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Narragansett Bay Pediatrics of Wakefield/Wickford

Policies

Office

Credit Card on File Policy

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How to Reach Us

During the day you may call our offices starting at 9am.  The secretary will be happy to direct your call to be returned by either a nurse or doctor as appropriate.  Our nursing staff are well trained and experienced individuals who will be able to help you manage many common childhood illness or care questions over the telephone.  If you would like to speak directly to a particular physician, please indicate this to the secretary when you call. The doctor will return your call between patients, at lunchtime, or at the end of the day.  If you are calling with an emergency, please inform the secretary.

Scheduling Appointments

We see all patients on an appointment-only basis.  Please call in advance for both well visits (routine check-ups) and sick visits so that we can reserve time for your child.  We recommend calling 6-12 weeks in advance of the desired date for school and sports physical exams.  Less busy times of the year to book physicals are in April/May and October/November.  Our recommended visits for each child include:  Newborn, age 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, 2 ½ years, and 3 years-old.  Thereafter we recommend a routine check-up yearly for all children.  

If you need to change an appointment, please cancel with as much notice as possible (at least 24 hours) so that your time slot may be filled by another patient.  Failure to do so may result in a missed appointment fee.  In the event that you arrive more than 10 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, we may have to reschedule to another day or time.

New Patients/Newborn Visits

If you are expecting a child or transferring into our practice as a new family, we offer a face-to-face consult with one of our physicians free of charge.  This can be arranged by calling the office during business hours.  If your baby is born at South County Hospital, one of our doctors will perform the newborn physical exam soon after birth.  We usually like to see newborns within 2-3 days after discharge from the hospital.  After that, we follow a routine schedule as follows: 1 month-old, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, 2 1/2 years, 3 years, and then annually thereafter.

If you are transferring care from another doctor, we appreciate having a full set of medical records, including immunization dates, sent to our office before we schedule the first appointment.  For your initial visit, please try to arrive 15 minutes early to complete the necessary paperwork.

Weekday Sick Visits

We attempt to accommodate all necessary sick visits on a same day basis, provided you call before 5pm.  We recommend calling early in the day if you feel your child requires a visit and we will see your child at the next available opening.  During the winter months and at other times of greater frequency of illness we are often seeing patients as late as 8pm.  If your child's symptoms are urgent, our nurse will arrange for your child to be seen in a timely manner.

After Hours and Weekends

One of our pediatricians is always on call to answer urgent questions and address worrisome concerns.  To reach the doctor after hours, please call our answering service at 401-788-2886.  The answering service will forward your name and phone number to the doctor on call.  If you have not heard back from someone within 30 minutes, please call again.  

We are open Saturday and Sunday mornings from 9am -12pm in our Wakefield office to see sick patients.  Please call our main number soon after 9am if your child is ill and you would like to have them seen that day.  

School/Camp/Daycare Forms

For your convenience, you will be given a form with your child's vaccine record and any health related restrictions at each well child physical exam visit.  This form may be photocopied and attached by you to any medical information request form you receive from schools, camps, or sports organizations.  There is a standard fee for replacement of the form or for any additional forms that may require completion by our office.  Please allow 3 business days to have such forms completed.

Refills and Referrals

We ask that you handle most medication refills directly through the pharmacy request systems.  Our practitioners are able to efficiently refill most prescriptions electronically when a request is received directly from the pharmacy.  If your prescription refill request is for ADHD medication or you have questions about the prescription, a message may be left on our telephone refill line at the main office number.  Please allow 24 hours for all refills to be processed.  

If you need to request a referral for a specialty appointment, please choose the “referrals” option on our telephone line and leave a message on the voice mail.  Advance notice of at least 3 business days is appreciated, otherwise, authorization may not be available by the appointment date.  Weekends are often not an efficient time to complete such requests due to less staffing in the office.

Medical Records Transfer

In compliance with HIPAA, our office requires a written request to transfer records.  In general, records will be made available within 3-4 weeks after we receive your request.  Patients who are 18 years of age or older must personally sign the release form.

Financial

Our office is proud to have the opportunity to provide high quality medical care for your children.  Your clear understanding of our financial policies is important to our professional relationship.  Our staff welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions so we can continue to provide the best care possible.

Billing

We try to keep our charges as reasonable as possible.  In order to reduce our billing charges, we ask that you pay all co-payments and balances on the day your child is seen in our office.  Our billing is done at the Coastal Medical corporate office.  Please direct all billing questions to 401-421-0011.

If you have specific questions about a charge to your account and have not reached an answer through the billing department, then our office manager or physicians are pleased to discuss our professional fees with you at any time.

Insurance Plans

We require you to have your child's current insurance card available to us at each office visit.  Please have the card ready to give to the secretary at the time of check-in.  Health coverage is constantly changing and families are frequently switched to new plans throughout the year.  It is important for us to have correct insurance information so that we can submit to your insurance company for payment for the services we render to you in a streamlined manner.

We appreciate your timely payment of co-payments and deductibles.  If your plan does not require a co-payment and we participate with the plan, we will submit the bill to your insurance company.  You are responsible for any deductibles and balance your plan indicates on their EOB (explanation of benefits).  Some insurance plans limit procedures and services in order to control costs.  We will always provide your child with what we consider to be the best medical care, in line with current practice guidelines.  Certain services we provide may not be reimbursed by your insurance company and will become your financial responsibility.

Participating plans:

Blue Cross/Blue Chip
United Healthcare
Neighborhood Health
CIGNA
Aetna
Tufts
Tricare

We participate with many other smaller plans not listed.  If you have questions about our participation with your particular plan, just call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to obtain this information.

Recently, more families are placed in the situation of having no health insurance.  Please do not cancel your appointment for this reason.  We are more than willing to work with you on a payment plan so that you can continue to receive your child's health care from us without delays.

In the case of families with high deductible insurance plans, we ask that you provide a down payment at the time of the office visit if your deductible has not yet been met, as is often the case early in the calendar year.  We have set that down payment to reflect the average charge of a visit to our office.  If you will be bringing in more than one child on the same day, the down payment will be pro-rated to a lower cost for each child.  Coastal Medical will continue to bill your insurance company and will use the down payment to offset any remaining balance. If the deductible has been met or is less than the down payment made, the amount remaining will be applied as a credit toward your account.

Patient Financial Policy

View Patient Financial Policy

Missed Appointments

Please help us to provide professional care to all our patients by keeping your scheduled appointments.  We appreciate your on-time or early arrival for all appointments.  In the event that you arrive more than 10 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, we may have to reschedule to another day or time.  If you need to change an appointment, please cancel with as much notice as possible so that your time slot may be filled by another patient.  Unless we receive 24 hours notice, there is a $25 fee for all missed appointments.  You will not be able to schedule another appointment until the missed appointment fee is paid.  

After Hours Charges

There will be an extra charge to be seen after hours Monday through Friday (after 5:30pm), and all day Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.  Some insurances may not cover this extra charge.

Request for Records

For your convenience, you will be given a form with your child's vaccine record and any health related restrictions at each well child physical exam visit.  This form may be photocopied and attached by you to any medical information request form you receive from schools, camps, or sports organizations.  There is a standard fee for replacement of the form or for any additional forms that may require completion by our office.

Divorce Situations

The parent who brings the child in for the visit is responsible for payment at the time of service regardless of the financial arrangements of the divorce agreement.  Our goal is to be able to provide the appropriate medical care for your child at each visit without unnecessary delays.

Delinquent Accounts

Any balance left unpaid after 120 days without attempts at resolution will be considered delinquent and may be submitted to a collection agency.  If you are having financial hardship, please speak with the billing office and we will make every effort to set up an acceptable payment plan with you.  If an account is seriously delinquent, we may be unable to provide any further medical care to your children.

Vaccine

  • We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.
  • We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines
  • We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
  • We firmly believe that thimerosal, a preservative that has been in vaccines for decades and remains in some vaccines, does not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
  • We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers.

The recommended vaccines and their schedule given are the results of years and years of scientific study and data-gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.

These things being said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccination. Indeed, Benjamin Franklin, persuaded by his brother, was opposed to smallpox vaccine until scientific data convinced him otherwise. Tragically, he had delayed inoculating his favorite son Franky, who contracted smallpox and died at the age of 4, leaving Ben with a lifetime of guilt and remorse. Quoting Mr. Franklin’s autobiography: 
In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox ... long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen. 

The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success. It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are even discussing whether or not they should be given. Because of vaccines, many of you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases. Such success can make us complacent or even lazy about vaccinating. But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can only lead to tragic results. 

Over the past several years, many people in Europe have chosen not to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine after publication of an unfounded suspicion (later retracted) that the vaccine caused autism. As a result of underimmunization, there have been small outbreaks of measles and several deaths from complications of measles in Europe over the past several years. 
Furthermore, by not vaccinating your child you are taking selfish advantage of thousands of others who do vaccinate their children, which decreases the likelihood that your child will contract one of these diseases. We feel such an attitude to be self-centered and unacceptable.

We are making you aware of these facts not to scare you or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. We will do everything we can to convince you that vaccinating according to the schedule is the right thing to do. However, should you have doubts, please discuss these with your health care provider in advance of your visit. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that delaying or "breaking up the vaccines" to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, and can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice as providers at Narragansett Bay Pediatrics. Such additional visits will require additional co-pays on your part. Furthermore, please realize that you will be required to sign a "Refusal to Vaccinate" acknowledgement in the event of lengthy delays.

Finally, if you should absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child despite all our efforts, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views. We do not keep a list of such providers, nor would we recommend any such physician. Please recognize that by not vaccinating you are putting your child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness and disability, and even death.

As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating children on schedule with currently available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults. Thank you for your time in reading this policy, and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.

Sincerely,

Barbara McGee Coghlin, MD               Celeste C. Corcoran, MD
Robert D. Maltz, MD                            Joy F. Ziegler, MD
M.E.G. Murray, MD                              Courtney A. Lane, MD