Help Us Help You
In most cases, Pediatricians and their patient families have a good relationship. Sometimes, though, issues do come up, either with the office, the staff, the doctor, or with the family.
Among the biggest controversies are those that deal with insurance. We understand that parents can get very upset when they are charged for something that they think their insurance should cover, and your doctor may also get upset when they bear heavy costs and don't get paid.
easiest way to avoid these problems is to call your
insurance company and verify your benefits. Among the
things you could ask about are:
Well Child Checkups
Shouldn't your Pediatrician's office do that for you? As a courtesy, they may try, but in some cases, your doctor's office may not have the resources to spend 20 or more minutes verifying the insurance benefits for every single patient, procedure, medication, or protocol.
Each insurance company seems to have their own list of medications that they prefer (or which they will pay for), to decrease their overall expenses. You may also call your insurance provider and inquire about lists of medicines, labs, and specialists you can use. Please carry this prescription and insurance information with you at all times. (at least your card).
Also, please be sure to update the office staff and your patient file if your insurance coverage or personal contact has changed.
Another problem that parents complain about is how long they have to wait for their appointment. Many offices run on time and can minimize your wait. But, in pediatrics, every day can be a race against the clock. Children are a special type of patient where near emergency care and prevention must be practiced diligently. Please exercise patience, because if timeline priorities are not professionally maintained, a baby can die.
The worst type of delay can occur if the doctor is called to deal with a bonafide life threatening emergency. And can even be pulled away to the hospital for the rest of the day. Or, if a sick child reacts unfavorably in our office, this can take up to 2 hours of our time and throw the entire office off schedule. All we can hope for is that when it is YOUR TURN, that you get ALL the attention that you need. We make a conscious attempt not to rush through YOUR BABY'S care; and we hope that you can appreciate this.
Tips to help your pediatrician's office go smoothly:
- Call a few days in advance if you need a refill on a medication, a referral to a specialist, immunization records, a school/camp form filled out or some other non-urgent request. Please, don't wait until the last minute if you need something special done by our office.
- Show up for a specified appointment on time. If it is your first visit, you might even want to show up 10-15 minutes early, as you will likely need to fill-in our forms with your contact,prior history, and insurance information. People showing up late or unprepared for their appointments is one reason that offices get off schedule and other patients have to wait.
- Call early when your child is sick and you need an appointment. In most cases, if you call first thing in the morning, you will likely be seen later that morning or in the early afternoon. If you wait until later in the day, you might not be seen until the absolute end of the day/evening.
- Consider scheduling your well child checkups in summertime when the office will likely be less busy than it is during winter. This may give you more time with your child's doctor and you will have a shorter overall waiting time for appointments.
- Prepare a list of questions or issues in advance, that you would like to discuss with your Pediatrician during the visit. It is hard to remember everything you want to talk about, but getting all of your questions answered can prevent your having to call back or schedule another appointment.
- Ask questions for clarity on with what your doctor has said. A little bit of discussion about your concerns can help prevent misunderstandings and reassure you about what your Pediatrician thinks is going on.
- Please, find someone to watch over your OTHER Kids when you take your child to the doctor. This isn't always possible, but you will likely have a more productive visit if there aren't 2 or 3 extra kids running around the room.
- PLEASE PROVIDE the doctor with feedback about your visits. If you have a problem with someone in the office, GET A NAME, and let management know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if you have a problem with the doctor, suggestive feedback may help them see things in a different way.
Tips on what NOT to do:
- DO NOT use caller ID to call the back line of the office or your Pediatrician's home phone. If your Pediatrician wants you to have his or her home number, s/he would have given it to you in advance [with special instructions.] This has become such a big problem that many doctors block their number from going out when they call parents after hours, creating a problem for those people who block anonymous calls. Avoid this problem, and please use STANDARD procedure to call your doctor when the office is closed. Even if you JUST talked to the doctor and have a real quick question, it is REQUIRED protocol to go back through the answering service and page your Pediatrician instead of calling them directly at home. [NOTE: protocols insist that calls be taken in chronological order, and get 100% documented by our answering service.]
- DO NOT wait until after hours to call for a non-urgent problem. Although your Pediatrician is likely on call and available after-hours when the office is closed, please call about any non-urgent problem DURING office hours.
- DO NOT attempt to avoid paying your co-pay or the fee for your office visit. IF you cannot afford a fee, please let us know, so proper paperwork can be prepared in advance.
- DO NOT come unprepared to your appointment. Please call ahead and ask if any preparations can be made in advance. [such as fasting.] ALSO: Please bring the exact medications [especially prescriptions] your child is currently taking or has recently completed.
- DO NOT miss appointments without calling us, and/or re-scheduling. There is now a $10 fee for this. If a doctor has an increasing number of patients that don't show up for appointments, they can start overbooking. This creates an even bigger problem.
- DO NOT get impatient with office STAFF. Since doctors don't answer phones, or direct traffic, the FRONT STAFF is really our link to seeing and dealing with you. Smoothness with them can go a long way, and is sincerely appreciated.