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Hawthorne Medical Associates

CLINICAL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Lab Work: In-Office or Reference Lab
Some lab work we do in our office—like glucose tests, urinalysis, protimes, hemoglobin A1Cs. These tests are drawn by one of the medical assistants. They are often done during your appointment.

Other lab work we send out to a reference lab. Usually this blood is drawn by the phlebotomist who works for Labcorp. She cannot draw the in-office lab work, but our staff can draw the blood for Labcorp. In some situations, insurance company requirements dictate that we send out lab work we could otherwise do in our office. This is true for Hemoglobin A1Cs for HMOs.

If you want your send-out lab work to be sent somewhere other than Labcorp (for instance LabOne, Quest or Regional Lab Outreach) make sure you tell us every time.

Labs Ordered by Other Physicians
We do not draw lab work which has been ordered by other physicians—like your cardiologist or a specialist from another city. If another physician wants blood tests, but cannot draw them in his/her office, please ask for a form to take to the lab of your choice.

Complete Physical Exams (CPEs)
We believe that routine, annual complete physical exams with screening lab tests are very important to the maintenance of good health. These are the screening tests we recommend:

However, insurance benefits vary. Some policies cover "wellness" and others only cover visits when you have a complaint. Medicare offers only limited coverage of preventive medicine. They do not cover annual physicals.

Please learn about your benefits prior to your appointment so you will know what is covered by your insurance plan.

"Nurse" or Medical Assistant?
People sometimes refer to the staff who assist our providers as "nurses." They definitely do help you and the doctors, and you may think of them as nurses. But most of them are not technically nurses because they are not licensed by the state as an LPN-licensed practical nurse or RN-registered nurse.

Most are "medical assistants." This means they have technical school or on-the-job training in providing medical assistance to the physicians. They take blood pressures, weigh you, ask about your symptoms, give injections, schedule tests and call in prescriptions. They work under the direct supervision of the doctor to provide you with excellent care.

Nurse Call
What is a "nurse call"? This is what we call it when someone comes into the office and asks for samples, wants to leave a form to be filled out, has a question—but doesn't have an appointment. The receptionists will ask you to sign in and will notify the medical assistant you are here. The medical assistant will come to talk with you as soon as she can. Remember that scheduled appointments take priority over walk-ins, so you may have a bit of a wait.

Speaking with a Medical Assistant
When you need to speak with a medical assistant or the doctor, you can choose that option from the auto-attendant, or be transferred by the receptionist. Often at the time you call the medical assistant may be helping the doctor, so your call is answered by the voicemail. Please leave a detailed message—including your full name and date of birth (we often have several patients with the same name). Also leave your phone number and your question. The medical assistant will call you back—usually the same day.

Prescriptions and Refills

  • The best time to get a prescription refill is at your appointment.
  • If you need to call for refills, don't wait until you have run out. Most refills require the doctor's approval. If your doctor is out for the afternoon, it may be the next day (or Monday) before it can be authorized.
  • Don't go to the pharmacy to wait for your prescription to be called in. Call first to see if it is ready.
  • Refill requests called to us before 2:00 p.m. will generally be handled by the end of the day.
  • Have you seen the doctor lately? Some medications have potential side effects that must be monitored. We require check-ups every 3 or 4 months for these medications. Be sure to keep those follow-up appointments!
  • Some prescriptions cannot be called in. Your primary physician (not the one covering) must authorize the prescription and print it out for you to pick up.
  • Don't call after hours for prescription refills. The physician on call will not authorize refills.

Narcotics
We do not call in narcotics after hours. Narcotics must be prescribed by your own physician, not the physician on call. If you require long term use of narcotics, our physicians will refer you to a pain management specialist.

Mail Order Prescriptions
Many insurance plans offer financial incentives for using mail order pharmacies. We are glad to print out prescriptions for your mail order pharmacy needs. We can mail them to you or you can pick them up. We are happy to fax prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy, but only if you can provide us with the correct fax number.

Test Results
When it comes to test results, we don't believe that No News Is Good News. We want to notify you of all results, normal and otherwise. Please allow two full working days for our office to receive the test results. If you haven't heard from us within a week of your test, please call us to request results. Your physician must review all test results before the medical assistant can give the results to you.

Referrals and Authorizations
The word referral means different things in different situations. Unfortunately we sometimes transfer a caller several times until we find the right person to help with your request for a referral.

Do you want an appointment with a specialist? We usually ask the physician to authorize this, so it is first sent to the physician.

Has someone "referred" you to us? The receptionists can help you schedule an appointment to see one of our physicians who is accepting new patients.

Do you have an appointment with a specialist, but have HMO insurance and need a "referral" or "authorization"? These requests go to Margie in Athens. Please allow at least 2 days to process the paperwork for your referral.

Know your insurance! We will always try to refer you to in-network providers, but is in your best financial interest to know which hospitals, labs and specialists are in-network for your particular insurance plan. Otherwise you might be faced with paying more.

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