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Coparenting and FAQ
Letter to Coparents
Children are sensitive and often very intuitive about tension between their parents, even from a young age. Navigation of the turbulent emotions surrounding separation and/or divorce is difficult for everyone, but parents can help their children understand and cope with the life change. This set of articles about the effects of divorce on children from the American Academy of Pediatrics covers a range of concerns.
Coparenting following separation/divorce can be difficult and frustrating, and we know it takes time to learn how to do it effectively. As a pediatric office, our responsibility is to provide the best care for your child(ren) as we can. It is not our place to enter the coparenting relationship.
If one parent brings the child(ren) to an appointment, we expect that parent to communicate with the other on the matters discussed. We operate under the premise that informing one parent informs both parents. Therefore, we do not make duplicate phone calls to coparents who do not speak with one another. We do not assume responsibility for a lack of communication between coparents.
Under Tennessee law, both parents have a right to health information of their child(ren). If you have a ruling that states otherwise, please provide a copy of the court order for us to keep in your child(ren)'s medical chart.
The parent who accompanies the child is responsible for payment of the co-pay at the time of service regardless of which parent is ultimately responsible for medical bills. We expect coparents to arrange this between one another in advance.
When should I call to schedule a well appointment (yearly physical)?
A good rule of thumb is to call 4-6 weeks in advance. If you would like an appointment the week of a school break (ie: spring break, fall break, winter break), call at least two months in advance because those appointments fill up fast!
How do I reach a nurse or doctor outside business hours?
If you need to reach us after business hours, call our main office line (865)687-1940. You will reach an automated system that will provide you with a list of options to direct your call. It is important to listen to each menu item in full.
In the case of an emergency dial 911.
To speak with a nurse:
• Dial (865)687-1940.
• Do not leave a message, as they are not checked until the next business day and are for routine prescription refills only.
• Choose the menu option that connects you to Children’s Hospital, where a nurse is ready to take your call.
• If necessary, that nurse will contact a doctor from Black and Benton. The doctor will then call you back at the number you provide. Most matters do not require the nurse to contact one of our doctors.
My child has a license - can they attend an appointment by themselves?
We allow patients to have unaccompanied appointments when they are 17. If you have a copay, please arrange prior to the appointment how you will provide payment, whether by calling to pay over the phone or giving your child your preferred payment method. It is customary to collect a copay at the time of the appointment, whether or not you accompany your child.
I have a Conference visit scheduled - should my child attend?
Unless expressly told by the doctor that the child should not attend, it is always a good idea for them to be there as you discuss topics and issues. It is important for the doctor to know the child's perspective in experiences relevant to the concern at hand.
Why do I have to fill out new forms each year?
The Patient Information and Consent to Treat forms provide us with information that we are required to update annually in accordance with government and industry guidelines.
Need a sports physical?
If your child has had a physical within 365 days of your inquiry, the doctors will, in most cases, sign off on a sports physical. Fill out the Personal and Family History Portions of this form from Knox County and drop it by the office. We'll let you know when it's ready. In some cases you may be charged for completion of the form.