A word about finances: in order to deliver the best care to your child, at reasonable cost to you, our office policy is that payment be made at the time of the office visit. Health plans and insurance companies require co-payments to be paid at the time of the visit.
There may be times when we recommend a course of treatment that is not covered by your particular insurance company. We, of course, are happy to discuss any options and alternative courses of treatment. However, please remember that our primary commitment must be to deliver the best medical care to your child.
Payment for services:
Our office policy has always been that patients with private insurance (or health plans with which we do not participate) pay for office visits at the time of service. As a courtesy, we will be glad to submit the medical claim for you to your insurance company so that you can be reimbursed directly.
b. Missed and late appointments
A $50.00 charge will be applied to appointments missed without a 24-hour advanced notice of cancellation.
c. Late appointments:
Our office policy is to reschedule well visits if your child arrives more than fifteen minutes late. Please understand that a patient seen before you may have an illness requiring more of our time. Our goal is to provide ample time to care for all of our patients. We work very hard to avoid having our patients wait excessively. We value your time, as well as our own.
d. Annual examinations:
are recommended for all children and young adults. Please schedule these visits three months in advance, on or near their birthdays.
e. Preparation for toddlers:
Visits to the doctor for children between 12 and 36 months may be difficult. One way to help your child prepare for check-ups is to role-play, using one of our names, for several days prior to the visit. Doctors’ kits, books about visiting the doctor, and talking about your own visits to your doctor, in an age-appropriate manner, may help your young child.
f. Vaccine policy
That said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccinations. 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 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. Such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can lead to tragic results.
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 allay any concerns you have about vaccinating your child.
Should you have doubts, please discuss these with one of us in advance of your visit. Please know that delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” opposes expert recommendations, and places your child (and other children) at risk for significant illness. It contradicts our medical advice.
If you refuse to vaccinate your child despite all our efforts, we will ask you to find another physician who shares your views. We do not keep a list of such physicians nor would we recommend any such physician. Please recognize that by not vaccinating, you place your child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness and disability, and even death.
As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating on schedule is the right thing to do for all children, adolescents, and yes, even adults! Thank you for reading this policy, and the trust you place in us. Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns you may have about this policy with one of us.
g. After hours and weekends
On weeknight evenings a doctor is always available by phone. On weekends our practice will share coverage with Drs. Sally Roth, Sari Rotter, or Susan Laster in Brookline.
We generally return calls within ninety minutes, often less. You can opt to have us paged immediately if a true medical emergency exists and you must speak with us sooner. (If for any reason your call is not answered within a period of time that you believe is reasonable, call again.)
Note that if your child is seen on a weekend in Brookline, the care there will be communicated to us.
After-hours: A physician is available by phone when the office is closed. Please remember that the on-call physician is providing coverage to several thousand families. During the week, Doctors Benjamin, Spingarn, and Rottenberg share this responsibility in the evening. Over weekends and holidays, call is shared between one of us, as well as Doctors Roth, Rotter, and Laster, at 637 Washington Street in Brookline.
The phone number is always the same. (If our phone service becomes inoperative, their phone number is 617-232-2811). On a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday (when the office is closed), if your child needs to be seen for care that cannot wait until the office re-opens, please try to call between 8:00 am and 9:00 am.
h. Referral process
To provide the best care, and maintain continuity of care, we will refer your child to a specialist we know and trust. Please communicate with us, if you believe your child requires a consultation with a specialist.
If your insurance company requires a referral for specialty care, please be sure that our office has approved the referral beforehand.
i. Records request and records policy
When a copy of a patient’s records need to be obtained, please try to give us two week’s notification. There is a $25 charge for copying each record.
j. School and camp forms
School and Camp forms are provided at annual examinations. This form is sufficient for all school and camp activities (and nearly always supplants the form provided to you by schools and camps). It is considered valid for most activities for twelve months from the exam date. Make multiple copies of this form for use during the year. Additional copies will be available for ten dollars each.
k. HIPPA Privacy Practices
l. HIPPA Statement
Dwight: I have “cut and pasted” this HIPAA policy; it has lost some of its formating. What are the benefits/risks of just having a PDF file attachment?
NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
This Notice describes how medical information about you
may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to
this Information. PLEASE REVIEW THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEALTH RECORD INFORMATION
Each time you or your child visits a hospital, physician or other healthcare provider, a record of the visit is made. Typically this record contains symptoms, examination and test results, diagnoses, treatment, and a plan for future care or treatment. This information, often referred to as the health or medical record, serves as a basis for planning care and treatment and serves as a means of communication among the many healthcare professionals who contribute to you or your child’s care. Understanding what is in your medical record and how your health information is used helps you to ensure its accuracy, better understand who, what, when, where, and why others may access your health information, and make more informed decisions when authorizing disclosures to others.
We, at The Practice of Jonathan A. Benjamin, M.D. and Roger W. Spingarn, M.D., L.L.C., hereafter referred to as The Practice, pledge to provide you with the highest quality of care and to build a relationship that is based on trust. This trust includes our commitment to respect the privacy and confidentiality of your health information.
This Notice of our Privacy Practices is being given to you because federal law gives you the right to be told ahead of time about:
1. HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION
When you or your child needs health care, you give information about yourself, your health, or your child’s health to doctors, nurses, and other health care workers and staff. This information, along with the record of care you or your child receives, is “protected health information” (or “health information). This information is kept in a paper form such as your medical record and in an electronic form on the computer.
For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories:
For treatment. We may use medical information about you or your child to provide you with medical treatment or services. We may disclose (share) this medical information to other doctors, and health care providers involved in your care. Example: A primary care physician may refer your child to a specialist such as a radiologist or a surgeon. The specialist may tell you that your child needs to be admitted to the hospital for treatment or surgery. All of the doctors in this example will share medical information about you. This is to coordinate care before, during and after your child goes into the hospital.
For payment. We may use and disclose (share) you or your child’s health information in order to bill and collect payment for the treatment and services provided you or your child. Example: A bill may be sent to you or a third party payer. If you have health insurance, information on or accompanying the bill may include a portion of you or your child’s health information that identifies you or your child, as well as, you or your child’s diagnosis, procedures and supplies used for treatment. The insurance company uses the information to tell if you are or your child is eligible for benefits or if the services you received were medically needed for payment purposes. We may also provide your or your child’s health information to our business associates, such as a billing company, claims processing companies and, others that process our health care claims.
For health care operations. We may disclose (share) your health information for activities that are known as health care operations. These activities use health care information for the purpose of evaluating our performance and finding better ways to provide care. We may use you or your child’s health information in order to evaluate the quality of health care services that you or your child received or to evaluate the performance of the health care professionals who provided health care services. We may also share this health information with outside parties (“business associates”) who perform services on behalf of The Practice. These business associates must agree to keep your health information private. Examples of activities that make up health care operations include; legal counsel, transcription, storage, auditing, and consulting services.
For specific government functions. We may disclose health information of military personnel and veterans in certain situations. And we may disclose health information for national security purposes, such as protecting the president of the United States or conducting intelligence operations.
Disclosure to family, friends or others. The Practice, using its best judgment,
may disclose health information to a family member, friend, or other person that you indicate, unless you object in whole or in part, health information relevant to that person’s involvement in your care or payment related to your care. The opportunity to get your authorization may be obtained retroactively in emergency situations.
The Practice is required by law to:
3. YOUR HEALTH INFORMATION RIGHTS:
Unless otherwise required by law your or your child’s health record is the physical property of the healthcare practitioner or facility that compiled it, the information belongs to you. You have the right to:
The list will not include uses or disclosures that you have already consented to, such as those made for the treatment, payment, or health care operations, directly to you or your family. The list also will not include uses or disclosures made for national security purposes, to corrections or law enforcement personnel, or before April 14, 2003.
We have 60 days to respond to your written request. If we are not act on your request within the 60 days, we will notify you that we are extending the response time by 30 days. If we do that we will explain the delay in writing and give you a new date of when to expect a response. We will provide this list at no charge, but if you make more that one request in the same year, we will charge you for each additional request.
We have 60 days to respond to your request. We may deny your request, in writing, if the health information is; (i) correct and complete, (ii) not created by us, (iii) not allowed to be disclosed, or (iv) not part of our records. Our written denial will state the reasons for the denial and explain your rights to file a written statement of disagreement with the denial. If you do not file a written statement of disagreement, you have the right to request that your request and our denial be attached to all future disclosures of your health information. .
If you think that The Practice may have violated your privacy rights, or your disagree with a decision we made about access to your health information, you may file a complaint with us. You also may send a written complaint to either:
Office for Civil Rights – Region I Office:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of health and Human Services
J.F. Kennedy Federal Building – Room 1875
Boston, Massachusetts 02203
Or to the,
Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue
S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201
Or e-mail the HHS Secretary at HHS.Mail@hhs.gov
The Practice will take no retaliatory action against you if you file a complaint about our privacy practices.
PERSON TO CONTACT FOR INFORMATION
If you have any questions about this notice or any complaints about our privacy practices, or would like to know how to file a complaint with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, please contact Dr. Jonathan A. Benjamin or Dr. Roger W. Spingarn, 1400 Centre Street, Suite 203, Newton, Massachusetts 02459.