We’re delighted to welcome you to the Columbia Pediatrics family! Whether you’re a first-time parent or are joining us from elsewhere, we hope that the following introduction to our office can help familiarize you with our services and procedures.
PRENATAL VISIT & OFFICE TOURS
Meeting your pediatrician before establishing care is a wise thing for parents to do for their child. We would love to introduce ourselves and our practice personally. Please call to set up a late-afternoon appointment with one of our doctors. We look forward to answering your questions and giving you a personal tour of our office.
YOUR CHILD’S FIRST VISIT
Please plan on arriving a half-hour before your scheduled appointment time so that we can process your initial registration and insurance verification in a timely fashion. To aid you in this process, you can review and download all the necessary forms: the Notice of Privacy Practices, the Authorization to Treat Minor Children, and the Registration Form. Also, bring your insurance card and any available medical records for your child, including immunization records, hospital reports, and notes from previous health care providers and specialists. Your previous providers may ask for a medical release form before they forward your information; that form can also be found in the Forms section of the website.
If you are being discharged from the hospital with a newborn, your doctor will have instructed you on when to come in for your first office visit (usually 1-2 days after discharge). You may call to make your appointment on the day of discharge. Our doctors take turns rounding in the hospital, so your doctor of choice might not be available for this initial visit. You will instead be provided an appointment with another available pediatrician. Please be sure, however, to request your doctor of choice for your child’s future visits.
CHOOSING A DOCTOR
The doctor-patient-parent relationship is central to the care of our children. By scheduling consistent visits with one specific pediatrician for both routine and even urgent appointments, we can build that relationship and get to know your family and your specific health concerns. Whenever you make an appointment, just let the front office receptionist know whom you have chosen from among the eight pediatricians to be your regular doctor. Depending on your doctor’s availability and the medical urgency of your request, we will do our best to accommodate you. However, if you do end up seeing another one of our doctors, please schedule any follow-up visits with either that same doctor or with your regular doctor as instructed.
APPOINTMENTS AND URGENT VISITS
We are open weekdays for all visits and Saturday mornings for urgent visits. We are closed for Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. We are open for a half-day on Thanksgiving Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. We encourage you to call us during regular office hours should an urgent matter arise, and you feel a same-day appointment is necessary.
To serve all of our families in a timely fashion, we discourage “walk-in” appointments or bringing in siblings to be seen without an appointment. We ask that you call us first so that we can provide you with a specific appointment time. If you do walk-in without an appointment, and your situation is deemed non-urgent, you will be asked to wait until there is an opening in a doctor’s schedule (which may mean you will be seen last if all other patients come on-time), or you can go ahead and schedule a future appointment. Parents who continually “walk-in” with their child for non-urgent matters will be subject to a penalty fee.
We also ask for your patience, especially during the busy winter months or during unexpected patient emergencies. As we aim to provide quality care to each and every one of our patients, moments such as these may mean additional unforeseen waiting times.
If we are already closed for the day, and you have an urgent matter that is not an emergency, we encourage you to call our office to speak with the on-call pediatrician (see next section on “Office Phone Calls”). If there is a true emergency, then call 911 immediately or go to the nearest available emergency department. Otherwise, we can help direct you to an urgent care clinic with extended hours if your child needs to be seen sooner. Should an urgent care clinic not be available, then we prefer that you go to Miller Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. Barring a true emergency, this option should only be used as a “last resort” or if you were directed to go there by one of our healthcare providers.
OFFICE PHONE CALLS
To handle the large volume of calls a pediatric office receives, we have installed an automated call answer system. Once you call our number, you will be given the following options to dial:
1 for an urgent matter
2 for today’s appointments
3 for future appointments
4 to leave a message for a nurse
5 to leave a message for a doctor
6 for referral to a specialist
7 for directions to the office
0 for the operator
Always have a pencil and paper when you call, and please have the following information ready:
–Your name and phone number where you can be reached.
–Child’s name and age.
–Your problem – describe as well as possible things like symptoms and temperature.
–Any special problem such as asthma, diabetes, prematurity, etc.
–Any treatments and responses thus far.
–Your pharmacy phone number in case we have to call in a prescription.
We encourage you to call during office hours so that we can best assist you. Our office is open from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Saturday mornings for sick calls and urgent care. Appointments for acute illnesses can usually be made the same day. Our phones are busiest from 8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. You may find it easier to call after that time for any non-urgent matters.
During regular office hours, you have the option of leaving a voice mail with the nurse or with your doctor. Please be aware that voice mail messages left for the doctors are often not returned until the end of the day when the pediatricians are done seeing patients. Do not leave urgent messages in the doctor voicemail box, and call 911 if your child has a true emergency. If you have an urgent matter, select option 1 to speak directly to our front office staff or option 4 to leave a message for the nurse. Messages left with the nurse will be returned within the hour. Rest assured that the nurse will always be able to contact one of our pediatricians for urgent assistance should she feel your child’s condition warrants it.
If you call the office after hours, you will be connected to our exchange service. Our doctors take turns being on-call overnight, and they also cover calls for each other on vacations, weekends, and days off. If you need to speak to the on-call pediatrician, the exchange will take down your message to the doctor. Please notify the exchange if your matter is urgent, and call 911 if your child has a true emergency. The doctor will otherwise return your call within the hour; if your call has not been returned within that time, please call the exchange again. When you speak to the doctor after hours, the main question he or she will address is whether your child needs to be seen right away or if this matter can be managed at home until the morning. You may be able to find answers to common first aid questions on the Resources page of our website, but if you are at all uncomfortable or unsure, do not hesitate to page the doctor. However, if your concern does not involve an urgent medical situation, we ask that you instead leave a routine message with the exchange or call back when the office re-opens.
Our office manager is Kim Holford. She will be more than happy to talk with you regarding any problems or questions you may have regarding our office. Please feel free to contact her.