Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Family Physician?
A family physician is a doctor who has completed an additional three years of family medicine residency training after finishing medical school. To become board-certified, a family physician must pass a board exam like any other specialist. Family physicians provide primary health care to patients of all ages, from newborns to seniors. One of the hallmarks of family practice is continuity of care. We tend to have long-term relationships with our patients, and have a focus on prevention of disease and helping patients maintain wellness.
What is a Family Nurse Practitioner?
A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is an advanced level nurse with a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Nursing, who has completed up to 700 hours in clinical work and who must also maintain National Certification in order to practice. FNPs work with patients of all ages and can diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, monitor diseases, establish and maintain medical histories, conduct physical exams, perform diagnostic tests, and prescribe medications. FNPs provide family care and focus on direct care, teaching, and preventative care. FNPs typically work in collaboration with Family Physicians.
What is a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant is a health care professional licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Physician Assistants are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training, a master’s degree in medicine is required. The accredited training program was developed in conjunction with the American Medical Association and upon completion of training, physician assistants are eligible to sit for the national certification exam. PA-Cs work with patients of all ages and can diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, monitor diseases, establish and maintain medical histories, conduct physical exams, perform diagnostic tests, perform procedures, and prescribe medications. PA-Cs provide medical care and focus on direct care, teaching, and preventative care.
What is the difference between an M.D. and a D.O.?
M.D. stands for Medical Doctor, and D.O. stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. D.O.s and M.D.s are both fully trained physicians. Both have attended four years of medical school and are required to complete residency training in their area of specialization. Medical doctors have been the mainstay of medical care for centuries, whereas osteopathic physicians have been in existence for just over 100 years. Osteopathic physicians are trained to practice “holistic” medicine, viewing the whole body in the context of wellness and illness. In addition, D.O.s are trained in osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT). OMT involves several different types of spinal and soft tissue manipulation to help the body heal itself.
What is a Direct Patient Centered Medical Home (DPCMH)?
DPCMH is a care model that puts the patient at the center of the medical decisions. With this type of care, you and your doctor work together to determine the best course of action for you and your circumstances. The result is better coordination of care to get you and keep you healthy. We keep everyone involved in your care updated and assist in getting any specialty care or services you may need. There is a national accreditation process that must be successfully achieved to enable a physician’s practice to call itself a “Direct Patient Centered Medical Home”.
What types of patients and medical conditions do you treat?
We see patients who range in age from newborn to senior citizen, although our physicians do not provide prenatal or obstetrical/pregnancy care. We care for patients who have chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, as well as those who need acute medical care in the outpatient setting. We do routine physicals or health maintenance exams for men, women, and children. Please see the Services page for a more comprehensive list.
Do you see patients in the hospital?
The short answer is no. The more complete answer is that we will help to coordinate your admission to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph. We refer our patients to the hospital-based physicians, called hospitalists, at Lakeland. We have a very good working relationship with this group of physicians. They are very well trained internists and pediatricians who are excellent at what they do. They will usually communicate with us regarding your status while you are in the hospital.
Do you deliver babies?
No. We do not perform obstetrical care. If you become pregnant, we will refer you to a local obstetrician. We would certainly look forward to caring for your newborn.
Do you give immunizations?
Yes. We provide flu and tetanus shots to current members of our practice. We are working to provide all standard immunizations at a reasonable cost, including: pediatric immunizations, gardasil, pneumonia vaccines, and the shingles vaccine. We do not provide special immunizations for international travel. If you need special vaccines, we can refer you to a clinic for this.
What special services do you provide?
We offer spirometry and EKG, as well as several minor surgical procedures. Please refer to the Services page for complete details. For procedures such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI, we refer patients to outside facilities with which we have negotiated pricing.
Do you do laboratory testing in your office?
We do provide some basic lab tests in the office, such as urinalysis, pregnancy testing, rapid strep tests, protime testing, blood sugar testing, and hemoglobin testing. We do not routinely run more extensive lab tests in the office. For this, we will send samples to outside facilities that we have negotiated prices with.
What is included in a Wellness Exam?
There are two types of Wellness Exams that we perform in our office, Medicare Wellness Exams and routine physical examinations for pediatric and adult patients. Both types of exams involve a review of recommended immunizations and preventative studies/tests for that individual. A physical examination is also generally included during this type of visit.
How do I get refills on my medications?
The best time to obtain medication refills is during your regularly scheduled office call. Therefore, please bring your prescription bottles to office visits for review with your doctor. If you need a medication renewed between visits, then please review the following guidelines. For medications which need to be filled by a local pharmacy, please call the pharmacy and they will contact us to get authorization to refill your prescription. If your refill is going to be filled by a mail order pharmacy, then please call us to get your prescription filled. For some prescription refills which are controlled substances, such as narcotic medications, you will need to call our office directly to request a refill.
What insurances do you accept?
We currently participate with Medicare, and will continue to do so into 2018. We do not participate with any other insurances as our current fee structure is on a membership basis only.
Are you accepting new patients?
Our providers are unfortunately not able to accept new patients at the same time (as their patient panels are full). We do generally accept new patients throughout the year, but they will be taken from a waiting list. Please call our office to be placed on our waitlist.
What should I bring with me to my appointments?
Please bring all of your current prescription pill bottles (even those from other doctors), in addition to any supplements that you are currently taking, a picture ID, any information that your provider has asked you to keep a log of, and any outside forms that are required (please complete the patient sections before your appointment). You are welcome to bring a family member to your appointments as well.
How can I get a copy of my medical records?
Subsequent to August 2005, all records have been electronically stored and therefore, will be processed per request and mailed to the designated party as noted on the signed authorization release. Family Physicians will process the request as soon as possible per the following policy: There is a reasonable and customary fee of $25.00 for handling and mailing your records for the first 20 pages of a paper copy or total for an electronic copy. This fee is due upon the request of records. For paper copy of records of 21 pages or more, an additional 20 cents per page and $3.00 postage will be charged and will be determined after the initial $25.00 is received. Upon receipt of this complete payment your records will be sent within 1-2 weeks. The Medical Records Release Form (PDF) can be downloaded here or can be obtained at our office.
What are my rights as a patient?
We believe patients have the right to:
Access to care regardless of race, creed, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or the source of payment for care
Respect and dignity
Privacy and confidentiality during interviews, examinations, and communications
Continuity of care
Know the identity of all those involved with his/her care and treatment
Consent to care and treatment
What are my responsibilities as a patient?
Patients are responsible for:
• Providing accurate and complete information about past and present health related issues including, but not limited to, present complaint(s), past illnesses, hospitalizations, and medications
• Reporting unexpected changes in conditions to the appropriate practitioner
• Asking questions about treatment/care when the patient does not understand or needs clarification
• Following the treatment plan recommended
• Keeping or timely canceling appointments
• Their own actions if treatment is refused or if the practitioner’s instructions are not followed
• Paying for services that are provided
• Being considerate of the rights of others
• Being respectful of property
• Recognizing lifestyle choice effects on health
• Complying with our office business policies
What are your office hours?
We are available to schedule appointments from 8am – 8pm Monday through Thursday, 8am – 5pm Friday, and 8am-noon on Saturdays. We are closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
What happens after regular office hours?
In an emergency, always call 911. For urgent advice, you may reach our on-call physician by calling our answering service at (269) 429-5000.