We accept most major insurance programs including Blue Cross, Evergreen, State Merit (Georgia), Medicare, Medicaid (Georgia), Aetna, Cigna, QHP, Tricare, and Mailhandlers. Patients with questions should check with our office staff. Patients with HMO insurance of any form are responsible for having their physician referral with them at the time of the first appointment, and all subsequent appointments. Patients without health insurance are seen on a case-by-case basis, provided that an arrangement for services has been made with our office manager before the first appointment.
The first visit with us is usually the longest, with an average time of approximately two hours in the office. We ask that our new patients arrive thirty minutes early during the first visit to complete necessary forms. We also suggest that patients bring prior medical records and medications. Patients are often told by their referring physicians that their doctor will FAX or send their records. It is more reliable if patients obtain their records from the doctor and bring them along to the first visit. During the first visit, patients will be examined, interviewed, tested, and an initial game plan to approach the condition will be discussed.
We do not often provide a firm opinion about the condition on the first visit. In our area of medicine, laboratory or other tests are usually necessary before a complete opinion may be provided. This may take a few visits. We will not discuss laboratory test results or other results by phone with patients after the first visit. These test batteries are usually complicated. The next visit is specifically for reviewing these tests and making further plans.
We are happy to have family or friends involved in the discussions with our patients. However, we will not discuss anything about one of our patients with a family member or friend unless we have specific written authorization to do so by the patient, and unless the patient is present during the discussion. Of course, parents or guardians of minor patients have the right to have any discussions they wish. We generally start working with our patients within thirty minutes of their appointment time.
The longest wait is less than an hour. We are very concerned about adhering to our patient schedule. Emergency patients or phone calls make that unreliable at times; however, we do value the time of our
patients as we know they value ours.
Follow-up appointments usually take less than thirty minutes, unless special services or procedures are involved. These special services may include special laboratory testing, detailed educational services, or services involving advanced technology.
Follow-up appointments usually involve a review of the initial or subsequent laboratory data, review of the clinical status of the patient, and derivation of plans for future care. A detailed progress report is prepared after most appointments for the primary physician or referring physician of the patient. Patients who walk in without appointments or have emergency appointments are called “fit-ins”, which means that we are “fitting them into our schedule”. When this happens, there may be a wait.
We attempt to identify with our patients when they are in that situation, and seen as urgent or emergency visits. Patients occasionally call the office to ask our staff if their lab work or prior medical records are in their chart in preparation for the first visit. Our staff can tell patients that labs or prior records are there. They are not prepared to determine whether everything the doctor needs to see is there. The best way to be sure that everything the doctor needs to see will be present at the visit is for patients to bring all such records themselves.
Patients or family also call at times and ask to be told the results of laboratory or other testing over the phone. In general, we do not provide such services. We usually do a large and complex battery of laboratory tests. The proper time and place for review of these results is at the office visit. We will, of course, send copies of laboratory work to patients at any time.