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Frequently Asked Questions: Family Medicine and Urgent Care

What is a Direct Pay Practice?
A Direct Pay Practice is a practice that does not contract with insurance companies.  This includes Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and private insurance companies.  By eliminating costs associated with billing, coding, referrals, authorizations, payment delays, EOB reviews, claim denials, re-submissions, collection risks, and other managed care costs, Atlas Healthcare can provide services for less than half the cost of a typical office visit without the administrative hassles and bureaucracy.


Will Atlas Healthcare file my insurance claims?
No, as a Direct Pay Practice, Atlas Healthcare is able to keep costs low by not taking on the overhead associated with filing insurance claims.  These costs are listed above.  Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company.  For your benefit, we will provide you with our fees and billing codes, upon request, before any services are performed.  We recommend you contact your insurance carrier to verify your benefits so you will have a basic understanding of how your insurance will reimburse you for services provided by our office.  Unfortunately, insurance carriers are not always willing to provide their allowable fees or disclose which billing codes they will cover.  If this is the case, you may want to contact the SC Department of Insurance - http://www.doi.sc.gov.


What if I need insurance forms filled out?
Due to high administrative costs and the time requirement, Atlas Healthcare does not fill out forms from insurance companies.  A copy of your medical records will be forwarded to the insurance company when a signed authorization to release your medical records is received.  Their medical review professionals can extract the information required from your records.


How far in advance must I make my appointment?
Atlas Healthcare offers scheduled appointments for preventive and follow up visits.  We also offer same-day appointments and phone visits for urgent issues.


What should I bring to my first appointment?
We require a picture ID.  Also, please bring a complete list of your current medications with dosing instructions, a list of your allergies, plus any X-Rays and imaging reports you have.


Can I fill out my new patient forms before I come for my first visit?
Yes. If you are planning your first visit with Atlas Healthcare, please print and complete the New Patient Packet from our website prior to your arrival.  If you are unable to complete the forms prior to your first visit, please arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow yourself time to complete these.


What is the phone visit or “telemedicine” policy?
It can be very difficult to recognize and treat illnesses over the phone.  The best attention and treatment is always delivered in person.  Open appointments allow for this.  However, if you feel you have a single, simple problem and understand the limitations of "telemedicine", Dr. Wingo will be happy to discuss your complaint with you.  Please realize that time for discussion, documentation in the chart, and calling in a medication(s) to your pharmacy takes valuable time and, thus, a $50 fee will be charged to your credit card.  There is no charge if you are asked to come into the office.  In the interest of patient safety and responsible medicine, phone visits are available only to established patients of Atlas Healthcare.  Controlled substances cannot/will not be prescribed for phone visits.


How do I get a prescription refill?
The best time to request prescription refills is during an office visit.  As a general rule, Dr. Wingo will provide you enough refills to cover you until your next appointment.  Please plan ahead and call the office for a lab or follow up visit if you are running low on your medication.  The task of documenting, calling and faxing pharmacies is very time-consuming, and thus, a $20 charge will apply to granted refill requests due to missed or delayed appointments.  If your current prescription bottle indicates that you have remaining refills, please contact your pharmacy.  Requests from the pharmacy to renew an expired prescription will require 24 hours to process, if granted.  The $20 fee will apply if a follow up appointment is due.  If requests are received after 12:00 noon on Friday, please be aware that these requests may not be called into the pharmacy until the next business day.  Please do not call Dr. Wingo after hours for refill requests.


What do I do in case of an emergency?
If you have a life-threatening medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.  Dr. Wingo can be reached after hours by leaving a message on the after-hours line.  This is only for medically urgent, non-life-threatening issues that cannot wait until the next business day. This is a service available to established patients of the practice only.  Most importantly, never delay treatment for a potentially life-threatening condition while waiting for a call back from the after-hours line.


What if I need to be admitted to the hospital?
In the event you need to be admitted to a hospital, Dr. Wingo will use the hospitalist service of the hospital you choose.


Can a minor patient attend an appointment alone?
No. A parent, guardian or adult must remain with any minor under the age of 18 years during the entire visit.  Please do not drop the child off or leave the child in the office unaccompanied.


Will my medication be covered by my insurance?
Most medications are covered by insurance. However, if you have a plan that requires a prior authorization for your medication it may take longer to process, or your out of pocket expenses may be higher.  Every attempt will be made to prescribe the best medication at the most affordable price.  Because Dr. Wingo believes his time should be spent with patients, not pharmaceutical sales representatives, prescription samples will not be available.  Prescription samples are marketing tools, and in the majority of cases, offer no therapeutic advantage over older, less expensive medications. 


What if I have a chronic condition requiring medications that are controlled substances?
Dr. Wingo does not/cannot prescribe narcotics or controlled substances on an ongoing basis. If these medications are needed chronically, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist(s) for management of these medications and associated conditions.

Please refer to Atlas Healthcare’s Practice Policies and Financial Policy for more details.