Frequently asked questions.

Do you have same day appointment availability?

Yes, we do offer same day appointments. You may be scheduled with our physician assistant who has more appointment flexibility. There is a physician available to consult with the physician assistant if necessary. Because these appointments are “fit in” there may be some wait time.

Why do I have to fill out paperwork?

There are few reasons why we request patients to review and update information. The primary reason is to make sure we know exactly what is going on with your health. The urologists’ treatment plan may change depending on medications you’ve started, stopped, procedures you may have had or other conditions you may have been diagnosed with since seeing us last. We ask that you update your medical history and demographic information annually which will require new paperwork. The Medical Assistant will go over your medications and any recent changes in your health as she’s preparing you for the visit with the physician. A secondary reason for the paperwork is to make sure the right insurance is billed. Billing the wrong insurance company can cause denials and leave you responsible for payment; the third reason for the paperwork is regulatory. The federal government has strongly encouraged physicians to adopt electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs require the physician to report substantial information to the government about how we provide care to patients and follow up with patients having a variety of diagnoses or conditions. In order to meet the regulatory requirements it’s necessary for us to have up to date information.

My doctor prescribed medication for me I’m getting close to running out how do I get the medication refilled?

Call the pharmacy phone number on the prescription bottle. The pharmacy voice mail system will prompt you to provide the RX number (shown on the medication bottle label) and a call back phone number. The pharmacy will automatically refill the medication for you. If your prescription bottle shows 0 refills left, the pharmacy will contact our office to get authorization from the prescribing physician. Urology Northwest normally requests patients to come in for a medication check every 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the medication and diagnosis. It’s important that you keep all follow up appointments so your medication schedule is not interrupted.

My doctor gave me sample medications to try, how do I get a prescription?

Please make an appointment with the physician who provided you with the sample medications. This appointment is called a Medication Check. The prescribing doctor will want to record the effectiveness of the medication in your medical chart and will then send an electronic prescription to the pharmacy of record or give you a written prescription to take to the pharmacy.

Your office told me they sent a prescription but when I got to the pharmacy I was told the prescription wasn’t there –what happened?

The federal government has strongly encouraged physician offices to use electronic RX systems called EPrescribe. Urology Northwest is participating in this program. It appears there is inconsistency in how pharmacies handle electronic prescriptions. We have seen delays up to 24 hours. You should verify with the pharmacy that they’ve taken all orders off their computer. If an electronic RX does not go through for some reason, our system is notified. The physician’s medical assistant then calls the RX into the pharmacy by phone.

I called the office on the weekend for a refill and the doctor refused to refill it…?

It is our expectation that patients will manage their medication by calling their pharmacy for a refill when they have at least 3 day supply left in their bottle. Medication refills are best managed by the prescribing physician and not the on-call physician who may not be familiar with you. Patients should 1st call their pharmacy to request a refill. If there are no approved refills left, the pharmacy will contact our office. The weekend on call physician will probably not be your physician and will not be familiar with your chart. Urology Northwest does not prescribe any narcotic medication on the weekends or holiday.

I think I have a UTI. Can I drop off a urine sample?

No, Urology Northwest does not treat urinary tract infections over the phone. You were referred to Urology Northwest by your primary care physician or other specialist because your UTIs are complicated. Therefore, to provide you with the best level of care and service, it’s important to see you in the office for a work up. We will most likely need to obtain a urine culture to treat you accurately. We do offer same day appointments for these types of issues.

How do I get a message to my doctor?

You can call our office. The scheduling staff will take down the question you have and will forward it onto the Medical Assistant working with your physician. The Medical Assistant will talk with the provider and then get back to you. Remember…the scheduling staff taking your initial call will need to gather information from you in order to get your question answered. Our goal is to have all patients receive a call back by the end of the day.

Why do I have to tell the person answering the phone about my symptoms or the reason I want to see the physician?

Urology Northwest takes the privacy of patients very seriously. The phone staff is gathering information so you can be booked into an appropriate spot on the provider’s schedule. We want to insure that you are getting the right level of care at the right time by the right provider.

I had lab work and haven’t heard back….?

If the lab test had to be sent out to a reference lab it may take up to 10 days for us to receive the results. Tests that can take longer would include pathology, urine cytology (FISH), stone analysis and some general tests sent to a hospital or other outside lab. Urine cultures results are normally returned to our office in 48 hours. If it’s been longer than 10 business days a call to the office is appropriate.

Why do I have to keep follow up appointments everything seems fine?

Follow up appointments are necessary for a variety of reasons. If the follow up appointment is for medication rechecks the primary reason for follow up is to make sure you’re not having adverse outcomes from the medication. The physician might need to check your urine or do some examination. Post Operative appointment –the physician needs to assess that the surgical procedure was successful and deal with any issues you may have remaining. Surgical procedures have a set “post op period” the physician likes to see the patient back at least once within that time frame. Ancillary or in office treatments – your physician may have ordered an in office test or procedure to help in diagnosing your problem, as the first level of non -invasive or minimally invasive treatment or as a way to monitor a chronic condition. Reaching optimum wellness requires patients and physicians to work together. Following the medical advice of your provider is important. If you don’t understand why something is being done, ASK.

My physician has asked me to see the naturopathic physician or acupuncturist, is that necessary?

Your physician would not ask you to see another physician unless it was felt to be beneficial or necessary. Urology Northwest recognizes the contribution that complementary medicine (naturopathic, acupuncture) brings to healthcare. Many conditions can be improved by making changes to life style. Our naturopathic physician is dual licensed in acupuncture. She treats urological conditions as well as non- urological conditions. She can assist patients in managing stress, general pain, anxiety, weight management, nutritional counseling for patients with chronic stone disease. Most health insurance covers naturopathic and acupuncture services. However, if your plan does not, but you want to take advantage of her services we do offer a reasonable self pay fee schedule.

I have Medicare. Can I see the naturopathic physician or have acupuncture?

Yes, you can see the naturopathic physician for care and for acupuncture service, but unfortunately Medicare will not cover this expense and you would be responsible to pay for these services. Urology Northwest offers a very reasonable self pay fee schedule.

I called to make an appointment and was told I had to pay a deposit, why?

We ask for insurance information at time of scheduling. We’ll call your insurance company or use their on-line tool to verify your benefits and eligibility. We ask for a deposit in the following situations; we’re unable to verify insurance coverage, it appears the services to be provided are non-covered or the patient has a deductible that has not been met.

I saw Mandi Bainton, PA-C but when I received my bill it showed a doctor’s name, why?

This is confusing for patients. There are insurance companies that require services performed by a physician assistant to be billed under a supervising physician’s name. Urology Northwest follows the billing rules set down by each individual insurance company.

My doctor wants me to have a procedure. Will my insurance pay for this?

Insurance coverage can be very confusing and complicated. Most of the services provided in our office are considered “covered services” by health insurance. However, there are instances where an insurance policy considers a treatment or a diagnosis to be “non-covered”. For instance, Medicare does not cover naturopathic or acupuncture services; some insurances won’t cover services related to sexual health (erectile dysfunction in men or arousal issues in women) unless there are other medical problems that play a role, like diabetes or heart disease; most insurances won’t cover vasectomy reversals; many won’t cover a circumcision for non-medical (cosmetic) reasons. Urology Northwest will verify your benefits and eligibility with your insurance company. If it appears the services you’re scheduled to have may not be covered by your plan we’ll let you know. We will work with you on a payment plan so you can proceed with the treatment plan you and your doctor have decided on. Sometimes patients decide not to proceed with treatment because they have to pay for the service. It’s important to remember that if the reason why you’re having to pay “out of pocket” is due to your deductible regardless of where you have services you’ll need to pay the full deductible before the insurance starts covering expenses – so delaying care is usually not a good idea.

I had services at your office. I thought my insurance was covering the whole bill but I ended up having to pay you. Why?

Usually you will end up having a balance after your insurance has paid because your deductible was not met, you had a co-insurance portion or you didn’t pay your co-pay at time of service. It is not unusual to see high deductibles ($1000.00 or higher). Your plan deductible must be met by you before your insurance benefits kick in. This is what insurance companies refer to as 1st dollar expense. Your insurance coverage may be paid at 80% of a specific fee schedule which leave you responsible for 20% of the allowable fee. Here are a couple of examples of how that might look; You see a physician at Urology Northwest for an office visit. We bill your insurance company $240.00. Your deductible is $500.00 and 0 has been met. Your insurance company would deny payment on the claim. They’d send us information that the claim is denied BUT if they had paid the claim they would have paid us $200.00. We can bill you for the $200.00 but must write off the $40.00 balance as a contractual adjustment under our contract with your insurance company. You come into see a physician for an office visit. We bill your insurance company $240.00. You have a $500.00 deductible that has been met. Your insurance plan pays 80% of approved charges. The approved charge for the office visit is $200.00. Your insurance company sends us a check for $160.00 (80% of the approved $200.00). We bill you for $40.00 which is 20% of the approved $200.00 and we write off $40.00 which is the difference between what we billed ($240.00) and what was approved ($200.00).