Guidelines for Patients

The most important guideline for patients to remember is that no guidelines are necessary. Simply call the office if we can be of help to you. However, here are a few pointers that may be valuable:

  • When asking for medication refills, please let us know the drug, the dose, how you take it, and the quantity you would like. For most drugs, you can get as many pills as you wish if you pay cash yourself. Insurance may limit payment to 30 or 90 days, but insurance cannot limit the drugs you receive if you pay for them. For inexpensive drugs, it may be easier and less costly to buy 6–12 months all at once. Frequent travelers should consider just paying cash for a back-up supply to have on hand.
  • If the pharmacy says we did not send over a prescription but we told you we were doing so, there is about a 10% chance that this is our error and a 90% chance that we, indeed, did send it over and the pharmacy has lost it or not checked their fax machine or voicemail. Pharmacies in the city routinely blame the doctor’s office for their own errors, reasoning that most primary care practices are overburdened and no one will notice if they transfer the responsibility for their mistakes elsewhere. This has been going on ever since I’ve been in private practice. Just ignore the pharmacist and call our office while you are at the pharmacy and let us help sort things out.
  • If you are referred to a specialist and have trouble getting an appointment, please call us. It may not be ideal to just call another specialist that I don’t know and have not referred you to. We spend a lot of effort on these referrals and work to obtain VIP access for our patients. Your response, if frustrated by a front office person elsewhere, should be to call our office to help you. Patients sometimes discount these long-term referral relationships and what they mean for the quality of your care. It’s not wrong to see a specialist that a friend suggested, and maybe you will like this doctor better than the one I recommend, but I just want everyone to be aware that seeing a specialist outside of my regular referral patterns means that you are circumventing a system which is in place to promote better care and oversight. It’s not necessarily wrong to do so, but you are giving a little something up and I just want you to be aware.
  • If we email you a reminder regarding your annual exam or a needed test and you do not wish to have that done, please write back and let us know. Just say, “I don’t want my annual now. Contact me again in six months,” or something like that. Otherwise, we have no way of knowing whether you received that email or not. This forces us to contact you repeatedly when you don’t wish to hear from us. It also creates extra administrative overhead which detracts from patient care.
  • If you are unhappy with your care or with treatment you received from me or any other physician, please call me so that I can address your concerns. Also, if you receive a bill from our office, the lab, or the radiologists that seems out of order, please contact us to advocate on your behalf.
  • Our on call system works well 99% of the time. But once or twice each year, there is some failure in the process. If you don’t hear back from the covering physician, please call our answering service again. If you still don’t hear back or if you have an urgent issue, please just go to the emergency room at any of the various Swedish campuses. Don’t delay care waiting to hear back from us.