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Psychological Assessment

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Office of Dr. Emily Caster

Dr. Caster is a trained mental health professional; in collaboration with patients, she evaluates whether or not a patient is psychologically prepared to undergo weight reduction surgery at a particular point in time and then prepares a report for the referring physician and (when appropriate, insurance companies) describing the surgical candidate’s psychological strengths and weaknesses along with recommendations.

The evaluation generally takes place over one session, but more sessions may be required. Prior to the scheduled appointment, patients are asked to obtain forms available online and bring them, completed, to the evaluation. Patients are asked to also bring their reading glasses, hearing aids, and/or any assistive devices because reading is a significant part of the assessment. If a patient has difficulty reading English, or English is not his or her primary language, it is requested that staff are made aware prior to the day of the appointment.

During the assessment, the patient will spend the first hour meeting with a medical assistant to establish height and weight, and completing computerized psychological measures to assess for levels of emotional distress and overall readiness for bariatric surgery. This computerized testing generally takes 50 to 60 minutes. Following completion of the measures, patients meet with Dr. Caster for a structured interview for approximately 45- 60-minutes. The interview component is not intended to be stressful, but rather a time to answer questions about preparation, goals, mental health history, and motivation. There is no need to prepare for this evaluation other than completing the requested forms in advance.

Dr. Caster belongs to several insurance panels, but also accepts self-pay. Insurances currently accepted (but continuing to grow) include Aetna, Cigna Behavioral Health, Carefirst (BC/BS) PPO, Kaiser, Tricare Standard, Medicare (Novitas), and Magellan (for VA Medicaid), among others. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Dr. Caster’s office at the number listed above.

For patient convenience, Dr. Caster has an office in the VHC PG Surgical Specialists’ suite, Suite 334 on the third floor of the 1625 Building at Virginia Hospital Center. Patients are advised to park in the blue “A” parking lot and enter the attached building. Then, take the elevator to the 3rd floor and walk down the corridor to suite 334.


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