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Charleston Internal Medicine
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Facts and Questions

What do I do when my medication needs to be refilled?

Why does CIM not call in or fax prescriptions to a pharmacy including a mail order pharmacy?

Does CIM have a Financial Policy? How can I help CIM control cost and provide care at a fair market value?



ARE YOU ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS?

Yes. Charleston Internal Medicine is currently accepting new patients that are covered by most of the major insurance carriers in our area, or are private pay.



HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?

Please call (304) 720-2345 to make an appointment with a Charleston Internal Medicine provider.

In order to give quality care to each patient, it is necessary to schedule appointments. By scheduling appointments, each patient will be assured of adequate time with the provider.

Call and schedule appointments as early as possible to ensure that you get a time that is convenient for you. The best time to schedule a follow up appointment is when you are in our office for a visit. This will give you the most scheduling options.



WILL I ALWAYS SEE THE SAME PROVIDER FOR EACH APPOINTMENT?

Charleston Internal Medicine is a group practice and employs multiple physicians and mid-level providers. When you schedule your initial appointment, you will be placed with your prefered provider of choice. Every effort will be made to schedule all annual, preventative, and follow up visits with that provider.

When you call for an acute or emergent visit, every effort will be made to schedule your appointment with your preferred provider. However, we may ask you to see one of your providers associates who has an appointment available. You will continue to see that provider until the acute episode has been treated and resolved.



WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE AN EMERGENCY?

If you feel as though your condition is life threatening, contact 911 immediately for transport to the nearest hospital or emergency clinic.



WHAT IF I GET SICK AFTER HOURS, ON THE WEEKEND OR DURING A HOLIDAY?

Charleston Internal Medicine provides provider access after hours, on weekends and holidays. You can reach a provider with any urgent medical question or concern by calling our regular telephone number (304) 720-2345. Our telephone system will prompt you on how to page the provider on call. You will be contacted at the number you provide. Maintenance and narcotic prescription requests will not be provide outside normal office hours.



WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY FIRST VISIT?

To ensure that your visit to Charleston Internal Medicine goes smoothly, make sure you bring the following items to your visit:

  • Questions to Ask - Please feel free to come to your appointment with a list of questions you would like your CIM provider to answer.
  • Your health insurance card(s) and any required authorization, authorization information, and pre-certification information or referral forms.
  • Any pertinent medical information, records, or test results given to you by non-CIM provider and/or facility.
  • All bottles of medication you are currently taking. This would include prescription and non prescription, such as vitamins or supplements.
  • A list of any known food and/or drug allergies.
  • Financial resources (cash, personal check, VISA, Discover or MasterCard are accepted) to cover co-payments or to make payments on your account
Such preparation will ensure not only that you receive the best care possible, but that associated issues, such as insurance and billing, are handled efficiently and correctly.



WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO A FOLLOW UP OR ACUTE VISIT?

To ensure that your visit to Charleston Internal Medicine goes smoothly, make sure you bring the following items to your visit:

  • Questions to Ask - Please feel free to come to your appointment with a list of questions you would like your CIM provider to answer.
  • Your health insurance card(s) and any required authorization, authorization information, and pre-certification information or referral forms.
  • All bottles of medication you are currently taking. This would include prescription and non prescription, such as vitamins or supplements.
  • Financial resources (cash, personal check, VISA, Discover or MasterCard are accepted) to cover co-payments or to make payments on your account
Such preparation will ensure not only that you receive the best care possible, but that associated issues, such as insurance and billing, are handled efficiently and correctly.


WHAT IF I NEED TO SEE A SPECIALIST?

Referrals

From time to time, it may be necessary for one of our providers to refer you to a specialist to assume the care for a particular condition you may have. If this becomes necessary, your provider will let you know, and discuss this with you. After you leave our office, our referral specialist will contact the specialist office and request an appointment time on your behalf. Many times, the specialist office requires we complete a ďfax referral formĒ and forward that to them. They in turn will either contact us with an appointment or they will contact you directly. This process can take up to three (3) weeks to complete, depending on the specialist office. Once we have secured your initial appointment, it is the patientís responsible to call and cancel or reschedule the appointment if it is not convenient for your schedule.

Precertifications

Many health insurance plans have precertification or prior authorization requirements for specific services, including, but not limited to being referred to a specialist for additional care. This process and the scheduling of a specialist appointment (referrals) are handled by one individual in our office. This process generally takes seven (7) to fourteen (14) days to complete. The process can take longer, depending on the requirements of your particular health insurance plan or the criteria of the specialist office. In order to allow ample time to coordinate with the specialist office on an appointment date and time, please allow 14 days to complete the process before contacting our office for a status of your appointment. Prior to our staff scheduling your appointment, please make us aware of any special precertification or prior authorization needs your health plan requires.

It is each patientís responsibility to know their specific health insurance plan requirements. This information is generally listed on the back on your health insurance card and/or in the benefit handbook provided by your carrier when you became eligible for coverage. Because of the large number of insurance plans we work with (over 1000) it is not feasible for us to know each individual plans requirements. It is the responsible of the patient to make us aware, and assist our office, in meeting your particular plans requirements so you can receive the maximum benefit under your plan.

Once a specialist appointment has been secured, you will be notified with the name of the physician, date and time of the appointment. Once the initial appointment has been made, if you need to cancel or reschedule the appointment, you should contact the specialist office directly.

It is the patientís responsibility to confirm with their health insurance plan that all precertification and/or prior authorization requirements have been met with regards to the appointment.



WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY MEDICATION NEEDS TO BE REFILLED?

The best time to request a prescription refill is during your visit with your provider. Please bring your medication bottles, vitamins, etc, including those prescribed by other physicians, to every appointment. This is important when reviewing and updating your electronic record and when prescribing or refilling a prescription.

When calling for a refill, please have your bottle(s) handy. You will be required to leave information such as the name and dosage of your medication. All prescription will be sent via E-Prescribe to the pharmacy we have on file for you. Always allow 24 hours for your prescription request to be processed and sent to your pharmacy.

Effective September 1, 2014, we will only prescribe controlled substances after careful review during a face-to-face appointment. Please do not telephone requests for these prescriptions.



WHY DOES CIM NOT CALL IN OR FAX PRESCRIPTIONS TO A PHARMACY INCLUDING A MAIL ORDER PHARMACY?

There are over 7000 deaths each year due to prescription errors. There are over 3 billion prescriptions
called into a pharmacy, faxed to a mail order pharmacy or handwritten by a healthcare provider in the
United States each year. Of those, over 5 %, or 150,000,000 are filled incorrectly by either the pharmacy,
written incorrectly by a provider, or communicated incorrectly when called to a pharmacy.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce your chance of having an error. First and foremost, data shows that computer generated prescriptions reduce most errors that occur. Because the prescription is computer generated, there is less error due to bad handwriting, misinterepetation of dosages, and/or directions. A computer generated prescription is easier for a pharmacist to read and enter into their computer system. Also, computer generated prescriptions eliminate the miscommunication that often occurs when a prescription is called into a pharmacy. Typed or computer generated prescriptions are safer for the patient.

Here are some things the patient can do to eliminate prescription errors:

  1. Take all your medication bottles to each doctor visit. This includes those prescriptions that are written by other providers. You should also include any supplements or vitamins you are taking.
  2. Ask the provider to review all your medication, supplement and vitamin bottles to make sure they are what the provider intended for you to take and that the directions are correct. This will also help the provider to determine if you are taking any duplicate medications or medications that, when taken together, can have an adverse effect on the patient.
  3. Reveiw your written presciptions before you leave the doctor's office. Ask any questions you have about those prescriptions.
  4. Review with your provider what medication(s) you should taking. Include in the conversation why you are taking the medication, the dosage, and directions you should be following.
  5. Look at your prescriptions before you leave the pharmacy. Make sure the information on the bottle is accurate and matches what the written prescription was for including the drug name, dosage, and instructions.

    BE PROACTICE IN YOUR HEALTHCARE. Check and double check your medications and make sure your provider is aware of any questions you have and any discrepancies you might find.

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DOES CIM HAVE A FINANCIAL POLICY?

Charges for Professional Services

Charleston Internal Medicine is committed to providing quality care at a fair monetary rate to its patients. Our fees are determined by analyzing charge information provided in publications at both the national and regional levels.

The provider determines the level of service that is billed to each patient. This determination is made based on a number of factors including the severity of the patient's condition, the number of body organs effected by the condition, time spent face to face with the patient discussing their condition as well as time spent analyzing the patient's clinical information. Each of these factors contributes to the level of care and ultimately the charge associated with each patient encounter and/or test.

Third Party Contracts

Charleston Internal Medicine has written/formal participation agreements with a wide range of third party insurance carriers. Appropriate contractual adjustments will be taken by CIM with those carriers. If you are covered by an insurance that CIM does not have a written agreement with, or you have no third party coverage, you will be responsible for payment in full regardless of a carrier's arbitrary determination of usual and customary rates (UCR). If you have a question regarding CIM participation with your particular insurance, please contact a receptionist or the business office for assistance.

Payment of Services

Each patient is responsible for co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles regardless of insurance coverage. All co-payments are due at the time of service. Any patient due balance on an account will be discussed with the patient during each visit. CIM does offer an Extended Payment Plan with prior approval. Please contact the business office to inquire about this type of arrangement.

CIM accepts payments by Cash, Check, Money Order, Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express and Debt Cards bearing any of these logos. You may also make a credit card or debt card payment over the telephone by calling our office at (304) 720-2345.



HOW CAN I HELP CIM CONTROL COSTS AND PROVIDE CARE AT A FAIR MARKET VALUE?

You can help CIM control costs by making sure we always have your most current information. This includes basic patient information, such as mailing address and telephone number, as well as a listing of all insurance plans you are covered under. This will allow CIM to continue to provide services at a reasonable rate to all patients.




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