Why am I being referred to a Gastroenterologist?
Your primary care physician may ask you to see a gastroenterologist for many reasons. Gastroenterologists are experts in diagnosing and treating patients for symptoms that arise from the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, large and small bowels, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Examples of such symptoms could include diarrhea, constipation, trouble swallowing, heartburn, or abdominal pain. They also perform screenings or surveillance colonoscopies for patients with a family history of colon cancer or personal history of colon polyps.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Your first visit with us will allow the doctor to evaluate your symptoms. As part of that consultation, the doctor may request additional tests or procedures such as blood tests, imaging studies, or endoscopic examinations for diagnosis or treatment. A treatment plan may also be prescribed along with a follow-up plan of care. Sometimes, follow-up may be through your primary care physician.
How do I schedule an appointment?
You may schedule an appointment by calling (305) 532-2999.
Your first visit will be an office visit only. No procedures will be done at this time.
Please provide us with 24-hour notice if you are unable to keep an appointment. We have a long wait for appointments, and this courtesy allows other patients who are waiting for an appointment to be scheduled sooner.
What do I need to bring?
You will be asked to complete a patient registration form and a personal/social history form and return them at the time of your first visit. This will help expedite the registration process.
It is also important that you bring the following items with you:
- Insurance card/Referral documents
- A list of all medications you are currently taking
- Recent blood work and x-rays – if any (upper GI series, barium enema, ultrasound, or CT scans of the abdomen or pelvis)
- Copies of past medical records
Note: If medical records are to be sent by your doctor(s), please call us to verify that we have received them prior to your visit. Lack of these items can result in delays and/or your appointment being rescheduled.
What should I do in case of an emergency?
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, Dial 911 on your telephone immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
What about follow-up care?
Follow-up care is an important part of your treatment plan. Your doctor will notify you of the follow up procedure, and we ask that you follow this protocol to ensure proper follow through of your care.
What about hospital care?
We work with Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Aventura Hospital, among others. If you need to be hospitalized, these are the facilities that will be utilized. One of our doctors, or covering doctors, will usually see you on a daily basis.
How do I pay?
Every effort is made to collect the correct copay/deductible at the time of service. Physicians services for procedures are billed to the patient after insurance pays. Please note you will receive only one statement for any patient balance due. If not paid within 30 days, the account will be considered for collections, unless arrangements have been made with our office.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.
Patient share or co-pays will be collected at the time of service. We are prohibited by law from waiving or discounting co-pays, coinsurance or deductible payments required to be made by the patient under their health insurance plan. This prohibition includes “professional courtesy” discounts.
If you have circumstances where financial arrangements need further discussion, please contact our business office prior to your appointment time at (305) 532-2999.
We will file Medicare or other insurance claim forms as a courtesy for you. The patient is responsible for deductibles, co-payments and any remaining balances after insurance payment at the time of service.
What is the outpatient procedure?
Should your physician schedule you for an outpatient procedure such as an endoscopy or colonoscopy, you can expect to incur charges from possibly three sources:
- Physician professional fee, processed through our office
- Hospital or ambulatory surgery center fee, processed where the procedure will be performed
- Pathologist, processed through the lab used to examine biopsy specimens, if any are obtained
Please be prepared to pay your co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible on the day of your procedure. We will file the physician and hospital charges with your insurance company. We encourage you to speak with our billing office should you have questions or concerns.
What if I need a refill on my prescription?
Prescription refills can best be handled during office hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) when your chart is available and the gastroenterologist who knows you best can be contacted. When you call for a refill, please have the name of your medication, the dose, the dosing schedule, the prescription number, the phone number and name of the pharmacy at which you want the prescription to be refilled.
Why do I have to have a consult first?
We rarely schedule patients for endoscopies or biopsies without consultation first. We believe a thoughtful consideration of your problem and full discussion of the risks and benefits of any test are mandatory before setting up a procedure.
Do I need a referral?
Most insurance plans require an authorized referral prior to each visit. You will need to contact your primary care physician prior to making an appointment to obtain a referral for your appointment. Referrals must be validated by your insurance company and be in their system in order to be valid. Referrals can be mailed, faxed or called into our office. Keep in mind referrals can take up to 10 working days to be processed. It is the patient’s responsibility to have the proper referral at the time of their visit. If you arrive at our office without a referral, you will have to either pay in full at the time of service or reschedule your appointment.
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