PLEASE REVIEW THE FOLLOWING OFFICE POLICIES
Missed or Cancelled Appointments
Check-up and Consultation appointments that are missed or not cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment time, will be charged a missed appointment fee of $50.00. This fee is not charged to insurance, but is the parent’s responsibility.
Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you and your child. Please be considerate of others - if you miss your appointment or cancel at the last minute, we will be unable to care for another patient in your child's place. As a courtesy, we make appointment reminder calls for well checks and follow up visits. However, should you not receive this courtesy call and the appointment is missed, the $50.00 charge will still apply. To insure you receive a call, please advise us of your phone number when you check in.
Add On Sibling Sick Visits
Our schedule allows for several work-in slots every day to accommodate our patient’s needs. If you have a scheduled sick visit for one child and feel another child in your family needs to be seen, please call ahead so we can review the schedule to make sure the time is available. For your family’s convenience, we make every effort to see siblings that need medical care when another child in the family is in the office. Please know that if another child is added when you arrive, and our schedule is full, there may be a wait time while we see the scheduled patients.
We see our patients by appointment so we can see your child with the least wait time. We will always see your child on the same day you call if necessary. We will make every effort to see your child on time, because we know your time is as valuable as ours. Please call us as soon as you think your child might need to be seen so we can accommodate your schedule to the best of our ability. Below are some suggestions and guidelines that will help you to understand our systems and allow us to serve you more effectively.
Should we have an emergency and are unable to see you as scheduled, we will let you know as soon as possible so you can have the option to reschedule the appointment. Other situations that cause the wait to be longer.
- illness that requires extra time
- scheduling errors – for example, a patient arrives at the wrong time
- patients are late or add another child at the office
As hard as we try, we cannot always predict the needed amount and/or duration of appointment times correctly. The volume and degree of illness is not always predictable. You can help us schedule the appropriate appointment time for your child by giving our staff the purpose of the visit, and the specific nature of your concerns. Please mention if you want tests or evaluations discussed at the visit.
When you call and schedule an appointment we will repeat back to you the day and time to try to decrease errors. We also confirm all check-ups and consultations the day before your appointment. If for some reason you do not hear from us the day before your scheduled appointment, please call us.
Chronic Conditions / Consultations
If your child has a chronic, ongoing situation we may need to schedule a longer, consultation type appointment. Examples: headaches, stomach problems, behavior concerns, new patient with a chronic illness (asthma, diabetes, etc). Please let us know what the nature of the appointment when you call so that we can schedule the appropriate amount of time.
We receive many calls each day, and we do our best to answer each call as quickly as possible. We take questions regarding appointments, prescription refills, insurance, general questions, etc. during normal office hours.
Here are some tips to help you save time. Tell the receptionist briefly what you need:
for example -
- an appointment, talk with the nurse or physician; check on test results, etc.
- If there are questions that can wait until your child’s routine check up, please write them down and bring with you to the check up appointment.
- To minimize delays in processing your non-urgent calls, avoid our busiest hours, which are 9 AM to 10 AM, and after school from 3 PM to 5 PM. You may experience more difficulty getting through on Monday and Friday mornings.
- You may be asked if you can wait on hold. If this is not convenient, please tell the receptionist that you will call back later.
If your question requires the attention of a physician, we will call you back as soon as possible. The physician or nurse will return phone calls after they finish seeing patients at the end of the day. If your call is urgent, please advise the receptionist that the call is urgent and must be attended to before the end of the day.
After Hours and Emergencies
If you believe you have a life threatening emergency dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you are a patient in our office, and an urgent need arises after our scheduled office hours, you can reach the physician on call through our answering service by calling the service at 678-512-0503. YOU MUST HAVE CALL BLOCKING DISABLED ON YOUR PHONE IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A CALL BACK. To disable call blocking, dial *67 on your phone before dialing the answering service.
Your call will be answered and appropriate recommendations will be made. Please have a pharmacy number available when calling. If we feel that your child needs to be evaluated, we prefer to use the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Urgent Care (2 locations - at exit 13 in the Collection shopping center or exit 8 on Mansell Rd), or if needed, the emergency room at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital or Egleston Hospital. You may see wait times and call ahead by checking www.choa.org/urgentcareforsyth (for the location at exit 13).
We have found that answering services and beeper companies are not flawless. If your after hours call is not returned within 30 minutes, please call the service back and let them know this is the second time you have called.
Another option is to visit Kids Time Pediatrics, an urgent care facility that is staffed by local pediatricians. They are located at exit 10 at the intersection of Old Milton and North Point Parkway. The address is 4000 North Point Pkwy, Suite 900. Kids Time performs all the services we do in our office, for example, breathing treatments, strep tests, urine cultures, blood draws, treatment of minor burns, and insect bites. They DO NOT treat life threatening or emergency care services and do not have xray capability. Patients requiring this type of care will still need to visit CHOA Urgent Care or CHOA ER at Scottish Rite or Egleston. You may research Kids Time further at www.kidstimepeds.com.
Referral To Specialists / Testing
We can help you find a specialist and/or an outside testing facility and will work closely with them to care for your child's needs. Dr. O’Shields will help you decide when a specialist or outside testing is necessary, and typically refers only to pediatric subspecialists, with a few exceptions. Depending on the situation you can discuss your needs with the physician when you are in the office.
It is your responsibility to know if you need a referral and the time requirements. Most insurance cards have the information on the back of the card or a phone number you can call to find out the information. We need a week to obtain non-urgent referrals and will obtain emergency room referrals within the time period you specify.
New patients should bring copies of their prior medical records for their first visit with our practice. We will enter the data and scan the records into your child’s Electronic Health Record and return the paper copies to you.
If your child receives care out of town or after hours from another practitioner, please bring a copy of the visit, or ask them to mail / fax a copy so we can keep your child's medical record complete.
As we see your child for well care we will provide you with an update on your child’s immunization records, growth, and development data. This record is important to keep at home. From time to time you may need these records when our office is not available. Your child’s medical records are maintained with strict adherence to patient confidentiality laws.
You may, with a written, signed request, obtain copies of your child’s medical records. We require 10 business days notice to prepare your records. There is a fee of $1.00 per page to print the records.
If you decide to transfer care to another pediatrician, we will fax the necessary records to the new provider at no charge..
At some point you will likely require a form to be completed for your child. We request that you bring these forms to your child's well visit, and we will be happy to complete them free of charge with the exception of Katie Beckett forms. Due to the complexity of Katie Beckett forms there will be a $25 fee. This fee does NOT apply to 3231 immunization forms, allergy or asthma action plans, medication forms, state required forms, and insurance required forms.
Please allow 5-7 business days to complete any forms, at which time they will be available to pick up at the office.
For the convenience and protection of our patients, no video recording is permitted in our offices. This is in line with our policy of securing the privacy and protection of our patients and staff.
Policy Regarding Transfer to Another Office
If you decide that our office is not a good fit for your family’s needs, we will provide your child’s medical records to another pediatric office with your signed, written request. Transfer of care to a new physician effectively ends the relationship with our office. We do not accept patients back to the office after care has been transferred elsewhere.
School Note Policy
We cannot provide a school note for any patient not seen in the office for a sick visit or well check on the day of the absence. Additionally, we cannot provide a school note for days missed prior to an office visit. We will provide a school note for your child that indicates the appropriate amount of time that school absence will be necessary.
Policy Regarding Evaluation for Psychiatric Disorders
In accordance with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we advise all young children begin treatment with behavior therapy.
Per the AAP guidelines – “For preschoolaged children (4–5 years of age), the primary care clinician should prescribe evidence-based parent and or teacher-administered behavior therapy as the first line of treatment. Medication for ADD or ADHD should only be added to behavior therapy if there is continued moderate-to-severe continuing disturbance in the child’s function.”
Additionally, all AAP recommendations for treatment of ADD or ADHD strongly advise that any child, regardless of age, receive behavior therapy, whether or not they are receiving medication.
We also advise that all children, as part of the evaluation to diagnose ADD or ADHD, undergo a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation. Per the AAP guidelines – “The evaluation of a child for ADHD, should include assessment for other conditions that might coexist with ADHD, including emotional or behavioral (eg,anxiety, depressive, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorders), developmental (eg, learning and language disorders or other neurodevelopmental disorders), and physical (eg, tics, sleep apnea) conditions.” This type of detailed evaluation is accomplished in part with a psychoeducational evaluation.
Due to the complexity of evaluation and diagnosis, as well as the significant side effects of psychiatric medications (including those used for ADD and ADHD), we do not provide medication or evaluation for ADD or ADHD, or any other psychiatric disorders in the office. We will be happy to refer you to a pediatric psychiatrist for evaluation and management of these conditions.
We do not accept any new patients who choose not to vaccinate or who choose to vaccinate using any schedule other than the CDC vaccine schedule.