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 2 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. Do not leave a message for a nurse (menu option 1) unless it is about a routine refill, as these messages are not checked until the next business day.
If you have an urgent concern, choose menu option 2. Continue to choose the menu option that indicates an urgent concern for the doctor in order to be transferred to a nurse who can speak with you. If the concern is emergent, the nurse will contact the doctor and you will receive a call back at the number you provide.
My child has a license - can they attend their 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?
These updated forms are an insurance and federal government requirement.
Can I request a copy of my patient chart?
You can request a copy of your chart for your own records at any time; there is a $25.00 charge. There is no charge for sending your chart to another provider when you transfer or age out of our practice.
tips for a satisfying appointment
insurance: essential terms and definitions
Let's face it: health insurance is confusing and a source of frustration. Learning how your coverage works takes time but pays off in confidence regarding your understanding of what can be a very convoluted system. Here are a few terms to get you started.
In Network / Out of Network
In-network providers are those who carry your insurance plan; it is typical for a network to expand regionally and statewide. Most insurance companies provide online portals where you can look up in-network providers in your area. Out of network providers do not contract with your insurance plan; therefore, your coverage will not contribute to those healthcare costs at the same level as in-network providers. A good rule of thumb: out of network = higher out of pocket cost.
Preventive / Well Visit Coverage
Some insurance plans cover preventive/well patient visits completely. In pediatrics, this applies to check-ups before 24 months, yearly physicals 3 years and older, and generally includes immunizations. Read your coverage paperwork or call your insurance provider to learn if your plan features this benefit.
Some plans have a copay, which is an amount you pay before leaving our office. Say you have a copay of $20 and bring two of your children in for a sick visit. Before leaving, you will pay $40 at checkout. If you brought only one child, you would pay $20.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
You may be offered a Health Savings Account (HSA) that you can use to put toward copays and other healthcare costs (specifics may apply, according to your HSA provider). HSAs are usually a set amount each year to use at your own discretion. You may receive a debit card with these funds, or your insurance company may work with your HSA provider directly.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
Explanation of Benefits (EOB) can be one of the most useful tools to understanding your insurance coverage. You should receive an EOB in digital or hard copy each month from your insurance company. It will explain charges from doctors and procedures, how much insurance paid, and what you are responsible for (if anything). If a certain visit or procedure was not covered, the EOB will provide a reason why. In such cases, call your insurance provider to learn more.
A deductible is an amount that you must pay before insurance coverage either begins or increases to a higher rate. These amounts vary considerably from plan to plan.
Usually, once you reach your deductible, you are responsible for a smaller percentage of healthcare costs. These percentage splits vary, but a popular one is 80/20, with the insurance company paying 80% and you the other 20%. Coinsurance splits can also vary between different kinds of visits and procedures. Coinsurance is what you pay between meeting your deductible and reaching your Out of Pocket Maximum.
Out of Pocket Maximum
Once you have met your deductible there is a higher amount you can reach called your Out of Pocket Maximum. Once you reach this number, your healthcare should be covered by your insurance company 100%.
letter to divorced parents
Children are sensitive and often very intuitive about tension between their parents, even from a young age. Navigation of the turbulent emotions surrounding divorce is difficult for everyone, but parents can help their children understand and cope with the life change. This set of articles from the American Academy of Pediatrics covers a range of concerns related to divorce.
Coparenting following 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 in any other capacity. We rely on coparents to communicate with one another regarding matters of their child(ren)'s health.
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.
We operate under the premise that informing one parent informs both parents. If one parent brings a child to the appointment, we expect that parent to communicate with the other on the matters discussed. We do not assume responsibility for a lack of communication between divorced parents.
The parent who accompanies the child is responsible for payment of the co-pay or deductible at the time of service regardless of which parent is ultimately responsible for medical bills. We expect coparents to arrange this between one another.
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.