This page will help make your appointment a successful experience. These steps are important to provide you the best health care, optimal pain management and the most efficient use of your valuable time.
Our expectations of you before your appointment :
1. Make sure that we have your current insurance information and a referral (if required by your insurance) well before the day of your appointment.
2. Make sure that you have a primary care provider. We provide specialty care for non-acute and chronic pain only. We are part of your health care team and want you to have the best health care possible.
3. Have your packet fully completed. We realize that we request a lot of information from you! This essential background knowledge is needed to provide the top care that you deserve.
Special note: It is very important to include information about your medications. Please include regularly prescribed medications, those you take on an "as needed" basis, over the counter medications and preparations, herbals, Chinese, homeopathic, medicated creams, ointments, eye drops, etc. Please list your medications with their strength, and how you are taking them, i.e. Tylenol Extra Strength, 500 mg, two tablets every 8 hours as needed for pain. This attention to detail prior to your appointment preserves your precious appointment time so that you can spend it with the physician.
4. Provide copies of all pertinent labs and imaging reports. If these were done by someone other than your referring provider, you may need to request them from the ordering provider prior to your appointment.
On the day of your appointment:
1. Bring all your medications in their original containers, and their most recently prescribed bottles. If the most recent bottle is empty, please bring it. Include: those medications prescribed that you are currently taking, those you take on an "as needed" basis, over the counter medications and preparations, herbals, Chinese, homeopathic, medicated creams, ointments, eye drops.
2. Arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. This allows time for you to complete the paperwork process with our receptionist and update your current information.
Our process includes:
♦ Making a copy of your insurance card.
♦ Reviewing your current address, insurance information, our privacy and appointment policies. Review of your medication list that you included in your packet. Please record any changes that may have occurred from the time you completed your packet and the time of your appointment.
♦ Collecting information regarding your sleep habits, exercise, alcohol and tobacco intake and any new treatments you have tried recently.
3. Although not required, we encourage you to bring a family member or friend with you as a health advocate. You will hear a lot of information and go home with written recommendations, so an extra set of eyes and ears can be very helpful. A comforting presence also reduces the expected anxiety of coming to a new place and meeting new health providers. But remember we will be focusing on you, your needs and goals for the appointment, so the input from your advocate is expected to be minimal in comparison to yours.
4. Urine Drug Test
If you need to urinate prior to reaching the exam room, please notify the receptionist. She will alert the nurse assistant so that a urine sample may be collected. This is standard practice for pain management specialists and everyone is treated equally. We screen your urine at your first visit and may do so at any other point in your ongoing care. This test is not meant to intimidate you and is completely confidential. It is imperative for your safety to ensure your urine verifies your prescribed medications and excludes dangerous substances that might affect your health and treatment.
Most insurances pay for this screen, but the cost may vary, particularly if an additional confirmatory test is required. Ask about options to reduce cost if you don’t have insurance coverage. Our goal is to help you keep your health care affordable.
5. After you have completed the paperwork, please return it to the receptionist who will alert the nurse that you are ready to be seen. (Sometimes the nurse assistant may call you back before your paperwork is completed.)
6. During the rest of the hour to 1.5 hours of your consultation visit:
A. Your weight and vital signs will be taken.
B. Medications in their original containers will be compared to the medication list on the paperwork you completed.
C. You will have questionnaires to complete. These give us tools to plan your optimal care. This may be an additional cost to your consultation. If you are concerned about insurance coverage or are a cash-pay patient, please discuss this with us prior to your appointment.
D. The assistant will ask questions to clarify/expand the information you provided in the packet. For example, “What kind of an adverse reaction did you have to (medication X)?” Or, “At what hospital did you have your back surgery?”
E. The assistant will request you to provide a urine specimen for a urine drug test if you haven’t already provided one.
F. The physician will ask more questions, obtain details of your history, listen to your goals, and perform a focused physical exam. You may be asked to disrobe and put on a gown prior to examination.
G. The physician may order additional tests, such as blood tests, overnight oximetry, special imaging, and other diagnostics necessary to provide an accurate diagnosis or ensure your safety when treatments are prescribed.
H. Most often we do not prescribe medications at the first visit.
For your safety, we may need to wait for the screening lab tests and other investigations that may be ordered, or requested from other providers, before we can prescribe.
You and the doctor need to agree that any treatments provided will be in the context of a solid, safe and healthy partnership.
You may not need to have medications prescribed, or due to circumstances it may not be safe to prescribe certain medications for you. Alternative options exist and will be discussed at the time of your visit.
I. End of your appointment. While you are dressing, the provider and assistant will prepare a printed list of recommendations for your pain management and provide order forms for any tests requested.
J. The assistant or provider returns to your exam room to review the recommendations with you and answer any questions you may have about the appointment. For complex health issues, please keep in mind we cannot address all your needs at the first appointment. When indicated, we schedule a follow-up appointment with the physician or one of our experienced Nurse Practitioners.
Referrals and Return Visits
Patients are referred to us for a variety of reasons and with a variety of insurances.
Some insurance companies cover only a single consultation visit. In that instance our physician provides the referring provider (and your primary care physician) with a copy of the detailed consultation report, which includes a list of recommendations for your care.
Some insurance companies cover a limited number of visits. Sometimes your provider requests a consultation to help you get your pain under better control with only a few visits. Our provider will work with you to develop a robust pain management program. When you return to your primary provider you can discuss your new pain management program and implement the suggestions and recommendations made.