Baltimore Psychiatry has been committed to accessible and high quality healthcare since our start in 2019. Learn more about our practice, our providers, and their practice philosophy.
Brief Overview of Our Clinic
Baltimore Psychiatry is a niche telepsychiatry practice offering psychiatric evaluations with medication management across the state of Maryland. Frustrated with the low quality, high cost, and poor accessibility of psychiatric healthcare, our practice was founded with 3 primary ideals in mind. We wanted to design an efficient practice that offered services that were:
Convenient and accessible
This practice was founded to give individuals an alternate option to the current status quo of psychiatric care. When seeking a psychiatric provider who offers medication management, choices are unfortunately very limited. With insurance, options are typically restricted to public outpatient clinics with brief appointment lengths and long wait periods to be seen. Brief 15-20 minute “med checks” that may translate to 5-10 minute appointments are unfortunately becoming the norm in public psychiatric care. These may be adequate for those who are doing well on medication. However, we believe they are an inappropriate length of time for the average individual who has recently started medications or has other things they would like to discuss.
We do not believe most people will be comfortable sharing personal details or asking questions when they feel pressured for time. In fact, our patients often share that they felt rushed in public mental health clinics before working with us. Unfortunately, insurance does not seem to consider the talk-heavy and time-intensive nature of psychiatric care, and demand for psychiatric services greatly exceeds availability. Due to these (and some other) factors, only around half of psychiatric providers accept any type of insurance. Even when insurance is accepted, the odds of finding a provider who accepts a specific insurance policy and also has new patient availability can be extremely low.
On the other hand, private practices usually offer more appropriate appointment lengths and (hopefully) better quality of care for their patients. Unfortunately, their pricing usually excludes all but the wealthiest of individuals when they do not accept insurance. This leads to a dilemma for patients when deciding how to pursue or afford treatment. Our overall goal was to design a practice where patients would receive the quality service of a private practice while remaining even more affordable than a public practice. Quality mental health care does not need to be prohibitively expensive or unreasonably brief.
Update: The COVID pandemic brought on a new wave of corporate telehealth "startups" promising accessible and low cost psychiatric care. These companies typically end up being the most expensive of all (despite tempting "intro" deals or misleading insurance "coverage") while offering the lowest possible quality of care. They are generally designed to collect a recurring fee, minimize any meaningful interaction/appointment time with a healthcare provider, and some even make additional profit off of medications prescribed by operating their own pharmacies. These companies do not have patient best interests in mind and often border on the criminal. Some of the big name companies are under investigation by authorities and some chain pharmacies have stopped working with them.
Thankfully, telehealth has become more mainstream and many reputable practices now offer telehealth services. While there are many reputable providers offering services remotely, we highly encourage all individuals to avoid corporate, multi-state telehealth companies.
About Our Providers
Chris Bertsch, PMHNP
Chris initially began his healthcare career as a registered nurse in 2012. He started on a neurological specialty unit in Baltimore, Maryland to gain foundational medical experience before transitioning into the psychiatric specialty. He then worked as a psychiatric nurse for MedStar Health and psychiatric charge nurse for Johns Hopkins Medicine on voluntary and involuntary inpatient units.
It was this experience that confirmed his interest in pursuing the psychiatric specialty and spurred his desire to be able to do more to help his patients. Therefore, he earned a degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) in 2017 after graduating from the country’s #2 ranked PMHNP program at Vanderbilt University. Since becoming a board certified PMHNP, Chris has autonomously treated an assortment of psychiatric diagnoses in outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization, and telehealth settings. He enjoys seeing patients improve regardless of their diagnosis but particularly enjoys treating adults for depression, anxiety, and ADHD in the private, outpatient telepsychiatry setting. In this environment he is able to spend more time with his patients while simultaneously offering them abnormally low rates for services.
"I have always believed in providing the same level of care and service to my patients that I would want for myself or loved ones in their position. I try to educate my patients and involve them in the decision making process as much as possible. We work together to find solutions that are mutually acceptable. Individual preference and beliefs can heavily influence outcomes and tailoring treatment is necessary for best results. When there are multiple treatment options I prefer to present those options, the pros and cons of each, and then provide my clinical opinion. Then I will let let the individual decide what course of treatment they believe will be best for their unique situation (within a reasonable framework). It is fundamentally important to me that my patients are comfortable with the treatment plan chosen.
While my focus is on medication management I believe it is important to consider lab work and diagnostic testing to rule out medical disorders that can present with psychiatric symptoms, evaluate environmental and lifestyle factors, consider alternate forms of non-pharmacological treatment, and assess many other factors and variables in any given case. Medications are a tool, and the potential benefits need to outweigh the risks.
Due to the unfortunate historical stigma attached to mental illness, research has been greatly hindered in this field for many years. Couple that with the general complexity of the brain, and our understanding of the pathology underlying psychiatric illness is still in its infancy. Even so, I have been able to effectively treat many patients with psychotropic medications and when I recommend medication I almost always see substantial improvement. However, I always strive to be as honest, transparent, and pragmatic as possible when discussing options, likely outcomes, and downsides of any particular treatment strategy. This way my patients can make the best possible informed decisions."