Frequently Asked Questions

pediatrics exam 2

Q: What’s the difference between a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) and a Doctor of Medicine (MD)?
A: A Doctor of Osteopathy attends medical school and accomplishes medical training in internship and residency training programs (our clinic doctors have attended special medical training in pediatric medicine) after graduation from medical school. They also attend additional medical training in osteopathic medicine (alignment of the spine, muscles, and skeleton to maintain health.) Doctors of Allopathic Medicine (MDs) attend medical school and accomplish additional medical training in internship and residency training programs. Both DOs and MDs pass licensing tests to practice medicine. All of our clinic doctors are also Board Certified in Pediatric Medicine.

Q: What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?
A: A Physician Assistant attends specialized medical training in pharmacology, anatomy, physiology and the disease process, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree or Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies. The Physician Assistant passes state licensing boards to practice health care under the supervision of a physician. The Physician Assistant can accomplish medical examinations, order and interpret diagnostic tests, write prescriptions for medications, and make specialist referrals.

Q: Will my child see only the Student Doctor?
A: The Pediatric Clinic is part of the UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC) medical education system. As part of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, we train medical students to become physicians. Student Doctors, in their third and fourth year of medical school, see patients as part of their training to become physicians. The Student Doctor is always under the supervision of our physicians and one of our clinic physicians will always see your child and complete the medical examination. Our patients and parents like the extra care and attention their children receive in our clinic.

Q: What happens if my child has a medical emergency concern after the Pediatric Clinic is closed?
A: Our office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (except for major holidays.) If your child has a life threatening medical emergency, take  them to the nearest medical emergency room or call 911 immediately. If you child has a non-life threatening medical emergency when the clinic is not open, call 817-735-2363. You will be instructed to leave a message (follow the simple telephone recording instructions) and one of our physicians will promptly return your phone call. The clinic asks that you please do not call the doctor after hours to request a routine prescription refill or for medical conditions that can be better managed during routine office hours. Our physicians only admit patients to the Cook’s Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.

Q: If my child is ill can I bring them in without an appointment?
A: We ask that you call and schedule all of your child’s health care needs. We can provide an appointment for your ill child within 24 hours of your request. Please call for ill or sick child visits early in the day so we can meet all of our patient’s health care needs. When a parent brings their child to the clinic as a “Walk-In” patient it can cause your child to wait. Patients with appointments are seen first. We also have a nurse (telephone triage nurse) assigned to answer your medical questions by telephone during the hours of 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday.) The nurse may provide advice on your medical concerns, provide an appointment, recommend at home treatment options, or ask the physician if telephone prescriptions can be given. Our physicians review all telephone triage nurse calls.

Q: Can I make an appointment to see only one of the Clinic Physicians or Physician Assistants?
A: Our clinic physicians take turns seeing sick children (acute care patients) in our patient care sessions each day. The physician who is conducting the sick children clinic for that day will be the provider with whom your child is given an appointment. If your child requires a well-child appointment (normal preventive checkup), you may request a specific doctor or physician assistant. We ask that you call 4-6 weeks in advance to schedule your child’s well visit with a specific provider. For other routine care appointments (non-sick visits) please call 7-14 days in advance to schedule an appointment for a specific provider.

Q: While I’m here can I have my other child seen?
A: Please call and schedule appointments for all sick or well-care for your children. Our physicians have set times for conducting clinic appointment sessions each day and must also attend to patients who may be in the hospital. It will not always be possible to see additional children if they do not have appointments. It may also cause our patients with appointments to wait longer to be seen.

Q: If my child has a health problem that may be contagious to other children what do I do?
A: Please call and inform the Pediatrics Clinic. They will instruct you on what to do and when or if you need to come in for an appointment. We can then make sure that other children are not exposed. Remember to keep your children immunized.

Q: Can I make appointments for all my children to be seen on the same day?
A: We can normally accommodate up to two children in the examination room at one time. We ask that you bring another adult with you if you have more than two children with appointments on the same day. We require that all children in the Patient Waiting Area and in the Examination Room to be under adult supervision at all times. Please do not leave your children without adult supervision during your visit to the clinic. Please keep in mind that as your child matures in age they may require separate examinations from their brothers or sisters.

Q: What do I do if I cannot keep my appointment date or time?
A: We ask that you call as soon as you know that you will not be able to keep your appointment date or appointment time. Please provide as much advance notice as you can (at least 24 hours in advance, if possible.) If you do not call to cancel or reschedule, your appointment will be considered a “no-show” appointment. If you accumulate three “no-show” appointments, we may ask that you select another provider to care for your child’s health needs. It is very important that your child maintain their health and immunization status. You may also keep another child from obtaining an appointment if the schedule is full and you do not show for your visit.

Q: Can I get a copy of my child’s Shot Record, School Form, and/or Signed Medical Record?
A: We ask that you allow us time to make copies of your child’s immunization (shot) record, school form (medication at school form, day care form, etc.) or medical record. Please plan ahead and allow enough time for us to help meet your needs.

Our clinic policy is to have:

  1. Immunization record copies completed within 24-48 hours.
  2. School forms signed within 24-72 hours.
  3. Medical record copies to be completed within 10 working days.

All requests for immunization records and medical records must have a signed “Consent Form for Release of Medical Information” completed prior to your obtaining a copy of your child’s health information. We must make sure that your child’s health information is protected. Please remember that at times a school form may require your child to be seen prior to the physician signing the form. Always keep an immunization record for your child. Bring your child’s shot records with you to each visit. Keep them in a safe place!

Q: What do I do if I am running late for an appointment?
A: If you will be more than 15 minutes late for your child’s appointment we may ask that you reschedule. The physicians conduct clinic sessions during specific times each day. After clinic sessions the physicians attend to other health care needs of patients or may need to travel to a hospital to see their patients. You may call and reschedule if you will be more than 15 minutes late.

Q: What do I do if I need the nurse or doctor to call me back?
A: Our administrative staff will take a message and provide it to the nurse or doctor. It is not possible to contact the nurse or doctor during a clinic session. A message will be provided to the doctor or nurse to return your call. Normally your call will be returned within four hours. If you call late in the afternoon, your call may not be returned until the next day. Please allow time for the doctor or nurse to obtain your child’s record and research your question. If possible, provide a telephone number and time that you may be reached.

Q: How long will I be placed on hold when I call?
A: Our clinic staff answers approximately 150-200 telephone calls per day. We monitor our telephone calls and find the majority of calls are answered within three rings and all of our calls are answered within 10 rings. The number of telephone calls varies by the season (the cold and flu season has a higher volume) and the time of day (8 a.m. until 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.) We will make every effort to keep your “hold time” to the absolute minimum.

You can help us by:

  1. Having an alternate appointment date or time ready in case your first choice for appointment date is not available.
  2. Provide a number and time for telephone call backs so you do not need to call back for missed calls by the doctor or nurse.
  3. Please have someone who understands English assist you when making an appointment.
  4. Allow staff time to see patients, research your request and return your call in a timely manner.
  5. Use the early morning hours for sick children visits.

Q: How do I obtain a prescription refill for my child?
A: Call 817-735-2363 between the hours of 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. (Monday through Friday.) A message will be taken by the clinic staff and provided to the doctor. Provide the name of the medication, quantity of medication, doctor’s name, pharmacy name, and pharmacy number to the clinic staff who takes your telephone call. Routine prescriptions will normally be called to the pharmacy for refill within four hours. If you are requesting a special prescription (controlled medication for ADD/ADHD) please call the clinic to arrange a pick-up time for the prescription. Controlled medication for prescriptions require that you pick up the prescription in person with proof of identification. At times the doctor may not allow a prescription refill if the patient has not been seen for medical care within a specific time period. Please do not call for routine prescription refills after normal clinic hours.

Q: How do I get to see a specialist or get a referral to see a specialist?
A: Depending upon your insurance company requirements, you may need to see you Primary Care Physician (PCP) before you can make an appointment with a specialist for your child. We participate with over 200 different insurance companies. Each insurance company has different requirements on how to obtain specialist care. Some require a referral or a precertification form to be completed (a form that must go to your insurance company to have their approval before a specialist may see you.) Some require you to see a specific doctor or medical test facility. Our staff will assist you with obtaining the referral or precertification.

You can assist our staff by:

  1. Understanding your insurance policy requirements.
  2. Allowing time to complete the approval process by your insurance company.
  3. Making your own appointment if asked.
  4. Not making an appointment without permission from your PCP. A routine referral may take approximately two weeks (14 days) to complete. Please allow time for us to assist you with the referral process by making sure everything has been approved by your insurance company before your specialist appointment is made.

Q: Why did that patient get called to be seen before I did?
A: The Pediatric Clinic will have four or more providers seeing patients each day. Each provider’s schedule of patients is different and patient waiting times will also vary. We also see patients in appointment time order. For example patients who have appointments at 10 a.m. are seen before patients who have appointments at 10:30 am.

Q: How long do I wait before my child is seen?
A: The Pediatric Clinic doctors, physician assistants, nursing staff, and administrative staff make every effort to keep patient waiting times to a minimum. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time to check-in and complete the necessary paperwork. The front desk staff will verify your insurance and other information to make sure it is correct and current. Once this is completed, your chart is provided to the nursing staff for them to obtain and record information on your child. Your physician will then see you in the exam room according to the appointment schedule. Each provider always gives each patient as much time as the patient and parent need to take care of their medical needs. You and your child will also be given as much time as necessary to make sure you receive quality medical care. At times, schedules will run behind. For example: A child may need to be seen by the doctor for asthma, but they may also require a breathing treatment to help them. If you are unable to wait, you may reschedule your appointment for another date.

Q: Why do you always ask about my insurance or address information on each visit?
A: During each visit the staff verifies that your insurance and address information is correct. If there is a change to your insurance policy we may be able to inform you so that you can contact your insurance company to have any medical coverage errors corrected. This may avoid you having to pay for services that are not covered by your insurance plan. For example some insurance companies may pay only a percentage for a visit or not cover a “well child appointment” after the child is six years of age. It is the parent’s responsibility to contact their insurance company for corrections to avoid you having to pay. We also ask that all co-payments or deductibles be paid at each visit. Address and telephone information is important if the doctor or nursing staff must call you about test results or to further explain your child’s treatment. You can help us by notifying us of changes and by having your share of any payments ready during the check-in process. We accept cash, checks (with proper identification), and most major credit cards.

Q: What if I do not have medical insurance or I am applying for medical insurance?
A: We will work out a payment plan if you do not have medical insurance on the date of your visit. Your child’s medical insurance must be in effect on the day of your visit for us to bill your insurance company. Any current or outstanding balance is due on the day of your visit. If you are unable to pay the entire balance our staff will work out a payment plan with you to make sure the balance is paid in a timely manner. If you obtain medical coverage at a later date we may be able to “re-bill” your insurance company (if you have MEDICAID) or you may be able to contact your insurance company for a refund for the amount you have paid.

Q: What is a PCP?
A: A Primary Care Physician (PCP) is the doctor who either provides all of your child’s medical care or arranges for a specialist to treat your child. You normally select a PCP when you select your health insurance company (check your insurance coverage requirements). At times, insurance plans may choose a PCP for you if you do not select one.

Insurance companies also vary on how long a newborn child has until they must be added to your insurance policy. For example, some insurance companies cover infants for 30 days from birth until they must be enrolled in the insurance plan; for others, it is 90 days. If you do not enroll your infant within these times you may be responsible for payment. You are responsible for knowing who your children’s PCP is according to your insurance company. Your insurance plan may require you to pay for non-emergency medical care for a doctor other than your PCP. Our clinic has agreements with your health insurance company so you may see any of our Doctors or Physician Assistants (if you have selected one of our Pediatric Clinic Physicians as your child’s PCP.) If one of our doctors is not your child’s PCP, we will ask that you make payment for the medical care received or reschedule your child’s appointment until the PCP is changed to one of our doctors.

Q: What are the ages of the children seen in your Pediatric Clinic?
A: Our Pediatric Clinic accepts new patients from the age of birth to young adults who have not yet reached their 17th birthday.

Q: Who can bring my child in for medical care?
A: Parents or legal guardians are the only persons who can consent for routine treatment for your child. Grandparents, siblings, or day care providers cannot bring children in for routine medical appointments unless the parent or guardian has provided written consent for them to do so. The clinic also recognizes that either parent of a child may consent for treatment of the child unless a written court order states otherwise. We must make sure that your child’s medical information is kept confidential and the proper legal representative provides consent.

Q: What hospital does your clinic use for sick children?
A: The physicians see child patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

This page was last modified on October 25, 2017