Patient Care Information & Cancer Center Visit Details
Reception and Registration
When You Arrive
When you arrive for your first appointment, and all subsequent appointments, please be sure to check in with the front desk. If you are ever left waiting for more than 20 minutes, please check back with the front desk. We try to adhere to scheduled visit times, but unexpected emergencies may delay the doctor's schedule. We apologize if this should happen and want you to know we respect your time.
- The front desk representative will ask you for basic personal information, such as your social security number, driver's license and all insurance cards.
- During registration, you will be asked to sign forms consenting to the release of information to your insurance carrier, assigning the benefits of the insurance coverage and acknowledging your financial responsibility for treatment.
- If you are covered by a managed care plan, it is your responsibility to secure a referral from your primary care provider (PCP). We must have an active referral/authorization on file for the duration of your care.
After your first visit, we can set up a time for you to meet with a representative of our business office who is trained and knowledgeable about insurance issues. This representative will discuss your coverage and help explain your financial obligations. We know that insurance can be confusing and are happy to help clarify anything you do not understand.
Billing and Reimbursement
General Billing Procedures
You will receive statements detailing the charges for services provided, the status of claims filed and payments received from you or your insurance company. We will file your primary and secondary insurance claims for you at no charge. Patients on managed care plans are required to pay their co-pay amount at each visit.
Patients who are covered by Medicare and Medicaid (DSHS) must present proof of coverage at their first visit and thereafter on a monthly basis for Medicaid. Please inform us if you have supplemental insurance coverage.
Managed Care Coverage
It is very important for you to tell the front desk and/or business office if you are covered by a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or other managed care plan. We will verify the conditions of your coverage and our participation in the plan before beginning any indicated treatment. All co-payments that your managed care plan requires will be collected when you check in for your appointment.
Pre-certification for hospitalization, referrals, and various tests and procedures are usually a requirement of managed care coverage. It is your responsibility to notify us of the need to pre-certify or obtain pre-authorization. Please ask for help with any requirements of your plan that you do not understand - failure to comply with your health plan requirements may seriously affect payment for services. Any charges you incur in treatment that are not covered become your financial obligation.
Scheduling an appointment
Our patients see their doctor on an appointment basis. While you are seeing your physician, please ask when you should schedule a return visit. You should make your appointment before you leave the office. If you are hospitalized, your doctor will let you know when you will need a follow-up visit. Be sure to phone the office for an appointment.
Appointments are also required for chemotherapy infusions and injections. These will usually be on a day other than your appointment with the physician. We make it our philosophy to work with your schedule so these visits are as convenient as possible.
Any additional tests you may need before your next visit will be discussed with your physician during your appointment. The person scheduling your appointment will also schedule these tests for you, such as laboratory, PET or CAT scans, an MRI, X-rays or mammogram. Ask your nurse how and when you will be notified about your lab and X-ray results. Be sure to let them know if there is a preferred time, place or phone number to reach you. It usually takes 2-3 days for your physician to obtain results for most tests such as PET or CAT scans, bone scans or MRIs.
Prescription and Refills
Many prescriptions can be refilled by calling your pharmacy. Simply call your pharmacist with the name of the medicine and the prescription number that can be found on the medicine bottle. The pharmacy will then call our office for refill approval if needed.
Please try to phone in your request during regular office hours and early in the day. This will ensure that there is enough time to obtain refill approval or to obtain a written prescription if required. In most cases, we can provide refill approval the same day; otherwise it will be done within 24 hours of the pharmacy request.
Please note that we cannot call in most narcotic prescriptions. By federal law, the pharmacy must be provided the original, signed prescription. Therefore, if you are in need of such medications, please plan ahead and contact the center before the weekend.
At Puget Sound Cancer Centers, patients can have their blood drawn on site for laboratory tests ordered by your PSCC physician. This added convenience eliminates the need to make a separate visit to another laboratory facility. Some managed care plans, however, require that your lab work be done in the office of your primary care physician or with another contracted lab. Please be sure to confirm this with your health plan.
Our laboratories perform complete blood counts, also known as CBCs. A CBC tells the physician the amount of each type of blood cell. The blood contains white blood cells that fight infection and produce antibodies, and red blood cells that contain hemoglobin to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and platelets that help the blood to clot. Some types of chemotherapy will temporarily lower the numbers of blood cells in your body. Your doctor may order CBCs to help monitor your blood counts at every visit.
Many other tests are also performed in our laboratories and your physician will order additional tests as he feels necessary to diagnose, treat and monitor your condition. Your doctor may also order other tests that are not performed on site. PSCC lab personnel will draw the blood for those tests and process the specimens to be sent to an outside specialty lab. Your doctor will usually receive the results of these tests in a few days.
You may also receive a separate bill for tests sent to an outside specialty lab. Please call our business office representative if you need directions in how to submit these bills. If you receive a lab bill that appears incorrect, feel free to call our business office for assistance or call the specialty laboratory directly.
Hospitalization may occur because of complications from your disease, side effects from treatment, your surgery or if you might need to be admitted on an emergency basis. As medical staff members of both Northwest Hospital and Stevens Hospital, your PSCC physician stays in contact with hospital staff, visits you daily while in the hospital, and directs and coordinates your care with other hospital specialists every step of the way.