For Patients

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PATIENT

As you can see, we expect you to be actively involved in your healing process. We believe you have a right to be educated about your health options. We welcome and respect your questions. We strive to take the mystery out of medicine by providing you with detailed explanations, pamphlets, book referrals and the ongoing support of our doctors and staff. Although our approach may be different from what you have experienced before, our methods are effective to help you feel better physically and, even more importantly, feel empowered emotionally to take charge of your life and your health.

Our internal research shows that those who recover fastest are those who make their treatment plan and appointments a high priority. Part of the healing process is keeping commitments to yourself and others. There is a direct connection between following through with appointments and treatment recommendations and health recovery. Because many of the patients who come to see us have chronic, complex, and difficult medical problems, following through on treatment recommendations is critical to a successful outcome. We reserve the right to discharge patients who do not feel that their healthcare is a priority and choose not to keep appointments or take responsibility for their treatment plan.

As we make every effort to address your needs around your healing, we hope that you will make every effort to respect us also by:

1. Following through with our mutually designed treatment plan.

2. Let us know if you desire another professional opinion.

3. Informing us of all forms of therapy you are involved with.

4. Expressing your needs.

5. Give us the benefit of your feedback so we can provide you with out best service.

6. Tell us when we are doing well. Praise rewards our work and encourages us to do even better.

7. Honoring all appointment times and business policies.

8. Being considerate of our need to adhere to a schedule in order to serve other patients.

9. Using the emergency number for true medical emergencies only. Twenty-four hour voice mail is available for regular messages. Our staff will get back to you on the next business day.

Please Note: Dr. Sica does not do depositions, expert testimony, or otherwise get involved with other legal or insurance matters. Other than completing forms, our office does not deal with disability or nor do we accept workers compensation.

INITIAL CONSULTATION INFORMATION: OUR PROCESS

After you have completed our questionnaire, you’ll already be more aware about all areas of your health, especially what your health goals are. To accomplish these goals requires more time and input from you, as well as our staff, than a standard brief visit to the doctor. Please plan to arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time and allow ample time in your schedule for your first visit which can take up to three hours.

During your first visit, one of our licensed physicians will comprehensively review your history and symptoms and perform a thorough physical exam. At this visit, essential laboratory studies will be recommended and explained to you. These tests should optimally be performed at this time or shortly after, in order that the information will be available at your next visit with the doctor. Also at this first visit, initial recommendations for treatment and lifestyle changes will be discussed. This will include recommended vitamin or herbal supplements.

Because we believe in empowering you about your health care decisions, you are invited to explore issues or concerns that were brought to your awareness by the questionnaire, including how emotions can play a vital role in our overall health. We can assist you in taking charge of your health, identifying what steps you can take, and tools you can use to improve how you feel and your enjoyment of life.

Another crucial factor affecting vitality and well-being is the food you eat. The saying, “You are what you eat” contains a great deal of truth. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and achieve proper weight if we give it the right nutrients and free it from the burdens of improper diet and excessive stress and a sedentary lifestyle. By identifying out of balance conditions, we can provide targeted nutrition to speed healing and re-balancing. We recommend a nutritional consultation with a qualified nutritionist to get you on the right diet; one that is easy for you to maintain while maintaining your health. This maximizes the benefit you receive from your treatment plan. You will learn to make food choices that are satisfying and improve energy and vitality. If you are traveling a distance, we suggest scheduling this nutrition consult with the first visit

PLEASE COME PREPARED WITH THE FOLLOWING:

Completed questionnaire.

Copies of relevant medical records/lab results. (You may arrange to have them sent from other doctors in advance.)

A complete list of all Medications and Vitamins/Supplements you are taking. (You may wish to bring in all of the bottles.)

A current snapshot of yourself to keep in your chart. (If you don’t have a recent one, we will take a Polaroid.)

Make a list of any questions that you would like to ask. To assist you in remembering the considerable amount of new information you’ll be receiving, you may wish to bring a notebook / or a tape recorder and blank tapes.

If you tend to be cold, bring along a sweater. Our office can be chilly at times.

 

PLEASE REMEMBER:

DO NOT WEAR SCENTED PRODUCTS or CLOTHES THAT HAVE ODORS IN THEM!

We ask this because many of our patients have extreme chemical sensitivity and perfume, scents, odors, or the smell of smoke on clothing can trigger strong symptomatic reactions for them. Please understand that in fairness to all our patients, we cannot allow anyone with these scents or odors on their clothing into our office.

FOLLOW-UP VISITS:

During your follow-up visit with the doctor, your history, lab work, and progress will be further assessed, and used to tailor your comprehensive health plan. This may include further testing, dietary changes, medication or supplement recommendations, discussing psycho-social stressors affecting you, recommending books or other reading material, classes or exercise programs, etc.

Holistic treatment for chronic ailments or environmental illness may be varied, complex, and seldom accomplished in one visit. On-going communication and follow-up are the key to your continued health improvement. We recommend regular visits (every three to four weeks) until treatment goals are achieved and at least yearly thereafter. Phone consultations can be scheduled as a follow-up for those who live at a great distance.

PHONE CALLS AND CONSULTATIONS:

Your questions are always welcome and we want you to feel free to call us if you need an answer before your next regularly scheduled appointment. However, due to the high volume of calls we receive, we have developed a system that allows us to respond to these calls in an efficient manner. We prioritize the messages we receive and respond to them in that order. In order to efficiently utilize the doctor’s time, we try to handle most questions that can be answered by a staff member or by that staff member asking the doctor and getting back to you with the answer

You can help us prioritize your call by:

1. Write down questions that are not urgent to ask the doctor/staff at your next appointment.

2. Write down all of your questions and symptoms so you can relay them to the staff on the phone efficiently. This will save you calling repeatedly.

3. Letting us know the priority of your call. If it is urgent or timely, please say so. If you legitimately need to speak to the doctor immediately or by the end of the day, let us know.

4. If you have a number of questions or a significant treatment issue that needs to be addressed, you may be asked to schedule a phone consultation. That allows the doctor adequate time to answer all your questions at a time that is convenient for both of you.

A phone consultation is ANY telephone communications with the doctor or other health care provider in regard to discussion of your questions and /or change in treatment plan, whether it is scheduled or not. All phone consultations will be billed to your account according to the proper medical coding. Insurance coverage varies for this new code; hence your insurance plan may not cover this service. Medicare considers telephone consultations a non-covered service.

The CODE MANUAL defines PHONE CONSULTS in the following manner:

Telephone call between a physician and patient or for consultation or medical management or for coordinating medical management with other health care professionals (e.g., nurses, therapists, social workers, nutritionists, physicians, pharmacists); to report on tests and/or laboratory results, to clarify or alter previous instructions, to integrate new information from other health professionals into the medical treatment plan, or to adjust therapy.

APPOINTMENT TIMES:

Our internal research shows that those who recover fastest are those who make their treatment plan and appointments a high priority. Part of the healing process is keeping commitments to yourself and others. There is a direct connection between following through with appointments and treatment recommendations and health recovery. Because many of the patients who come to see us have chronic, complex, and difficult medical problems, following through on treatment recommendations is critical to a successful outcome. We reserve the right to discharge patients who do not feel that their healthcare is a priority and choose not to keep appointments or take responsibility for their treatment plan.

This appointment time is reserved especially for you. We ask that you respect our time. If you must cancel, we need a minimum of two-business day’s notice so that we can accommodate those who are waiting for an appointment. PLEASE make sure that you talk to a live person when you cancel! If we don’t receive at least 2 business days’ notice, you will be billed for a minimum of fifty percent of the charge for the visit, which was reserved for you. This policy applies to phone consultations also.

Since we reserve an hour of the doctor’s time for the initial visit and 30 minutes for a follow-up appointment, there is a limit to the number of patients the doctor can see in a day. If you miss your appointment without giving adequate notice, you are disrespecting yourself, your health, the doctor’s time, and all of the ill patients who are waiting for an appointment. Please respect those who are waiting months for an appointment!

MEDICATION PRESCRIPTIONS AND SUPPLEMENTS:

Since prescribed medications and supplements are an integral part of your treatment plan, it is IMPORTANT for you to monitor these prescriptions so that you will not run out. Regarding medications, please note the difference between a refill and a renewal. First call your pharmacy to see if there are any refills left on your last prescription. If there are no refills, you may call Ext. 227 or email MA@centerhealingarts.org for a renewal. We will make every effort to call in to your pharmacy in a timely manner, usually within 24 hrs. on our regular business days. Please try to call for renewals at least 3 business days before you run out.

If you are running low on supplements and need more, you can pick them up at either office or have them mailed by calling our Supplement Dispensary at 203 / 799-7733, extension 237 or email to supplements@centerhealingarts.org.

MEDICAL RECORDS:

Copies of medical records to another doctor are free of charge. Other requested copies are 45 cents per page plus postage. If you request a letter to be written in your behalf (to insurance companies, other doctors, etc.), there will be a minimum charge of thirty-five dollars per page.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

As a patient in our center, you have committed to your participation and responsibility in your healing process. This also includes responsibility for the services you receive and the manner in which you handle your business relationship with our center. We ask you to review it, ask our staff any questions that might arise, and sign the copy included in your questionnaire that you have read and understand it. By clarifying our policies, we hope to prevent any future misunderstandings.

INSURANCE:

There are over 1,000 different insurance companies in America. It is impossible for us to know all of their policies and regulations. Because you (or your employer, in your behalf) have contracted with an insurance company, it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with your policy limitations and regulations of your insurance company. Please remember that we do not participate with any insurance plan or Medicare, nor do we submit claims. We do prepare your bill in an acceptable format for your insurance company. In this manner, you may easily submit your claims directly. If you have specific questions regarding your coverage, please check with your carrier or group benefits coordinator prior to your appointment. Insurance coverage for natural, holistic, and alternative treatment also varies, although doctor visits and testing are often covered by fee for service or out of network plans. We have listed under “Insurance Coverage” what our experience has been but cannot guarantee what any given policy will cover.

The Center for the Healing Arts, PC does not participate with any HMO, PPO, POS, Medicare, or insurance plans. All services rendered are fee for service. You may submit the bill provided to your insurance company for reimbursement according to the limits of the policy, if you have out of network benefits.

MEDICARE: As of June 18, 1998, Dr. Sica has not participated with Medicare. As a result, Medicare considers all of our services as non-covered expenses. Our decision to “opt out” was arrived at after considerable deliberation and is consistent with our desire to continue to offer the very best in comprehensive, integrative, alternative health care. All Medicare patients who wish to utilize the services provided at our offices must enter into a private contract with the doctor. If the patient has secondary insurance, bills may be submitted directly to that carrier. Laboratory services, when provided by participating laboratories, continue to be covered as long as they are considered “medically necessary” by Medicare regulations. (Exceptions include nutritional testing, such as fatty acid or vitamin analyses.)

FEES:

Since our treatment plan for you is highly individualized, the cost for laboratory testing, allergy testing, and supplements vary widely. By bringing copies of any testing you have had done within the past year or so and any relevant medical records to your current condition, you may reduce the cost of further testing.

We do not participate with any HMO, PPO, POS, or insurance plans. We do NOT participate in Medicare or Medicaid / Title 19. We do not submit insurance claims nor is assignment accepted.

Payment is expected in full at the time services are rendered. Payments may be made by cash, check, Master Card, Visa, or Discover.

Any accounts over thirty days will accrue with interest at the rate of 1.5% per month. Accounts delinquent over 90 days are due in full and will be referred to collection. All collection costs and legal fees will be added to the account.

CANCELLATION FEE:

We reserve the right to charge you for a missed visit if your appointment is NOT cancelled 2 Business Days prior to appointment date. We reserve the right to have your credit card authorization on file in advance before reserving an appointment time for you.  Please note:  Because we are closed on Friday, any Monday appointment that is cancelled via voicemail on Friday is  subject to the cancellation fee.

“Unfaithfulness in keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person’s money as his time.”

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