Christopher B. Capelle, M.D.


chris capelle I have been a psychiatrist in solo private practice since 1989 with extensive experience in both hospital and ambulatory care. I was board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology in 1994. I attended Loyola University - Stritch School of Medicine before my internship in internal medicine and specialized training in psychiatry at UCLA. I am involved in national and local professional organizations including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, California Medical Association, and the Northern California Psychiatric Society. I have a rich network of medical and mental health specialist colleagues whom I routinely consult and collaborate on complex, challenging cases. This includes regular weekly consultation to therapists and their clients at Family and Children Services in Palo Alto and multidisciplinary case conferences with the solo practitioners of The Counseling and Psychotherapy Center since 1992. My past affiliations include active staff, faculty, and leadership roles at Washington Township Hospital- Whitaker Pavilion, CPC Fremont Hospital, Sequoia Hospital, Woodside Women's Hospital, El Camino Hospital, and the Stanford Medical Center.

I am originally from Los Angeles, California, living in the mid-peninsula area with my wife and two children. My office is located just north of California Avenue in Palo Alto with ample parking on the street and a public parking garage nearby. The nearest cross streets are Cambridge Avenue from El Camino Real, and Birch Street from Page Mill Road.

My practice involves the identification and treatment of general psychiatric conditions in adults and adolescents, often on referral for consultation by another physician or therapist in the community. After an initial diagnostic evaluation of about 60 to 90 minutes and review of past and ongoing therapies, I am usually prepared to offer a range of diagnostic opinions and propose a course of treatment. Other treatment arrangements are possible including collaboration with an alternative psychotherapist or direct consultation to a primary physician. My diagnostic considerations are inevitably refined or may change depending on the experience with treatment and further information acquired in future appointments. I must emphasize the first appointment with me is a consultation only and does not necessarily establish a doctor- patient relationship.

I am available by appointment only from 6am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Appointments are regarded as reserved time and subject to the full charge if a cancellation notice is not received within 24 hours. I make every effort to be available to my patients in a timely fashion and likewise expect my patients to not delay in their effort to alert me of any complication or concern arising between appointments. Cancelling an appointment without a request to reschedule will be understood to be a termination of treatment. In the event I am not available, notice of my coverage by other psychiatrists will be provided in the announcement on my answering machine, eMail, and/ or posting in my waiting room. My eMail and FAX (650) 329-1577 (same as the main telephone number) are available for processing non-urgent matters and supplementing information only. I discourage their use for immediate concerns and emphasize the use of my telephone for anything critical. All messages should be left on my answering machine at (650) 329-1577 beginning with the name, telephone number, and a very brief message. For messages received Monday through Friday, I will return calls within 24 hours of receiving them. For all urgent matters, please attempt to leave a message on my answering machine, then call my cell phone at (650) 207-6651 to leave another message unless I answer directly. If immediate care is necessary, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room for evaluation.

My fee schedule is available upon request. Payment is due at the time of service. I accept checks, cash, and all major credit cards. I do not have a sliding or negotiable fee schedule. I cannot bill any health insurance, but will provide a comprehensive invoice to submit claims for reimbursement. I am not a participating provider with any insurance company and have voluntarily "opted out" of the Medicare program. If someone has a Medicare benefit and wants to see me, they must be willing not to bill their Medicare coverage and any insurance policy secondary to Medicare for my services only.

I do not charge for telephone calls involving urgent matters such as but not limited to medication experiences, clarifying treatment recommendations, prescription refills, or schedule changes. If indicated, prescriptions for medication are provided only during appointments and will not be refilled over the telephone between appointments except in emergencies. Any concerns about what has been discussed in sessions should be reserved for future sessions or subject to my fees for telephone consultation listed below depending on my availability. Reports or written correspondence including disability/ insurance reports and medication prior authorization requests are charged on a pro-rated hourly basis. Hard-copy prescription refills requested between sessions that are required by law or an insurance procedure are charged at a fixed rate.

While the Health Care Information Act of 1992 allows release of health information to another health care provider, family member, caregiver, or police without prior consent, I will not do this unless the situation is an emergency such as imminent self harm/ suicide or harm to others. I am required by state law to recognize intent to harm another person and act to both inform the potential victim and local police. I am also obligated to report acts of abuse or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult to Child Protective Services or Adult Protective Services respectively. In the course of couples therapy involving intermittent individual sessions, confidentiality does not apply between the partners. An unemancipated minor (under 18 years old) has no confidentiality from their parents or guardian unless otherwise specified in a formal agreement.

The privacy of medical records is further specified by a federal law entitled the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) insuring medical records are maintained in a secure electronic form, available for review and amendment by patients upon their written request and reason. With some exceptions, all protected health information (PHI) acquired in the course of evaluation and treatment is confidential unless specific written authorization is given by my patient or my patient's legal guardian or conservator to disclose. This authorization must specify a verifiable recipient, how PHI will be used, and an expiration date. An authorization may be revoked in writing at any time.

The disclosure of PHI that may be made without authorization, but with an opportunity to object include efforts to notify significant others such as family or friends critical to a patients' welfare of the location, general condition, or death of a patient. In such an emergency, PHI will be released on a minimum necessary basis in my judgment. When an emergency does not exist and my patient either lacks the ability to make health care decisions or has died, PHI will be disclosed to a person designated in accordance with a valid advanced directive, a court appointed guardian/ conservator, or state agency assigned to a patients' welfare.

Other prominent exceptions include the release of PHI:

  1. for payment of services such as the use of a billing service or collection agency,
  2. in the process of ordering procedures, labs, and medication,
  3. to contact a patient for various reasons such as reporting results or reminding of appointments which may involve leaving a message on an answering machine which someone else may have access to.

The disclosure of PHI that may be made without authorization or an opportunity to object include:

  1. emergencies when a patient is in imminent danger and momentarily unable to object,
  2. as required by federal, state, or local law enforcement,
  3. efforts to avert serious threat to the health and safety of oneself or others as described above,
  4. public health functions in controlling/ investigating disease/ injury/ disability, reporting child/ elder abuse
  5. or neglect, and reporting events to and complying with directives of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  6. medical examiners or funeral directors in their duties,
  7. authorized federal officials for national security purposes,
  8. military authorities for Armed Forces personnel,
  9. correctional/ law enforcement authorities for patients involved in the criminal justice system,
  10. compliance with the state Workers' Compensation law.

PHI safeguards include reasonable physical and electronic security of my office including sound-proof walls, key or password mediated access, and secure destruction of redundant PHI. I do not employ anyone in the administration of my practice who would have access to PHI. eMail is not confidential and cannot be protected since it is retained in the logs of an internet service provider. If my practice is transferred to another physician, all information will become the property and responsibility of the new physician.

Other than the above exceptions, PHI will not be disclosed without prior written authorization, which can be revoked in writing at any time. Requests can be made in writing to not use or disclose health information as described above, but may not be possible under the HIPAA law. Patients have the right to know of any uses or disclosures of health information other than the exceptions mentioned above. Upon written request, patients have the right to review their records copied in a timely fashion for a reasonable fee and/ or transfer their information to another physician. After reviewing their medical record, patients can submit a written request and reason for amendments to their medical file if necessary. Complaints about this process can and must be filed within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 IndependenceAvenue,S.W., Room 509F, Washington,DC 20201 or Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 322, San Francisco, California 94102; voice (415) 437-8310, FAX (415) 437-8329, TDD (415) 437-8311. While retaliation will not occur against any patient for filing a complaint, I encourage discussing this initiative or any questions with me as the "privacy officer" before doing so.

I endeavor to keep brief records, noting attendance with start and stop times, modalities/ frequencies/ and response to treatment interventions, medication prescription and monitoring, results of clinical tests, symptom and functional status, progress to date, diagnostic and prognostic considerations, and further treatment considerations. Psychotherapy notes documenting or analyzing the contents of conversation during individual, group, joint/ couples, or family sessions are excluded from the medical record unless specifically authorized by the patient. Again, medical records are available to my patients for review and amendment upon their written request and specific reason.

This exhaustive detail is intended to inform you as required by law, not to bewilder. Please do not hesitate to call or eMail me for any questions you might have after reading this. Meanwhile, thank you for visiting this site and best wishes!

tel & FAX (650) 329-1577
cell (650) 207-6651

Map and Directions: 350 Cambridge Avenue, Suite 200, Palo Alto, California  94306

*Counseling and Psychotherapy Center is an association of independent practitioners and is not a partnership, nor a corporation or joint venture.