Rules and Regulations

At Dr. Patricia Schechter Family Practice in Atascadero, California, your health and safety is our top priority. This is why our team adheres to only the highest standards in the industry. We make it a point to impose and follow strict policies in our office to avoid any complications on both our parts from arising in the future.


Family Practice

The family physician is a doctor who is specially trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of most illnesses that occur within the general population. We provide care for adults, children, and infants. Most of your family's health care needs can be provided through our office.


As a family practice, we not only care for your family’s medical problems but also provide appropriate psychological support and help you and your entire family. We are particularly interested in teaching you about “preventive medicine” and how to maintain your state of good health. When your medical problems are more complex or out of our area of expertise, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist.


Telephone Messages for On-Call Clinicians

Together, we share emergency calls for our patients after office hours, on weekends, and during the holidays. The telephone exchange operator will connect you to us when you call the office number after hours. Depending on the circumstances, we will decide if we can see you in the office or if we need to refer you to the emergency room for evaluation.


We maintain a close communication with the emergency room physicians who will report on your condition to us. Please reserve the after-hour calls for true emergency or urgent situations. Refills on medications should be requested during office hours and only in emergency situations on weekends. We require a 72-hour notice for refill requests.


Appointments

We find it necessary to schedule our work by appointment. This allows us to provide adequate time for your care. Patients obviously do become ill at unexpected times and emergencies do occur. Because of this, occasional delays in the schedule will occur.


We realize that your time is valuable so if a delay is anticipated, we will notify you. Please do not ask us to see other members of your family at the time of your appointment. Seeing two people when one is scheduled is not fair to the next patient who is scheduled.


If you need to be seen on a day when you do not have an appointment, please call as soon as possible and we will do our best to schedule you in a timely manner. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please notify our office as soon as possible.


To avoid a missed appointment charge, kindly call the office at least 24 hours in advance. We are unable to continue seeing patients who repeatedly miss appointments. Your courtesy allows us to see another patient in your place.


Missed Appointments

As it has been stated before, we find it necessary to schedule our work by appointment. This allows us to provide adequate time for your care. If you will not be able to arrive on time or will miss you appointment, please contact the office 24 hours before your appointment to avoid being charged a fee.


Telephone

All phone calls are screened by our office staff. This allows us to spend more time with you and our patients and does not disrupt patient care. Specific times are set aside around lunch time and at the end of the day for returning phone messages. Also, please remember that extensive advice cannot be given without an examination so you may be asked to make an appointment.


During the lunch hour, telephone calls may occasionally be answered by the telephone exchange. If it is a matter that requires our immediate attention, the telephone exchange will contact us and we will return your call as soon as possible.


Prescriptions

Prescription refills may be frequently made by phone and can be hastened if you have your pharmacist fax us. However, regular office visits are still necessary for long-term usage of most medications and we prefer to refill your medications when you are seen in the office.


We ask that you bring all medications needing to be refilled and we will ensure that you have enough medication to last until your next visit. Long-term prescriptions are to be refilled at the time of annual examination. Controlled substances will not be refilled without an appointment. We ask that you plan ahead and make an appointment for your controlled medications. Your lack of planning is not an emergency.


Confidential Information

The doctor-patient relationship is a privileged one and personal information is not released unless authorized by you, the patient. Anything concerning your health belongs to you and not to friends, relatives, or employers.


Financial and Co-Pay Policy

A financial policy has been designed to avoid misunderstandings between us and to allow you to know the acceptable methods of payment for the services provided. You, as the patient, authorize treatment and are solely responsible for the payment of fees.


In order to simplify accounting, improve bookkeeping, decrease paperwork, and in general, keep your medical costs down, you will be asked to settle your account or make your co-payments at the time services are provided. We accept checks, cash, money orders and credit cards.


All patients with insurance are required to have a current ID and insurance card. We make every effort to see if we are members of your insurance company but the ultimate responsibility lies with you to know who your insurance company is contracted with.


Medicare patients should bring their identification and Medicare cards at the time of each visit. In cases of extensive treatment, a suitable payment plan will be arranged to fit individual circumstances. However, our accountant requires that payments not be extended for longer than six months as a general rule.


In the event of specialty consultation with another physician, the fees incurred for his or her services are separate and apart from our fees and will be charged to you directly by that office. Charges for any laboratory or radiological studies are also billed separately by those facilities.


The initial visit to our office is slightly more costly than return visits. This extra amount is to cover the cost of preparing your office chart and a more extensive visit. Insurances we currently contract with are PPO plans only through Blue Cross, Blue Shield, United Health Care (Pacific Care), Aetna, Medicare (secondary insurance companies vary), as well as some other smaller insurance companies.


We do not contract with any HMO plans. We advise you to contact your insurance company to insure we are a provider covered with your current plan.


Complaints

Although we try very hard to have a mutual understanding and cooperation with our patients and to give the best possible care, there are still times when problems or complaints may arise. We are most anxious to know about these so they may be corrected and avoided in the future. Please call the office manager to discuss these needs.


Doctor-Patient Relationship

The relationship between doctor and patient is very special and is built over time through mutual respect and trust. With the family physician, this “special relationship” extends to the family unit, as the physician is not only the health provider but also a friend.


This respect and trust result in a team approach to recognizing, treating, and preventing disease. We serve as consultants to you by diagnosing your illness, suggesting plans for therapy, and helping you understand the illness or treatment as it affects you. We hope that by being responsive to your questions and informative in our explanation, you become a more educated advocate for your health and well-being.

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