Question: what would be the best way to start-up a neuropsych practice given the astronomical cost of test materials?
Can test materials ever be bought used? (i.e. from retiring neuropsychologists?) Do private practice clinicians (working solo) ever share the cost of the tests (and testing materials)? If a person were just starting out (and were restricted financially), would they have to do watered down assessments using the core tests (WAIS, WIAT, etc.) until they could afford additional measures? Any advice about starting out?
Yes. This can be done. I personally have never done this, but know the clinicians I work with have. It is possible to buy used assessments from people, often psychologists who do not need them or cannot use them anymore. You will have better luck getting used assessment kits and protocol booklets of old
versions of assessments like the WISC III for children.
This is going to be a shocker for some, but you can even buy used asssessment kits on eBay! I am not joking:
As for neuropsych assessments, you will probably be less likely to come across something like that used on the internet. I would network like crazy and ask around at local clinics if they have test kits they are no longer using that you could purchase from them. We've got a whole closest full of test kits we don't use anymore, but I think the majority of them are out-of-date versions. I think it is entirely reasonable that there are solo private practitioners out there who share test kits and protocols...but I'd have to think that perhaps they shared a common space and worked different days. "Sharing" a test kit with multiple people can be really tricky if several evaluations are going on at the same time and you all want the same one.
As for using assessments like the WAIS only until you can afford neuropsych assessments...I don't know...that depends on your client base. If you tell people you are going to do a neuropsych assessment for them, and you only give them a WAIS, you would be lying. If you have a client population that needs the WAIS only, then you could use it with those people as needed, and when you can afford neuropsych assessment materials, you could add neuropsych evals to your schedule.
Hope that helps. You should be able to score some test kits from psychologists that are retiring or that are shedding kits they don't use anymore. Test protocols, on the other hand, you'll always have to have. Test booklets are cheaper than the test kits themselves, but they still aren't cheap. You can't get around buying test protocol booklets. You might even be able to find a listserv or a forum of practicing clinicians who swap things like test kits.