How long does it take to get an appointment for a sick child?
Most sick visit appointments are “same day.” Some illnesses may wait for one or more days to see if the symptoms improve and this can be discussed with one of our triage nurses if you are unsure.
How long does it take to get an appointment for a well child?
Well infant appointments are scheduled at the time of the current visit to ensure that we have regular visits with our newborn infants. We also schedule those visits to ensure that we stay on schedule for all the infants’ important immunizations.
How do you get an extended appointment or a consult appointment?
We do have consult appointments for problems that require an extended amount of time not normally allowed by a routine visit. When calling, tell the receptionist you need a consult time. After a few questions, an appropriate time will be given for this visit.
Do you ever “run out” of appointments?
During the extremely busy winter sick season, and occasionally during the summer when children can become ill in larger than expected numbers, we do “run out” of sick visits. Please know that we follow our providers’ schedules carefully, utilizing historical data to determine the number of appointments we will require on any given day.
What do you do when that occurs?
When that occurs, the office moves to a triage mode where phone calls are triaged by one of our highly trained nurses to make these kinds of triage decisions. Some minor illness may be handled over the telephone after the nurse consults with a provider. Others may be moved to the following day, with careful instructions to the parent as to what to do until that appointment. Rest assured, seriously ill children will always be seen on the same day.
Is extra time allowed on routine visits for an extended problem?
Because we work on an “appointment only” schedule, extra time is not always available on a routine visit. Whenever possible, the provider will attempt to meet any needs a patient may have, but when not possible, the provider will ask that another appointment be scheduled so that the issue can be handled more appropriately than if it is “squeezed” into a routine visit.
How do you handle after hours telephone calls?
After hours telephone calls are considered by the providers to be emergency calls. Our providers make every effort to return these emergency calls as quickly as possible. There is a charge for these calls based on the severity of the illness and the time requirements of the call.
Are your providers “on time” or chronically late?
All of our providers are quite sensitive to the issue of being “on time.” Because we take care of infants and children, that is not always possible. Rest assured that every effort is made by the entire office staff to keep each provider “on time.” Federal HIPAA regulations do not allow us to disclose the reason a provider may be late in his or her appointment schedule.
Do you have to see a particular provider?
We consider all of our patients can be cared for by all of our providers. The use of an Electronic Health Record has made it possible to give each provider the full medical chart on any patient at each visit. This allows our providers to be fully aware of a patient even though they may not have seen that patient before. No patient is forced to see a provider they do not wish to see.
What do I do if I have a complaint?
All of the providers, as well as the office staff, constantly strive to make your experience in our office a “predictable positive” visit. We take each and every complaint seriously and work to correct any issue that causes concern for our patients or their families. If you have a complaint, it can be voiced to any provider or to the practice administrator. You can also write directly to Dr. Abernathy with any complaints or concerns, or you may contact one of our Family Advisory Board members.
What do I do if I have a compliment?
We obviously love to hear compliments. Those can be voiced directly to any provider or the practice administrator. You can also write to Dr. Abernathy or to one of our Family Advisory Board members.
There are also “Star” cards at the entrance of each office. Filling one of these cards out and placing them in the Star box will insure that your compliment will get to the providers as well as the entire staff.
Do your providers answer questions over the telephone?
Yes, routine questions may be answered over the telephone by either a nurse or one of our providers.
When can I expect a “call back?”
Calls to our nurses are returned all day long. Usually a call to a nurse will be returned within an hour. Providers return their calls throughout the day when possible. Most calls by providers are returned during the lunch hour or at the end of the day.
Is there a charge for these calls?
There is no charge for nurse calls and most provider calls. There may be a charge for call that requires a lengthy discussion on the part of the provider and is actually a call that would be handled better by an appointment in our office.