Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
What states do you offer ESA evaluations and letters for?
Dr. Furtado is a clinical psychologist licensed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. Due to interstate professional licensing regulations, to meet for a telehealth evaluation you must be in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or New York at the time of your appointment.
Will I be under the care of a mental health clinician?
Yes, but only during the assessment. We may provide you with additional resources or referrals to treatment if you and the clinician determine it would be beneficial.
When will I know if I meet the need for an ESA letter?
The evaluating clinician should be able to inform you at the end of the session. However, they may need to seek further consultation about your case before making a decision.
How long are ESA letters valid?
Typically, ESA letters are valid for 12 months after the date on the letter. However, these dates can vary and clients are encouraged to contact their local housing authority, the FAA, or the appropriate airline to confirm the expiration date of an ESA letter.
What is the WHODAS 2.0 assessment?
WHODAS 2.0 is the first part of our ESA evaluation process. It's a short assessment used to measure health and disability covering six domains of functioning, including cognition, mobility, self-care, getting along, life activities, and participation. We will use your responses on the WHODAS 2.0 in combination with an virtual clinical interview to determine if the need for an ESA exists.
What information will you assess during the telehealth appointment?
The second part of an ESA evaluation is a clinical interview. Your evaluating clinician will look into the impact that your disability has on day-to-day functioning. They will ask questions about how your disability affects you to determine if an emotional support animal could help alleviate symptoms. Additionally, they'll want to ensure that you are capable of caring for the animal.
Should my animal be present during the evaluation?
It is not necessary for you to have your emotional support animal present during the assessment. We do not assess the animal. Instead, we evaluate the individual for the need for an ESA.
How much does the evaluation cost?
The ESA evaluation costs $175, which includes the initial review of your online assessments, the 30-minute virtual evaluation, and any letters or documentation provided to you if an ESA is determined to be appropriate.
The full amount is due at the time of your scheduled appointment. When you schedule an appointment, you will be asked to add a debit or credit card to your secure client portal account. Start Line Behavioral Health, LLC will automatically charge the appointment fee to this payment method.
Does insurance cover the cost of an ESA evaluation?
Not at this time. ESA evaluations are considered a specialty service and, therefore, not covered by medical insurance.
When will I receive my ESA letter?
If you meet the need for an emotional support animal, you will typically receive your letter by email within 72 business hours of your evaluation. If more time is needed, you will be notified by your evaluating clinician as soon as possible.
If my housing provider or an airline will not accept my ESA letter, can you make any revisions?
Yes. However, we are only able to make minor revisions to our letter as it contains all the required information per the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and/or the Air Carrier Access Act. In rare cases, a housing provider or airline may also request that we complete additional forms or include more information in an ESA letter. While you are not required to provide specifics about your medical condition, we can add details upon your request. Form fees may apply.
Will you complete forms for housing or additional forms requested by an airline?
Yes. If you meet the need for an emotional support animal, we can complete up to 2 single-page forms at no charge within 30 days of your appointment. After 30 days, the following fee schedule applies:
Single-page forms: $25
Multi-page forms: $200 per hour billed in 15-minute increments
A new ESA evaluation is required to complete any additional forms after 6 months.