We make every effort to answer calls as soon as possible but in order to minimize interruptions during office visits we may not be able to return your call until the end of the clinic day. If you have an emergency, defined as an injury or illness which may represent a danger to life or limb, please call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. We also have the Patient Portal service where you can send notes or questions directly to your chart. Your response will come by a secure website, and you will receive notification only by your email when your Portal has been updated. These too can take a day to return. If you have an urgent medical need, it is still best to call early in the morning for an appointment the same day. We do keep several slots open daily for urgent needs. We can only answer medical questions for established patients.
Initial prescriptions and medication refill requests are designed to be completed during your scheduled appointments. We try to prescribe enough refills to last until your follow up appointment is due. The best time to schedule your follow up appointment for refills is at your office visit or when you are out of additional refills. Some medications will have refills to last a year, but medications that require physical or laboratory monitoring may last only three to six months. Other prescriptions require additional time and administrative work to fill, and these may require an office visit as well. Some clinics charge additional fees to complete refills that are not associated with an office visit and we are working diligently to avoid this. Refill requests made outside of a regularly scheduled appointment may take up to 3 days to process, so please plan accordingly. We are happy to assist patients with samples when available.
We do not refill prescriptions on nights or weekends as a general rule. Controlled prescriptions cannot be called in to pharmacies and patients must be seen in person to refill. There are some new DEA rules that allow 3 months of prescriptions to be written at one office visit with post-dated refill dates. If you are on medication for Attention Deficit Disorder please ask about this new policy at your next visit.
When you leave a message for refills, please be sure to include your name, date of birth, preferred pharmacy, name of the medication, dose and how often you take it.
Referral Requests and Pre-Authorization Forms
Several insurance companies have additional administrative processes that are required to see a specialist. It is the responsibility of the patient to obtain a referral prior to appointments with a specialist. These referral requests are to be completed during your scheduled appointments. We are held responsible for sending you to the proper specialist for your specific problem. In appropriate cases we may be able to complete referral requests without an office visit. Some clinics are charging for this service because of the administrative costs involved. We are working diligently to avoid this. Our clinic appointments must take priority, so please be aware that it can take up to 3 days to process referral requests that are made without an office visit.
Laboratory services are available at the clinic for Urinalysis, Pregnancy, Strep, Influenza and Guaiac testing. Other testing must be done at a certified laboratory. We use PathGroup and Quest laboratories. The clinic phlebotomist will draw labs in the office for your convenience, prepare the specimens for testing, and they are picked up during the day by a lab representative.
You may receive a bill from either the lab, Leavitt Family Medicine or both depending on the lab requested. Billing through Leavitt Family Medicine is arranged for discounted prices for your convenience on selected tests. If you feel you have received a bill inappropriately from the lab, we are happy to assist in any way possible. The most common issues pertain to Complete Physical Exams (CPE) billing. Please be certain your insurance covers wellness or CPE visits before your appointment. There is not much we can do about billing charges for non-covered visits.
Laboratory results are reviewed as quickly as possible and patients are called as soon as possible. These are reported on a priority basis with the most urgent results called first. Results are also available on our Patient Portal service. If you find results online before you have been contacted please be patient as we process and attempt to contact you. If you have not heard any results within a week, please call and let us know.
Payment of Fees
Payment of fees not covered by your insurance plan are due on the day of your scheduled appointment. These fees include copayment, deductibles and outstanding balances. You may pay by cash, check, money order, Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express. Any checks that are returned will be charged a $30 returned check fee.
We will file your insurance claim as a service to you. In order to do this we ask that each patient or responsible family member complete an insurance form with the assignment of benefits assigned to us on the initial visit and annually thereafter or if your policy changes. All of this paperwork is time consuming for both of us so please allow additional time to fill out before your first visit. We will do all that we can to process insurance claims, but please remember that your coverage is a contract between you and your insurance company. Any balance that your insurance company does not pay or is considered a non-covered service is due from you or your responsible party.
Many insurance companies require a deductible to be satisfied each year by the patient or responsible party before insurance benefits begin. If the deductible has not been satisfied or there is a question whether the service we provide is a covered service, it is the responsibility of the patient or responsible party to provide payment at the time of service. We will verify insurance coverage before your visit. During the verification process we may find that your deductible has not been met and will have to collect a reasonable amount before the office visit. Please keep in mind that insurance coverage is a contract between you and your insurance company. If a claim processed is a covered service the payment will be applied to any balance on the account and difference refunded or credited to the account as requested by the patient or responsible party.
Additional Services Not Covered by Insurance
The completion of forms (school physicals, administrative physicals) should be done at the time of your office visit. These physicals may not be a covered service by your insurance company. There may be an additional charge for complex forms (disability forms, handicap placards, FMLA and other paperwork) to be filled out at the time of an office visit.
Insurance coverage limits will never have an effect on the quality of health care provided at Leavitt Family Medicine. The same quality care is provided regardless of payor whether self-pay (cash), commercial insurance or Medicare
Complete Physicals, Preventive Visits and Problem Related Visits
These types of visits can be very confusing. Coverage of Physicals varies widely amongst insurance carriers. Please check with your insurance company prior to scheduling an annual Complete Physical. There are many different plans, and each plan may have different policies. It is best for you to verify wellness visits and complete physicals with your specific insurance plan.
However, Complete Physicals are highly recommended. This is our only chance to cover preventive issues that are not part of routine problem generated visits. At your Physical we start with a review your medical history, family medical problems that place you at additional risks, social habits that may cause risk, and age associated risks. Then a thorough physical examination is performed to catch any such problem at an early stage before it becomes a problem. This is when you will have your breast exam, cervical exam and pap for women, or for men a prostate exam, and screening for colon cancer, skin exam, etc. EKG and laboratory tests are performed to monitor for additional risks that can affect your health. Age or risk appropriate testing will be scheduled such as colonoscopy, mammogram, bone density or stress testing. Immunization discussion, and preventive counseling such as diet and exercise are also covered.
These visits are time consuming and are designed purely for preventive health issues, not problem focused. Most insurance companies will not pay for Complete Physical Examinations and problem specific complaints on the same day. It is a very frustrating part of dealing with insurance companies, and not necessarily our policy, but we have to abide by their rules.
We try to adhere to our appointment schedule as best as we can. Unfortunately, there are many times when this is impossible because people are very unpredictable as a rule. If you have a very tight schedule, we recommend making the first appointment of the morning at 8:00 a.m. (9:00 a.m. on Saturdays) or immediately after lunch at 1:00 p.m. All of the administrative tasks mentioned above are some of the reasons that we may run behind schedule and in fairness to all our patients we are instituting these policies.
There may be times when you could be asked to reschedule an appointment to discuss specific problems, especially if brought up during a physical or if you bring a list of complaints during a 15 minute appointment. Some problems take much longer to resolve properly and it would be inappropriate to rush through any issues you have, and unfair to those who are scheduled after you. Please let the scheduler know all your concerns when you make your appointment so that we can do our best to allow the appropriate time.
We do require 24 hours notice of cancellation for appointments. We offer email reminders of scheduled appointments and calls to remind before upcoming appointments as a courtesy. If cancellation is less than 24 hours and we are unable to fill your appointment time you will be billed $25.00. This is not to generate revenue as some would argue, but to cover only part of the loss. Please keep in mind we are paying overhead on the time you book.
Statements and Collection Process
We send out monthly patient statements. We are very careful to be sure we do not send out a bill if there is still an outstanding insurance collection issue. If you feel you have received a bill in error, please let us know so that we may correct the situation or explain it more effectively. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions regarding your statement. If you have any questions regarding your policy, please contact your insurance company regarding your specific coverage. We are always happy to set up a payment plan if you are having difficulty paying your bill in full.
We appreciate your timely payments. Only those overdue statements that are ignored or fail to make appropriate payments will be sent to collections. The collections company adds a fee to cover administrative expenses and the cost of collections. Accounts sent to collection will be dismissed from the practice. Once a patient is dismissed they will no longer be able to schedule appointments or receive refills. We strive to make multiple attempts to contact our patients about outstanding balances before we are forced to rely on collections, so account dismissals are permanent.