Jeffrey Wirthlin, MD
Jeffrey Wirthlin, MD
Meet Our Providers
Jeffrey Wirthlin, MD
Dr Wirthlin graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School. He specialized in Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, and this is where he further specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is dual board certified in both Child & Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. He finished his training in 2005.
Melanie McAdams, LCSW
Melanie received her Masters in Social Work from Boise State University in 2007.
Ericka Meager, LMHC
Ericka received her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in Seattle in 2007.
My goals are to build a therapeutic treatment relationship, to provide good care, and to foster personal growth. I believe strongly in patient autonomy. Treatment and life are based on choices. Finding the right provider fit for you is a key to victory. This document attempts to clarify some of my expectations of patients and what I hope you can expect from me.
Oftentimes arriving at a correct diagnosis and effective treatment is more of an ongoing process than a single event. Our ability to work as a team is critical for success. My goal as your provider is to offer you choices, make recommendations, and explain the risks and benefits; and the pros and cons of various choices. In addition to discussing this with you, I may also refer you to written materials, books and the internet and encourage you to explore these more at length. Even if we disagree on which choice is best, usually we can continue to work together provided there is a plan to monitor outcomes in an ongoing way. If I feel we are not able to build a positive relationship, I will refer you to another provider in hopes of helping you find a good fit for treatment. A movie that illustrates this point is Good Will Hunting.
In general, we will seek collateral sources of information, with your permission. People live and learn in systems (i.e. family, work, school) and getting collateral feedback from alternative sources can be very helpful in making a correct diagnosis. Generally this needs to be done with your consent, with only a few emergency exceptions, and generally we do this during the session (i.e. while you are in the office or the waiting room). In some cases, if I feel collateral history is vital, but you do not allow me to obtain this, I may decide it is best to refer you to another provider. In addition to collateral history, at times we will order medical and psychological tests to better identify or exclude possible diagnosis or to more safely monitor medications. These tests cost money and time, and these would be ordered and performed with your permission. In some cases, you may want to forgo testing and we will continue treatment. In other cases, when I think testing is essential and you do not agree, again I may decide to refer you to another provider.
Commitment to Treatment
Successful treatment often demands attention, energy, and effort on the part of the patient to change habits and improve behavior. This often can be a “two steps forward, one step back” process, requiring patience and determination. If you cannot commit to treatment and complete my recommendations, then, like practicing the piano for lessons, we may not be able to continue working together.
Woody Hayes, the great former football coach from Ohio State University used to hear complaints from alumni about his boring style of football (i.e. running the ball up the middle or off tackle most plays). To their complaints, he would reply “when you pass the football three things can happen—and two of them are bad”. Similarly, when we try a medication three things can happen – two of them are bad (side effect, no benefit, vs. improvement in symptoms). Be aware that generally when there is symptomatic improvement it is usually not 100%. Substance abuse, i.e. alcohol or illegal drugs, can interact negatively with prescribed medications or overuse of prescribed medications can negatively impact treatment. If substance abuse is a key issue of concern in treatment, then I may refer you to specialized treatment. Medication treatment may involve drug screening.
Minors and Parents
Patients under 18 years of age who are not emancipated, and their parents, should be aware that at times I may be required under law to allow the parents access to their child’s information. Also, I like to work with the consent of both parents, and need the support of all legal guardians to treat a child.
In general, non pharmacological treatments and lifestyle changes should be considered and attempted as a first line of defense (i.e. exercise, journaling, therapy). In other cases, medications can be considered. Medications should be thought of as complimentary interventions (i.e. facilitating non pharmacologic treatments and lifestyle changes).
Generally treatment will involve homework, monitoring symptoms, establishing goals and working towards achieving those goals. I often ask patients to carefully monitor for symptoms, (i.e. sleep, mood, anxiety level, energy level), clinical benefits and side effects. In the past some patients have also found it helpful to work from a workbook—i.e. manual based therapy or bibliotherapy.
Due to my work schedule, I am not always immediately available by telephone. I will make every effort to return your call promptly (within 24 hours). If you are unable to reach me and feel that you cannot wait for me to return your call, contact your family physician or the nearest emergency room or dial 911. If you are calling regarding routine, non-urgent matters, you may leave a message on the answering machine. If you will not be carrying your phone with you, please leave numbers where I will be able to reach you when I return your call.
If I will be out of office for an extended period of time, I will carry my phone with me for urgent matters. You may contact me by phone, or if you have an emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
There are very few cases in which people can be forced into treatment in the State of Washington and generally these cases are not under the aegis of medical doctors but rather under the authority of the courts and county designated mental health professionals--CDMHPs. Generally these are cases in which someone is a threat to themselves or others or unable to care for themselves. In such an emergency, a Spokane area number by which these professionals can be reached is a crisis line 1-877-266-1818 (“First Call For Help”). In such a situation, you could also call 911 or present to your nearest Emergency room. In general we will also discuss a safety plan (i.e. for worsening of symptoms).
Our office accepts most major insurances. Please call your insurance provider to see if we are on your panel.
We do NOT accept Tri-Care, Molina, Cigna, Asuris, WA Apple Health, or Medicaid/Medicare.
When you call your insurance provider, it is very helpful to find out if a preauthorization is required. If they require a preauthorization you must have that completed before the first session or your insurance company may not cover your visit.
Sometimes your insurance company may have different deductibles or co-pays for mental health visits. Although we are a doctor’s office, visits to a psychiatrist fall under mental health benefits. Sometimes your mental health coverage is through an entirely different insurance company than your health care coverage. Please find out ahead of time so you can properly budget.