Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I have to pay my co-pay and coinsurance at the appointment instead of waiting for the insurance company explanation of benefits?

Our contracts with the insurance companies mandate our collection of these fees up front. Also, this decreases costs of billing to the office.

What if you can't verify and confirm my coverage?

You will be responsible for paying the full charge at the time of your visit. You may then submit the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement.

What do you charge for a returned check?

There is a $25 fee that must be paid in addition to the amount of the check. Both of these must be paid in cash or bank check. We regret that any checks not paid for must be prosecuted.

Why do you charge me $25 for a missed appointment?

This fee will not be charged if you advise us 1 business day prior to the appointment time. However, you should know that failure to notify us not only results in lost revenue to the practice, but a lost opportunity for another patient to be seen at that time.

How much do you charge to fill out disability forms?

The 1st form is FREE, but $15 charge per additional form.

Can I take my chart to another medical provider?

While the chart itself remains the property of South Polk Medical Clinic (per state law), we can provide a copy. Again, per state law, we have reasonable copying charges, but we usually only charge a flat $15 fee.

Do you charge me to send me a bill?

Only if you dont pay us. The first invoice we send you for any overlooked charges is included in our fee. If you choose not to pay it in full we add a $10 fee to subsequent bills to offset our expenses.

What happens to those people who do not pay their bill?

After two attempts to collect the bill these people are turned over to our Collections Agency. ALL costs associated with and from the Collection Agency are added to your original amount. If not paid, their credit will be marred and we also utilize the court system to enforce these obligations.

What is HIPAA?

HIPAA is a complex set of federal law designed to secure your personal information, for further reading view our HIPAA Guidelines and Your Privacy page.

Do you make reminder phone calls?

Yes. We have a computerized system that makes reminder phone calls two business days before your appointment. This way, if you have to cancel your appointment, we can try to fill that spot. In this very busy world, many patients say they appreciate this reminder phone call.

Will you leave a message on my answering machine or voice mail concerning normal lab results?

No. We believe good medical care dictates that, regardless of the results of your lab work, you speak directly with your nurse practitioner. It provides you a better opportunity to ask questions.

What happens if I put the wrong information on my medical history form?

Everyone makes mistakes, and overlooking a small item may be of little consequence. It is imperative, however, that you are honest in answering all questions, and do so as completely as possible.

What happens if I'm late to my appointment?

Please call us at the first indication that you may be late. We will work with you to try to avoid rescheduling. If you are more than 15 minutes late for your appointment however, please be advised that you will most likely be asked to reschedule.

No doctors ever run on time, so why do you insist that I be on time and have all my paperwork completed?

Although emergencies (and babies) happen, we do strive to run on time. If patients before you run late, and we see them anyway, this would inevitably make you late as well, which would not be fair. Please understand that this policy is for your benefit as well as others.

Do you take care of high-risk pregnancies?

Inevitably, some pregnancies become high-risk after we begin taking care of them. However, depending on the high-risk reason(s), we may not accept some patients for care. When questions arise, these cases are evaluated individually by the nurse practitioner.

Why are there so many forms to fill out?

Ugh! We hate forms, too. Unfortunately, there are many regulatory and legal aspects associated with providing health care services to you. In order to comply with these various agencies, commissions and managed care entities, it is necessary for us to both provide written information or authorization for this information and secure your acknowledgement or authorization for this information. With the onset of the Privacy Rule code of HIPAA and more Medicare compliance, more forms have been required.

Why do I have to pay my co-pays at time of service?

Your co-pay is part of your contractual agreement with your insurance carrier. If your insurer requires a co-pay for services rendered in a nurse practitioners service, then you are expected to pay this co-pay in order to have your insurance claim filed by the nurse practitioner. If we accept your co-pay, then we have a contractual obligation to file your claim in a timely manner. Failure to pay your co-pay is a violation of the contract and we are under no obligation to file your claim. You become financially responsible for the fees incurred at the visit. Currently, Capital City OBGYN does not collect co-pays at the time of check-in due to the varying co-pay amounts that are based on the type of service or procedure performed that day. However, we may begin to collect co-pays prior to the visit in the future if compliance becomes a problem.

Why do I have to show you my drivers license at every visit?

Unfortunately, health care fraud is on the increase and it helps us lower healthcare costs for all. We verify your picture, current address, and signature to the drivers license we have on file. Its similar to most retailers who ask for your drivers license when you use a major credit card. Fraud hurts everybody.

Why do I have to show my insurance card at each visit?

Insurance carriers frequently merge, change product lines, and even change their name. In addition, many employers change their benefits throughout the year resulting in us having out-dated or inaccurate information. Your card tells us what co-pay to collect and how to file the claim. In order for us to ensure that we have the most current information to be able to file your insurance claim, we must verify your card(s) at each visit. This is also a requirement of your insurance carrier. If you cannot provide a current copy of your card, then you will be responsible for payment of that days services.

Why do your phones switch off at 4:45 pm when your office is open until 5:00 pm?

We need that extra 15 minutes to complete all activities for the current day and to prepare for the next.

Why must I turn off my cell phone when I am in the office?

Because the majority of our communication with patients is by voice, we need for patients to be able to hear us and understand us. Conversations on cell phones are distracting to our patients who have difficulty hearing. A cell phone ringing in the office often interrupts the activity in that area. Private conversations should remain private and that can not occur in an open office setting. In addition, our health care providers are required to carry a cell phone in order to communicate in a timely manner with the providers on call and with the hospital staff. Your cell phone ringing interferes with their ability to distinguish a call that is urgent for our ongoing patient care. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding with this policy.

Why cant my child go with me into the exam room?

Our medical specialty handles many types of patients and conditions which are particularly vulnerable to childhood illnesses and viruses. To best protect these patients who are at high risk or who are immuno-compromised, we respectfully request that you do not bring small children to our office. In addition, our exam rooms are not set up for the safety of children. Many of the tools, supplies, and instruments needed to perform the various aspects of OBGYN care are dangerous if used or handled inappropriately. Please help us protect our patients and protect your child. If you absolutely must bring a child to our office, please bring someone who can watch them in the main waiting area. We do encourage and welcome you to bring your newborn to the office for your post-partum visit. We enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor.

Why does it take 7-10 days to get my test results?

Different types of tests have various turnaround times. For lab tests performed in our own lab, the results are available in one to two days. For lab tests sent out to the reference lab, it may take two to three days to get the results printed back to us. Cultures take up to four days and biopsies can take up to a week or longer. Pap smears generally require 2-3 weeks. Once we have the test results, then the nurse practitioner must review them and document a plan of treatment. Because all of our physicians also spend time on call at the hospital and some in the operating room, they are not in the office every day to review these results. Once reviewed, the final results are communicated to you via your nurse practitioner or nurse. This whole process can easily take 7 to 10 days based on the coordination of results and the schedule of your nurse practitioner.

What are your office hours?

Our office is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays. We do occasionally close early on Friday afternoons when no patients have been scheduled.

What do I do if I need something outside of these hours?

A nurse practitioner is available 24 hours a day for emergencies and deliveries only. Chronic problems, prescription refills, and appointments are not appropriate reasons to call after hours.