for SOURCE I found that my DS’s SOURCE social worker was sometimes a good resource for information on some things.

About finding doctors or therapists, I think Medicaid does not pay for therapists.  I could be wrong, but I think that is the reason my son has never had one since he left private insurance. About finding a doctor, I started with the doctors I heard about through my son’s numerous hospitalizations. I would read online anything I could find out about the doctor’s background. I learned, for instance, that one doctor that eventually “fired” my son from her practice after he was verbalizing some violent inclinations, had the most interest in treating postpartum depression: not a good match for my schizo-affective young male, I guess. There was one doctor I found by this method that I thought sounded like one of the best doctors I could find in the Atlanta area for treating schizophrenia. Then my son refused to see him because he had some paranoid feelings about this doctor when he met him in the hospital. We are seeing another doctor in the same office. I figure one doctor may consult another if the one is having a difficult patient.

By the way, what is a 1013 hospitalization?

Explore posts in the same categories: Mental Illness, People Who Help, Places to Live

2 Comments on “Finding PCHs and Physicians in Atlanta, Georgia”

  1. Elizabeth B. Says:

    Thank you so much for giving me this information to get started. A 1013 is a referral from the Emergency Room as an involuntary admission to a mental health hospital.
    As far as therapists, I found a place in Cobb County called The Link which offers therapy for suicide prevention for a very low cost (like in the $25-50 per session range.)
    Right now DS is still covered on our health insurance plan but we max out of benefits after 45 days/ calendar year under the current provisions. Next year may be different but at age 20, they will only cover him if he is either a full time student or in full time treatment (which they won’t cover because he is deemed “chronic.”) He is certainly not capable of school right now because of the depression, social anxiety and residual memory loss from ECT. Very sad because he was on the honor roll until this episode began at the end of his junior year of high school.
    We are looking for group home living arrangements because our younger son has had such a difficult time coping with DS’s illness and the self-harm aspect in particular. The younger one became depressed and hopeless because he observed that therapy and medication have not helped his brother. My DH is on chemo and doesn’t handle the added stress well either. We are a very close-knit family and I am trying to balance the desperate needs of DS with the rest of the family. There is no good solution and it is breaking my heart because I love every one of them so much.
    The residential facility that is discharging him is of course recommending more full-time treatment at a different facility. My gut feel is that the cost/benefit ratio is no longer in our favor. They were willing to treat him for as long as we had money but now don’t want to assume the risk for his safety so they want to pass him off to another place. It almost seems like a death sentence to me to take him out of his secure place when he is so very fragile but we apparently have no choice. From what I read, we are better off trying a group home where I can help with his care some rather than take a chance with the state hospitals.
    Do you know whether there is an opening at the PCH where your son is currently living? We do need a realatively small group home that will administer medication so that it won’t be used for self-harming and also one that will at least monitor his whereabouts. Finding one that will take my DS is not going to be an easy task so I would appreciate any insight as to specific places to avoid or ones to try first (feel free to email directly.)
    I have a deep faith that there is a purpose to all of this and am also realistic enough to know that not everyone is healed on this earth. This hard truth is so difficult when it is your dearly loved son. I am prepared to fight it out with everything I have!

  2. Denise Fitzpatrick Says:

    I wish we could start our own personal care homes.

Comment: