Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need an appointment to be seen?
- What if I don't have a computer?
- Can I schedule an appointment for 2 months from now?
- How should I prepare for my first visit?
PAYMENT AND INSURANCE
- Do you take insurance?
- Can you bill me?
- Can I use my insurance if I need a referral, x-ray or medicine?
- Do you accept Medicare?
- What age groups do you see?
- You seem to do it all. What don't you do?
- How can I transfer my medical records?
- May I have a copy of my record?
- Do you answer the phone for emergencies after hours?
- Do you admit your patients to the hospital?
- How are prescription refills for long term medications handled
- How do I get my test results?
- Why can't you talk to my mom or sister about me?
- Do you believe in vaccines for children?
- Do you have faith in alternative therapies?
- Do you prescribe medical marijuana?
- Do you prescribe narcotics?
- How do you pronounce your last name?
- I have great insurance, a caring and competent doctor, and fine medical care already. Why should I switch to you?
1. Do I need an appointment to be seen?
Yes. I keep multiple appointments open for same day, so check online for availability as soon as you feel ill. The system is available 24-7, even at 2 am when you have that high fever.
2. What if I don't have a computer?
You can easily access the website at the library, and do not need an email account to schedule an appointment. You can also have a friend or school nurse schedule your appointment for you. Calling is reserved for those who truly do not have access to the internet.
3. Can I schedule an appointment for 2 months from now?
No. I believe in open access scheduling. I open up the schedule not too far in advance. This way, both you and I know our life circumstances for the near future and can schedule an appointment when it truly is convenient, without having to change it later. I have found busy people like us often forget appointments if scheduled too far in advance.
4. How should I prepare for my first visit?
PAYMENT AND INSURANCE
If you have any previous records or test results, bring them. For children and INS physicals, bring your immunization card. Please bring photo ID and a payment source (cash, in-state check, HSA card, credit or debit card).
5. Do you take insurance?
No. I do not work with insurance companies, since their cost structure, rules and mandates can sometimes get in the way of a caring physician-patient relationship. You can check with your insurance company to see if it is possible to get partial reimbursement for my services. They often have an insurance reimbursement form which you may send to your insurance company to apply for reimbursement or to put toward your deductible. You will likely be reimbursed at out-of-network rates. If you have an HMO or EPO, you will not be reimbursed.
I also do not take Medicare or Medi-Cal.
6. Can you bill me?
No. Payment is required at the beginning of your appointment unless other arrangements have been made in advance. I accept cash, personal checks (in-state only), HSA cards, credit cards and debit cards.
7. Can I use my insurance if I need a referral, x-ray or medicine?
Your medicines will still be covered by your insurance and I try to work within their formulary if appropriate. Many insurance plans require authorization to be obtained prior to ordering tests, medication, or consults with specialists and I will work to get you prior authorization. The process of routine referrals authorizations takes 7-14 business days. Urgent or Emergent referrals are obtained within 24-48 hours. Without prior authorization, your insurance may not guarantee payment.
8. Do you accept Medicare or Medi-Cal?
No, I have opted out of Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Fees are due at time of service and you will not be able to seek reimbursement for my services. However, tests done at labs and x-rays are still covered as independent services. Medications are still covered at your pharmacy.
9. What age groups do you see?
I see all ages, newborns through seniors.
10. You seem to do it all. What don't you do?
I do not do obstetrics and surgeries.
11. How can I transfer my medical records?
You can come in and sign a form releasing your records to or from my office. There is no charge for the first time.
12. May I have a copy of my record?
Yes, you may have a copy of your record.
13. Do you answer the phone for emergencies after hours?
No. True emergencies need immediate medical care, and that means an urgent care or emergency room visit. When in doubt, go in. The rest of the usual but scary illnesses can be seen in a few short hours, first thing in the morning. My online scheduling makes it likely you will be able to book that appointment right away and be seen quickly when the day begins. If appointments are not available, urgent care remains an option. I am not available for phone questions after hours.
14. Do you admit your patients to the hospital?
Having worked as a hospital based physician for 3 years, I can assure you that they can get you better and faster care than I can. I will ensure that your hospitalist receives all important and pertinent information necessary for your care, and will coordinate your care with them to get you home faster and healthier.
15. How are prescription refills for long term medications handled?
If your original prescription allows refills (indicated on the label), simply contact the pharmacy directly. However, if the prescription has run out you will need an appointment for a refill prescription. I do ask that patients not wait until they have only one dose left before scheduling an appointment for a prescription refill because many medications must be taken daily and never be skipped. Most chronic medication requires a yearly visit, even if you feel completely well. Some require visits as frequently as every other month.
16. How do I get my test results?
I often will want to see you again in 1-2 weeks to discuss the results, so feel free to make an appointment so we can go over them thoroughly. Otherwise, I will call you or email you with your test results when they are available. If you do not hear from me within 2 weeks of the test being done, please email. Do not assume that the results are normal.
17. Why can't you talk to my mom or sister about me?
I can, but only if you have provided written permission to me beforehand. To protect patient confidentiality, I will NOT discuss information with anyone but the patient unless there is a written documentation from the patient in the chart.
18. Do you believe in vaccines for children?
Yes, many can save lives. However, I believe in talking to parents about the necessity of some of the less essential vaccines, and I often suggest an alternative vaccine schedule based on individual circumstances. I am open to the Dr. Sears schedule as well.
19. Do you have faith in in alternative therapies?
Yes, when it is appropriate to the individual patient. I prefer lifestyle changes to medication, believe that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are based in science that has yet to be understood fully, and support use of nutritional supplements. I am willing to work with any alternative therapy provider to provide you with comprehensive care.
20. Do you prescribe medical marijuana?
No. While THC and DCB have definite medical value for many conditions, I have seen many people seek a card to excuse their recreational use. Until it is better regulated and in a form that does not harm the lungs, I will abstain from formalizing any recommendation.
21. Do you prescribe narcotics?
Although narcotics are an effective short term tool for relieving severe pain, the goal is to discover and eliminate the cause of the pain. Rarely do I use them, and only in temporary, refractory or hospice cases. I believe in a multimodal approach to pain management.
22. How do you pronounce your last name?
It is pronounced Zand-fleet. It's Dutch. Don't worry if you get it wrong.
23. I have great insurance, a caring and competent doctor, and fine medical care already. Why should I switch to you?
Congratulations! While I'd be happy to see you as a patient or for a second opinion, I see no reason for you to switch. It sounds as though you have an ideal situation. Be sure to express your appreciation to your doctor and his/her staff at your next visit!