Introduction

Patients demand that there is responsible attention to their medical problems.  Just as you have expectations of your doctors at Absher Neurology, we also have certain expectations of our patients and others.  The following policies will address what we expect of you at Absher Neurology.  If you have any questions about these policies, we encourage you to contact us.  Our philosophy determines our expectations, and may also be of interest to you.

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There are two main reasons for establishing policies regarding office appointments. First, appointment policies below will help to assure that you and other patients will receive prompt and efficient service if and when the need arises. Second, the time set aside for patient appointments is a valuable resource, for you and for Absher Neurology.  We understand that your time is valuable, too.  The better we all adhere to the schedule, the more satisfied you will be with your visits.  Please, contact us if you have any questions about our appointment policy.

Lately, there has been an unfortunate tendency for patients to miss their appointments, even after confirming that they will come for their scheduled evaluation.  This unacceptable practice is unfair to the other people who would like to be seen sooner, but are unable to get an earlier appointment.  Please, help us to avoid the need to require a non-refundable deposit prior to your visit!  It is easy for you to help; all you need to do is be sure to show up for any appointment that you have confirmed, using our automated telephone reminder system.  We have already implemented a no-show fee, which doesn’t seem to be working very well.

At the time of your appointment, you are expected to provide complete and accurate insurance information, and to update our existing information if there is a change in your insurance status, address, telephone number, or other pertinent information.  We also request your pharmacy’s telephone number.  If you want to add or remove someone from the list of people privy to your health information, you can do that, too.

  1. New Patients are expected to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of a scheduled follow-up appointment, or 30 minutes in advance of a new patient appointment, in order to complete paperwork and other check-in procedures.  You are encouraged to bring the completed history and medication forms with you.
  2. You are asked to request a cancellation or to reschedule your appointment at least 24 hours in advance.
  3. We now charge a No Show Fee, which varies based on the type of appointment.  You will will be asked to pay the No Show Fee prior to your next follow-up appointment.
  4. You are expected to pay the entire co-pay, and any applicable co-insurance amounts determined by your insurance plan, at the time of check-in. If you lack insurance coverage, do not have a proper referral required by your insurance plan, or are unable to provide any documentation of your coverage, you may need to reschedule the visit to the next available opening.  Alternatively, you could pay at check-in at least half of the anticipated charge for your visit.  When we receive payment from your insurance company, you may opt either to be reimbursed or to have Absher Neurology credit your account.
  5. If you suspect that you may not be able to drive home from your appointment, you should arrange transportation assistance (such as someone to attend the visit with you and drive you home afterward). For example, if you are having a spinal fluid examination (lumbar puncture), or if you expect to receive a pain medication, it would probably be best to have someone drive you home from the appointment.
  6. If you fail to show for an appointment three times over any consecutive two-year period, without giving us 24 hours prior notice, you will be sent a letter discharging you from Absher Neurology.
  7. If you are discharged from Absher Neurology, you may receive neurology care on an emergency basis for up to 30 days.  After that, medication refills and other neurology services must be sought from another neurology practice.  This means that you may not simply change to another physician within Absher Neurology.
  1. You are asked to bring all of your current medications, or a complete and accurate list of their names, doses, and frequencies, to each appointment.  If you have verified the accuracy of your online medication list, then you need not bring your medications or a list with you to the appointment.
  2. Narcotic pain medicines will not be telephoned into your pharmacy after hours or on weekends. If your pain is so severe that you are unable to wait until the following business day, you will need to seek attention at an emergency room or urgent care facility.
  3. All medication refills should be requested either during your scheduled appointment or during regular office hours, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.  As a convenience, you may also request medication refills by calling the office, if necessary.  We charge a small processing fee for telephone and online prescription refill requests.
  4. If a prescription for any controlled substance (e.g., narcotic pain medications, some anxiety medications) is lost or stolen, Absher Neurology will authorize only one refill of your medication.  If this should happen again, no medication refills will be authorized prior to the scheduled time for your planned refills.  You are responsible for assuring that your medications are kept safe and secure.
  5. If you receive narcotic or controlled substance prescriptions from Absher Neurology, one pharmacy must be used exclusively to fill and refill all such prescriptions. We may contact your pharmacy to verify the number and doses of medications that you receive.  You may change pharmacies, of course, but you are responsible for notifying us in advance of any change in pharmacy.

We receive hundreds of telephone calls every day.  Rather than use an answering system to screen calls, we have decided that all telephone calls and/or email will be screened by office staff.  We also receive hundreds of fax messages every day.  Urgent fax messages can occasionally be overlooked.  The best way to be sure that an urgent fax is brought to our attention is to call and let us know that an urgent fax is on the way.  Email messages are not for urgent matters.  Although the potential is there for immediate feedback using email or online chat services, we have not yet decided how to implement such a system into everyday operations.  Many times, the physician can address your needs without speaking to you on the telephone.  If you have called, sent a fax, or sent email and believe that your problem is not being addressed adequately, be sure to let the staff person know when you follow-up.  Our goal is to meet your needs quickly and efficiently.  If you have suggestions for improving our customer service, please, contact us with your ideas or complaints.  You may also use our online feedback form to tell us what you think.

We will notify you about your test results when they become available, if they are significant enough to require a phone call.  This is a judgment call, and there are some patients who request prompt feedback on all test results, no matter their significance.  We do not typically contact patients when results are normal or insignificant, but we are willing to make an occasional exception.  You should contact us regarding your missing test results if deterioration in your condition makes it dangerous for you to wait any longer, if an excessive period of time elapses, or if you need the information prior to seeing another physician.  Most often, the results can be discussed at your next visit.  As a general rule, it takes about a week for routine blood test results, 2-3 weeks for special blood tests, and up to 5 days for an MRI or CT report.  Spinal fluid results usually take 7-14 days.  EEG results are usually available within 5 days, but sleep studies take longer.  EMG results are available immediately, but PNCV results may take a week.  Biopsy results may take several weeks to return.  REMEMBER:

Allow adequate time before you call for a result.
Be as specific as possible in your requests for information or assistance.
Be polite with our office staff.
Try to have most of your questions answered during your clinic visits.

It is your responsibility to assure that we have any and all pertinent medical records, CT scans, MRI scans, or other information, prior to your New Patient appointment. We can retrieve your records if you complete a “Release of Information Form” in advance of your scheduled appointment.  However, if you want to be sure that we have the information, you can retrieve the information yourself and bring it with you.  In some cases, you may be asked to pay a small copying or processing charge in order to have your records sent to our office.

You will be requested to sign an authorization for release of medical information so that we can obtain information from other treating physicians. Ideally, the release can be signed prior to your appointment, so that the information will be available at your initial appointment.

All medical records will be kept strictly confidential. We will not release your medical records without your authorization. Similarly, we will not release records that we receive from other sources. If you need information that we received from a hospital or another treating physician, you will need to request this information from that source directly. We can facilitate this process by sending a release of information form to these facilities, if we have the necessary information.

Your medical records will be provided to other treating physicians, but a small fee may be charged to cover the time and expense related to copying your records. This fee is specified by law, and you will not be charged more than the legally allowed amount.

If you are receiving narcotic medications, information about the amount of narcotics you have been prescribed, and the information you provide about current narcotic use, may be discussed with your pharmacist from time to time, so any problems with excessive narcotic use can be identified. You will be asked to utilize the same pharmacy for all narcotic refills, and we will need to discuss these details with your pharmacist to be sure you are complying with our request.

Your health care information will be stored on our computer system. Our computers are connected to the internet. While we make reasonable efforts to safeguard your health information, we make no guarantee that your records will be 100% safe from sophisticated computer criminals. We have implemented the safeguards required under the new HIPAA rules.

There are many legitimate reasons why you may need help with a legal issue.  Our policy is to assist you in a professional and compassionate manner.  We are willing to provide expert opinion and testimony.  Your responsibilities are outlined in our medical legal consultation agreement, which you must sign prior to receiving clinical evaluations known to be connected with a legal case.

In other words, you are asked to be truthful and to reveal any known legal entanglements at the time of your evaluation, so that we can go over our medical legal consultation policy in detail.  There are separate fees for each medical legal consultation service, including the clinical evaluation, writing reports, medical records or test review, and providing expert testimony.

We will work with either side in a legal case, and strive to provide fair and unbiased opinions about the neurological issues under question.

You may pay using cash, check, or credit card (Mastercard or VISA are accepted). You will charged $25 for returned checks. If your account is more than 60 days past due, and you fail to make good faith efforts to clear your debt to Absher Neurology, you will be referred to a collection agency. In extenuating circumstances, a 90-day payment plan may be established.  We encourage patients who are unable to adhere to this 90-day payment plan to pay by credit card, so that a longer period is available for repayment of the past due amount.  We may refer your name to a national credit reporting agency if these efforts fail.

For many years, Absher Neurology was the only neurology practice in Greenville that would see you REGARDLESS of your insurance status.  All we expected was that you made a reasonable effort to pay.  Due to the realities of medical practice in the current economic and health care environment, such largesse is no longer possible.  If you need neurology care, we can help you, assuming you are willing to work with us.