Frequently Asked Questions
How long should a prescription refill request take?
We work very hard to have same day turn around on most prescription refill requests, but in some circumstances it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
Why do some prescription refills require an office visit?
Medications that are prescribed and taken for chronic medical conditions, e.g., hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, etc., require periodic refills. The proper management of most chronic medical conditions requires follow-up clinic visits every six months, at minimum, or more frequently if not well controlled. Such clinic follow-up, prior to refilling the medication, is very important to determine the status of the medical condition, to monitor for disease complications, and to assess the effectiveness of prescribed medication and treatment. Prescription medications can also cause side effects, some of which may not be apparent to the patient, and may even require lab tests for detection. Typically your provider will prescribe adequate medication refills to last you until your next scheduled office visit. If you are on your last refill you should contact our office to schedule an appointment at least 15 days prior to running out of your medication. Also, let your provider know of any changes in your health, diet, lifestyle, and medications (including over-the-counter medications and supplements), as these may affect your condition and appropriate treatment.
Why do all antibiotic prescriptions require an office visit?
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Many infectious diseases, such as colds, sore throats or flu, are caused by viruses, against which antibiotics are useless. Different antibiotics are indicated for the treatment of different types of infections. The prescription of antibiotics without an appropriate examination and diagnosis may result in the needless use of antibiotics or use of the wrong antibiotic, and may delay proper treatment and even result in worsening of the illness. Unnecessary use of antibiotics can cause bacteria to become resistant and to fail to respond to antibiotics. Using antibiotics when you don't need them can mean that when you do need them, they won't help you. Widespread antibiotic resistance causes infections to be harder to cure and results in the need for more powerful, more expensive drugs to treat infections. Although a clinic visit may sometimes be inconvenient, the proper use of antibiotics is ultimately better for your health and the community.
Why do I have to pay a copay every time I visit the office?
Most insurance companies require a copayment for medical services. Basically you are responsible for a portion of the payment for your medical treatment. Copayments help to reduce your insurance premiums, and also encourage responsible use of medical care. If your insurance plan requires a copay, it must be collected every time you receive medical treatment. The copay amount is determined by the insurance plan that you have chosen to purchase. Each medical facility that is covered by your insurance plan is required, by contract, to collect the required copay at the time of the visit. The copay cannot be waived for any reason or that facility would be violating their contract, and could lose their ability to treat patients under that insurance plan.
How often should I have a physical?
Healthy adults should have a physical once per year. It is important to check with your insurance to confirm your benefits prior to scheduling. Most insurances cover an annual physical.
How often should I have a Well Woman exam?
Healthy women over the age of 18 should have a Well Woman exam once per year. It is important to check with your insurance to confirm your benefits prior to scheduling. Most insurances cover an annual Well Woman exam.
What is a physician assistant (PA)?
A PA, or physician assistant, is a medical practitioner who has obtained graduate-level education in a medical school environment, most often holding a master’s degree. PAs are licensed by the Colorado Physician Assistant Board, to examine, diagnose and treat patients under the supervision/review of designated, licensed physicians. PAs are trained as generalists, but may practice various medical specialties, based upon additional training or experience.
What is a nurse practitioner (NP)?
A NP, or nurse practitioner, is a registered nurse who has obtained graduate-level education (most often a master’s degree) in a school of nursing. NPs are licensed by the Colorado Board of Nursing, in a specific specialty area, e.g., family health, adult health, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, etc. NPs may examine, counsel and educate patients regarding health issues and, as delegated by a licensed physician, diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications.
What is a mid-level practitioner?
A mid-level practitioner is a licensed practitioner who performs duties and tasks traditionally performed by a physician. Examples of mid-level practitioners include physician assistants (PAs) and advanced practice nurses, e.g., nurse practitioners (NPs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs).
What can a mid-level practitioner do compared to a physician?
Mid-level practitioners are qualified by training and appropriate experience to perform many of the duties and tasks traditionally performed by physicians. This may include examining, diagnosing, treating, counseling and educating patients, and prescribing medications (as delegated by a licensed physician). Mid-level practitioners may work in a variety of settings including outpatient clinics, hospitals, health centers, or industry-based clinics. Physician assistants normally practice in collaboration with licensed physicians and perform duties as detailed by the Colorado Medical Board Rules and Colorado Occupations Code, and as delegated by the supervising physician. Nurse practitioners may practice independently of physicians while performing “nursing aspects of care”. When performing “medical aspects of care” and prescribing medications, nurse practitioners do so under protocols or other written authorization agreed upon by the nurse practitioner and the delegating physician. Both PAs and NPs may perform physical examinations; evaluate and treat acute and chronic illnesses; evaluate and treat injuries; order lab tests, x-ray/imaging studies, and other diagnostic studies; prescribe/administer medications; and perform minor surgical procedures, based upon their training and expertise and under delegated authority by physicians. Neither PAs nor advanced practice nurses may independently practice medicine.
How and when can I expect a response to my online requests or messages?
Responses from the online patient portal come via email. Security is our number priority so emails will simply point you to the online patient portal to read any messages or responses. You will, from time to time, receive a call along with any message or response. This will only happen if it is necessary to confirm something in a timely manner (such as a same day appointment request). We strive to respond to any online requests in 15 minutes or less during business hours, although this is not always possible or practical.
The Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS), also known as the state immunization registry, is a confidential, computerized, population-based system that collects and consolidates immunization data for all persons born, residing in or receiving immunizations in the State of Colorado and provides tools for designing and sustaining effective immunization strategies at the provider and program levels. CIIS is an important tool to increase and sustain high vaccination coverage by consolidating patient vaccination records from multiple providers and providing official vaccination forms and vaccination coverage assessments. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) operates CIIS pursuant to the Immunization Registry Act -Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) § 24-4-2403.
The Immunization Registry Act provides for the disclosure and use of immunization information in order to meet statutory immunization requirements and to control disease outbreaks. It is the official duty of CDPHE and local public health agencies to use the birth certificate of any person to enroll the person in CIIS.
The purpose of this policy is to address the need to provide appropriate confidentiality protections of the information in CIIS as well as explain the privacy rights of individuals to exclude their information from CIIS. Privacy relates to the control individuals exert over their personal information; whereas, confidentiality relates to ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorized to have access.
Note: This policy does not cover non-immunization related data and, as such, provider access to the Newborn Hearing/Newborn Screening module within CIIS. Providers are required to sign and abide by a separate Newborn Hearing/Newborn Screening Confidentiality Agreement provided by the Early Childhood Screening program at CDPHE.
Please reference the following links and attachments for further information.
CIIS opt-out procedures: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/ciis-opt-out-procedures