Frequently asked questions

LABS

Do I need to fast for my physical?


Ideally, yes. Some blood tests are more accurate when you are fasting. Do not eat anything for 8-10 hours prior to your appointment. Drink plenty of water. You can also drink unsweetened tea or black coffee. If you have diabetes or a condition which makes fasting difficult, ask your doctor for instructions. Take your medications as usual on the day of your appointment, unless instructed to do otherwise by your doctor. (Exceptions: thyroid medication and diabetes medication - ask your doctor for instructions.)




How long should I fast for "fasting" bloodwork?


Do not eat anything for 8-10 hours prior to your appointment. You SHOULD drink water; you can also drink unsweetened tea or black coffee.




Should I take my medicines before my appointment?


Yes, with the following exceptions: 1. Thyroid - to ensure that you get the most accurate thyroid function test results, schedule your blood test in the morning, bring your thyroid medication with you, and take it after you have your blood drawn. 2. Diabetes - check with your doctor.




How/when do I get lab/test results?


  • Most lab/test results are automatically released to you through "MyChart" within 1 week. Your doctor may wait until all test results are complete before contacting you or commenting on results.
  • If you choose not to sign up for MyChart, your doctor may call you, send you a letter, or have you come in for a follow-up visit to review your results.
  • Please call your doctor's office if you have not received your results within 2 weeks.
  • If you have questions about your results, please schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to review your results.




Can I get tested for COVID-19?


If you do not have symptoms, or your symptoms are mild, you should NOT be tested. Testing is at this time reserved for people with severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, where the test result may influence treatment decisions (updated guidelines from the LA County Department of Public Health 3/23/20). Read more about this. Home test kits are being developed but are not commercially available at this time. Read more about this.





REFERRALS

How long does it take for my referral to be processed?


HMO referrals for routine diagnostic tests or consultation with a specialist can take up to 5-7 business days. Please contact your doctor's office if you have any questions.




Do I need a referral to see a specialist?


Your primary care physician is your best resource in evaluating most medical conditions, and can help guide you toward the most appropriate specialty care if needed. Whether you need a formal referral or not depends on your insurance. If you have an HMO insurance, you will need a referral from your primary care physician in order to see a specialist. Referrals can take 5-7 business days to process. Please contact your doctor's office if you have any questions. If you have Medicare or a PPO insurance, some specialists may also request that you get a referral from your doctor.





BILLING

Whom do I contact if I have questions about my doctor's visit bill?


Call the phone number printed on your bill, or contact the billing office directly at 866-747-2455.




Why am I getting a separate bill for my labs/imaging/other tests?


Charges for your doctor's visit do not include additional services such as blood tests and imaging studies. These are billed separately by the facility that provides these services. Even if you have blood drawn at your doctor's office, the tests are typically run at an outside lab, which then bills for these tests separately.




Why did my insurance pay only a part of my bill?


Most insurance plans require that you pay a co-payment, coinsurance and/or deductible for your health care expenses. Contact your insurance company for specific information about your coverage.





MEDICATIONS

Should I take my medicines before my appointment?


Yes, with the following exceptions: 1. Thyroid - to ensure that you get the most accurate thyroid function test results, schedule your blood test in the morning, bring your thyroid medication with you, and take it after you have your blood drawn. 2. Diabetes - check with your doctor.




How do I request medication refills?


You can request refills by doing any of the following:

  • Send a message via "MyChart" including the medication name, dose, and pharmacy.
  • Call your pharmacy. If you have refills left on your prescription, your pharmacy will refill the medication. If you do not have refills on your prescription, the pharmacy will contact your doctor to request a new prescription.
  • Call your doctor's office with your request. Be sure to include the medication name, dose, and pharmacy.
NOTE:
  • Turnaround time for refill requests is 3-5 business days.
  • If you use a mail order pharmacy, order medications at least 2 weeks before you run out.
  • Requests for medication refills are handled during REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS only.
  • Your doctor may request that you come in for an appointment to get your medication refilled.




Why is my doctor asking me to make an appointment for refills?


Certain medications require that you see your doctor regularly to monitor efficacy and/or side effects of treatment. Some medications, called "controlled substances," are strictly regulated under federal and state laws. (Medications in this class include some pain medications, muscle relaxants, medications for anxiety, stimulants like those used for ADHD, and prescription sleep medications.) In order to comply with federal and state regulations, our group has adopted a policy that all patients who are prescribed such medications must be seen by their doctor every three months for the duration of treatment. These medications will only be filled during regular business hours, so please plan ahead.





APPOINTMENTS

How do I schedule an appointment?


Call your doctor's office directly. Visit our DIRECTORY for a list of doctors and locations. Non-urgent appointments may also be scheduled online via "MyChart" or by clicking on the following link: SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT ONLINE ***Please note: Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, all NON-urgent office visits are being rescheduled. If you have an existing appointment between now and April 15, 2020, you have the option of conducting your visit at the scheduled time over the phone and/or secure tele-health platform (we use ZOOM), or you can reschedule your office visit for after April 15.*** For more information about this, please check our UPDATED HOURS AND LOCATIONS.




How do I cancel an appointment?


Call your doctor's office directly. Please provide at least 24 hours notice if you are cancelling.




What should I bring to my appointment?


  • Current insurance card and office visit copay.
  • Driver’s license or other valid photo ID
  • A list of all prescription medications and vitamins/supplements you’re currently taking, including doses. If you can, please also bring the medications in their original bottles.
  • A list of specialists you see, including phone numbers.
For additional information on preparing for your visit, click HERE.




Why do I need a follow-up appointment?


Follow-up appointments are essential for good medical care. At a follow-up appointment, you and your doctor may:

  • monitor chronic medical conditions
  • evaluate if an acute condition has improved, stabilized, or worsened, and adjust treatment plans accordingly
  • check or review labs or other test results
  • monitor medication effects and make appropriate adjustments to therapy
  • refill medications




Virtual appointments and Telehealth


Virtual appointments are conducted via telephone or a secure video-conferencing platforms like ZOOM. In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at this time, we are transitioning most routine follow-ups and non-urgent visits to virtual appointments. Read more about telemedicine HERE. Please call your doctor for more information or to schedule your virtual appointment.





CONTACT INFO

How do I email my doctor?


You can send a brief message to your doctor through MyChart. Please note: MyChart messages are for non-urgent matters only. If you do not get a response within 3 business days, please call your doctor's office.




What is the best way to contact my doctor?


Most medical issues are best addressed by scheduling an appointment with your doctor. To schedule an appointment, please call your doctor's office or request an appointment through your MyChart account.





TELEMEDICINE

What is telemedicine?


Telemedicine involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. We are doing "virtual" visits either by phone or through a secure video-conferencing platform like Zoom.




Does my insurance cover telemedicine services?


  • Insurance companies are increasingly covering telemedicine visits with your doctor, but you may be responsible for a copay (similar to what you may have with an in-person visit).
  • Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have broadened access to telehealth services on an emergency basis under the 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, so that beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility.
  • Some insurance companies (such as OSCAR) offer their own telemedicine service which they require their patients to use. Please check with your insurance if you have questions.




How do I schedule a telemedicine visit?


Please call your doctor's office. The staff will walk you through the process, including assisting you in signing up for "MyChart" (if you have not already done so), and downloading the telemedicine program we use (Zoom). You will sent a Zoom link for your appointment. Please click on the link 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to enter the "virtual waiting room". Your doctor will admit you when (s)he is ready to start the virtual visit.




Is telemedicine HIPAA compliant?


Yes, HIPAA applies to virual visits as well as in-person visits. During your virtual visit, please make sure you are in a place where you have the privacy you need to discuss your medical concerns with your doctor. The telemedicine platform we use, Zoom, uses end-to-end encryption to ensure patient privacy.




What equipment do I need?


To provide telehealth sessions, you will need the following: A computer (laptop or desktop), or smart mobile device (tablet or phone). An integrated or external microphone. An integrated or external web camera. An internet connection. For optimal results, a reliable, high-speed internet connection will minimize connection issues and provide the best quality.




Is telemedicine secure?


Recent news reports have highlighted security related issues with Zoom. While the Zoom portal that our offices and clinics use has not been impacted, we have taken the following steps to safeguard Zoom sessions: -Our telehealth team has implemented security controls to ensure HIPAA compliance and mitigate the risk of security breaches. These controls include requiring encryption and turning off recording at the administrative level for all licenses. Provider licenses have a virtual waiting room turned on to ensure the provider and patient are having a private session (the provider must admit the patient from the virtual waiting room to block unauthorized connections). Providers/clinics that use Epic send the link for the patient’s virtual visit (Zoom session) via MyChart for added security. In other instances, the Zoom session meeting ID is given to the patient verbally over the phone to avoid the meeting ID getting into the wrong hands. -Zoom had multiple vulnerabilities that could expose credentials to a threat actor if a malicious message was sent to the desktop version of Zoom on Windows or MacOS devices and the user clicked on the message. Zoom has released an updated version of their desktop software that resolved the identified vulnerabilities, and we have updated our software with the latest version of Zoom for Windows and MacOS. -Zoom has removed a number of features that were identified as security risks, and is putting all new features on hold for 90 days while they focus on improving security and privacy controls. Our Telehealth and Information Security teams are monitoring Zoom for any future security concerns that might arise. Any identified risks will be addressed immediately.





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