Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a medical oncologist?
We are first, and foremost, physicians concerned with the welfare of our patients. The word oncology refers to “the study of tumors.” We specialize in the non-surgical (medical) treatment of cancer and related disorders. A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy is known as a medical oncologist and is typically the main health care provider for patients with cancer. Our medical oncologists also provide supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other medical professionals here at CHTC.
What is a hematologist?
Hematology means “the study of blood.” Hematologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of blood and the blood forming organs. Since many blood disorders are of a malignant (cancerous) nature, there may be an overlap in the specialties of hematology and medical oncology.
Why am I frequently asked to update my insurance information?
Due to the large volume of patients we see daily and the frequency with which insurance information changes, it is difficult to maintain a database of patient insurance information. Therefore, a request for insurance and personal information update may be asked during every visit to our office.
What tests or services does Medicare "cover"?
Medicare will only reimburse payment for tests/services that they consider "medically necessary." Medicare publishes a list of all the tests/services for which they check for medical necessity. This list of tests/services is referred to as Medicare Limited Coverage Policies. Medicare looks at the diagnosis code(s) submitted for the tests/services being performed. Each test/service has a corresponding list of codes that are considered "covered" or reimbursable. If the diagnosis code is non-covered, then Medicare will deny the test/service for medical necessity. When we believe this will occur, we ask our Medicare patients to sign an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) to let the Medicare carrier know that the patient has been informed of the Medicare denial and has agreed to be financially-responsible for the test/service.
How are prescriptions and refills handled?
Prescriptions and refills are most easily handled during office hours. We encourage calls during the day if medications are needed. Prescriptions for some medications may require a written order and cannot be phoned to your pharmacy. Prescriptions can be picked up at our office during regular office hours or can be mailed directly to your pharmacy. Please note that it is difficult for us to provide prescriptions of this type when our office is closed. Please keep track of your medications, plan ahead and let us know if refills will be needed.
Will I be able to call your office at any time?
Calls are handled by the secretarial and nursing staff. If there is a need to speak to the physician and he/she is not readily available, a message will be taken and your call will be returned. Emergencies will be handled promptly. Calls are automatically forwarded to our answering service after business hours, holidays, and on weekends. All of our physicians carry pagers and a physician is on call at all times. The physician on call will return your call. If you do not receive a return call in 15 minutes, please page again. If you are having a medical emergency, go to your local emergency room immediately or call 911.
What is your policy on medical records?
Protecting your confidentiality is one of our top priorities. We have established practices that meet or exceed all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines. We must have a signed authorization form from the patient before information can be released. The only exception is if the information is sent to another physician who is also treating you as a patient.
We realize that it is sometimes necessary to take your medical records to another physician, or send copies to an insurance company or attorney for legal purposes. To help us assist you, please allow 72 hours' notice for the pick up of your medical records. We cannot release records with a telephone request. There may be a fee for this service.
Do you handle disability insurance forms?
Because disability insurance forms are very time-consuming to complete, there will be a charge for each form filed. Please allow seven days for the completion of these forms.
How can patients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing contact our practice?
Please use the text relay service for assistance with contacting us.