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From left, Janet Fitzpatrick, Jessica Belisle and Dr. Kristine Dangremond of Affinity Therapy Services.

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For those struggling to find a psychiatrist in Colorado Springs, good news: A new practice has opened in the northwest part of the city and is welcoming new patients.

The bad news: You won't find Dr. Kristine Dangremond on your insurance company's provider list. Like a majority of private-practice psychiatrists in town, she won't be accepting insurance.

She can't afford to, she says.

"If we accepted insurance, literally, it would just be breaking even," she says. "I have to support my family, and I still have student loans."

Insurance companies reimburse at a higher rate for psychiatric care affiliated with a hospital or major institution, she says. But as part of a small practice, "I don’t know how to make the business work the way they reimburse us. … One psychiatrist I just talked to, he was saying he uses his income from working for a hospital to keep his outpatient psychiatry practice open."

There's also the cost of doing business with the insurers, she says. "The insurance companies won't reimburse you unless you're going through a billing service. You have to hire a middleman. And then they require a percentage in order to work with you. And the billing companies require electronic health records to work with you. It just gets exponentially more expensive with every step."

Dangremond is board certified in general and child psychiatry. The new practice, Affinity Therapy Services (affinitytherapyservicesllc.com), includes her and two licensed marriage and family therapists, Janet Fitzpatrick and Jessica Belisle. Affinity provides pediatric and adult medication management, individual therapy and specialized therapy services such as dialectical behavioral therapy, which is designed for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors.

It's her first time in private practice, Dangremond says. "I have been in major universities and community mental health systems my entire career so far." Most recently, she has been working in Pueblo.

Community Conversation will focus on fixing our mental health care system

"We just have great energy working together," Dangremond says of her Affinity partners. And the variety of care they can offer rarely exists under one roof in such a small practice, she says.

"Each of us have different backgrounds and a variety of experiences. We just offer so many options on how to approach each problem."

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