Frequently Asked Questions

How can I transfer my child's records?

Any transfer of medical records must be requested in writing and include the full name and birth date of the patient, along with a signature from the legally responsible parent or guardian. Please include addresses and phone numbers of the other office. Our office provides a form to fill out to make this process easy, found on our Forms section under Resources.

What should we do for after hours care?

After Hours Questions

While most routine questions can be answered on our Patient Education pages, occasionally parents need to call for advice after hours. Please call us at our emergency number: (516) 320-5329. Your calls will be received by an answering service and transferred to the physician on call. The doctor will usually return your call within 20 minutes. If you do not receive a callback within one hour in a non-emergency situation, please call again. Otherwise, proceed to your nearest emergency department.

Non-emergent questions should be called to the office to be answered during normal business hours. We will charge for after hours calls as allowed by national guidelines. These are typically not covered by insurance, check your plan.

If your child has a true emergency take your child to the closest emergency room or call 911.

We do not recommend walk-in clinics because of variable experience with children among their providers.

Support your Medical Home

We are open six days a week to serve our patients. Care in the medical home has been shown to improve communication between the patient and providers, improve medical care, and decrease health care spending. If you can manage symptoms at home until our office is open, please bring your child to our office so that we can be involved with your child's health and well being. We offer same day appointments for sick care.

Why should I choose a pediatrician?

Specialized Education and Experience

Pediatricians are specially educated and trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses in infants, children and adolescents. We have a great deal of specialization in infectious diseases specifically in children. Isn't it best to have the experts diagnose and treat such an illness so that the child and the community have the best chance of fighting it? Pediatricians are not just about shots and growth charts either. We are concerned with your child's entire spectrum of development - physical, mental, social and emotional.

Providing a Medical Home with Well-Child Care

Children deserve a medical home - a place where their care is accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. Comprehensive well-child care (or preventive care) benefits not only the individual patient and family, but the health care system as a whole. Well-child care truly is one of the greatest values in medicine. A whole year of preventive or well-child care costs relatively little, and provides huge value in both quality of care and in the costly illnesses and injuries that are prevented.

We Truly Care

Many pediatricians provide certain types of care at no profit, and often at a loss. For example, the vaccines we administer may cost our practice more than it will be reimbursed. But we do it because we believe so strongly in the importance of immunizations to the individual child and to our nation's public health. Pediatricians need and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work, and they need to run their practices as businesses despite a high proportion of low-cost or free care to their patients.

Urgent and After Hours Care

Parents are opting to use urgent care, retail-based clinics and other venues to obtain quick diagnoses, treatments or physicals without having to make an appointment to see their pediatrician. This means their child is seen by someone who does not have the child's medical history. The idea that children can have minor problems taken care of at these alternative venues, and that the pediatrician's office should be saved for chronic or complex problems, is not good in a couple of ways. For one thing, it fragments the patient's care, and for another, it creates a business model that can't work for many primary-care pediatricians. Many pediatric practices have expanded their office hours to better meet the needs of patients and parents. We are looking at doing so in the future.

Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics Website: AAP Dept. of Communications, January 2008

How can I find information about health topics?

Visit our Patient Education section for more information on many health-related topics. Browse the categories to find the most appropriate one for your question.

Why do I sometimes have to wait so long?

No one likes to wait at the doctor's office. We don't want patients to have to wait. We continuously monitor wait times and try to improve our office work flow. Unfortunately, with pediatrics, there are always things that come up unexpectedly in our schedule. We can be running right on time, but one patient is all it takes to fall behind. Please be patient with us! Remember if it is your child that needs the extra time, we will take that time.

If it is important to you to have less of a wait time, avoid late morning or late afternoon appointments (more time for us to get caught up in something), and avoid busy Mondays and Fridays, as well as the day before and after holidays.

What makes the wait so long in the first place?

  • Sick kids. Most of our "sick" appointments are fairly quick visits, and are scheduled as such. Children who are truly sick and require more time (breathing treatments, stitches, admission to the hospital, sending for x-ray, or watching as they sip fluids over a few hours) back us up. They take extra physician or physician assistant time and may tie up a room for several hours. Please understand that this may happen any time, and even an otherwise low patient volume day can be consumed by one sick child. Most importantly, if it is your child, we will spend the required time to adequately treat him/her.
  • "Oh, by the way..." This is a common phrase in any doctor's office. When you have an appointment for one thing, but bring several concerns, the visit runs long. Scheduling experts recommend putting off all non-urgent things for a future appointment, but often we will address many of the concerns so you do not have to return. If we tell you that there is not enough time today to discuss other matters, please schedule another appointment for each separate problem. This does not include things that go together, such as cold, cough and earache. All of these can be addressed together. Do not schedule to come in for a rash, but also plan on discussing chronic headaches, warts, asthma, and other complaints.
  • Siblings. Many times each day our providers are asked to "just take a look" at brother or sister. This innocent question seems to only take a few minutes, but these minutes add up by the end of the day. Since we will see all sick children on a same-day basis, please make an appointment for each child you want checked or discussed.
  • Sometimes we joke that the bus just stopped by. There's no one in the waiting room, then suddenly the waiting room is full of people. If someone's late to an appointment, someone else right on time, and someone early, then it gets backed up. Please be on time for appointments whenever possible and call if you will be more than a few minutes late. We understand that sometimes there is unexpected traffic, so we will always fit people in who missed their appointment time, but realize that it makes others wait. Do not schedule an appointment if you know you will be late. (It's amazing how often we hear, "It always takes so long to get from work to daycare and then to the office," when a parent is late.)
  • We will see your sick child the same day if possible. Sick kids can't wait until a week from Tuesday, as some offices schedule. Please try to call early in the day if you want an appointment. There seems to be a rush after 3 pm.
  • Insurance information and other "bookkeeping" issues. Please be ready with all current insurance information as you check in. If you have not filled in a Patient Information Sheet in the past 12 months, you will be asked to provide a new form. Filling this out at home is easier for most parents. Click here for the Patient Information Form. For all new patients and existing patients with insurance changes, our receptionists may need to call the insurance company to verify information, so please arrive early.
  • School physical forms. Often high school age kids come in for sport physicals without the required form filled in. The form MUST be completed before the physician can see the patient. Most forms are detailed and takes time to fill out. Please fill it out before coming to the office. If you do not have a form, click here.
  • Behavior. Some parents spend an extraordinary amount of time disciplining their children in our office. Often it is the sibling of the child with the appointment, not even the child being seen. We know that all children are rowdy sometimes, but it makes the visit long if we have to repeat what is said multiple times because the parent was distracted by the child, or if we have to wait for the parent to calm the child down. Bringing only the child(ren) with appointments helps this situation. If a child resists an exam (very common between 12 and 36 months) it takes longer to adequately evaluate the child. We expect and understand this, but it still adds time to our day, and if we have several of these children in a row, it slows us down.
  • Walk-ins. We offer a walk-in clinic daily. We staff this based on time of year and expected volume of patients. Obviously without scheduled appointments, this is at best an educated guess. Try arriving before the last 30 minutes of walk-in, as this is the busiest time.

What can I do to help?

  • Arrive within 5 minutes of your appointment time. If you will be late, please call. Anyone more than 15 minutes late may be asked to reschedule. Do not come early expecting to be seen before your appointment time.
  • Schedule your appointment appropriately. Scheduling for an earache when you really want to discuss the implications of your divorce on your child's behavior is not appropriate. An earache is a short appointment. Chronic conditions, behavior concerns, and well visits are long visits on the schedule.
  • Bring only the child scheduled for an appointment if possible. This allows the focus to be on your child that is being seen, and not on the fighting and running around that happens with siblings. Also, there is less exposure to the germs in our office, so you don't make a trip back a few days later with a sick sibling!
  • Schedule all children you wish to discuss.
  • Have your insurance card ready at check in.
  • Pre-fill out any forms needed: Camp and Sports forms and our Patient Information Sheet.
  • Schedule early in the morning.

How do I find health forms?

You can find office policies and printable forms in our Forms and Policies sections under Resources.

How can I make saline?

Recipe for Saline to do Nasal Irrigation

Ingredients:

8 ounces of tap water (1 measuring cup)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt
Pinch of baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a glass bottle. Keep the saline for a maximum of 24 hours. Each 24 hours discard the saline, wash the container and make a new solution if needed. This is to keep bacteria from growing in the solution. Using old saline can increase the risk of introducing bacteria into the nose.

Why won't we call out prescriptions?

Many parents become upset when our office will not call out a prescription when they feel their child has strep throat, ear infection, wheezing, and more. Please read this article by Dr. Suzanne Berman for a better understanding of this policy.

Why am I being billed? I have insurance!

Insurance billing is a difficult concept to address because in many ways we are blind to what the patient will be responsible for paying. Even two families with the same brand of insurance has different contracts depending on their employer. We cannot know the specific details of your insurance, so cannot tell you what will be covered at your visit. After we submit to your insurance company, they let us know what we must write off, what we must bill to the patient, and what they are paying. For a better understanding of medical billing, please read read this article by Brandon Betancourt, a practice administrator for a better understanding.