Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between MD vs. DO? top
There are two ways to achieve the title of doctor and practice medicine. One can become a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO). Both licenses allow one to practice medicine and have equally rigorous testing. The differences between an MD and a DO lie primarily in philosophy on how to practice medicine.
Both MDs and DOs tend to begin training by getting a four-year undergraduate degree, either in pre-med, or in a related science field. Each type of doctor will then complete four years of training before taking examinations that will result in licensure. Either type of doctor may then choose to specialize in a particular field and study for two to six more years. The doctor who specializes will then take further examinations to be licensed by the board of his or her specialty.
In most cases, the four years of medical school are quite similar. However the DO receives training in the muscular and skeletal system, and also in muscular and skeletal manipulation. A doctor who is a DO tends to evaluate a person’s health in terms of viewing the body as a complex related network. Any disease affects the whole body. The MD, conversely, may evaluate the disease in terms of how it affects certain parts of the body only.
What does “Board Certification” mean? top
After a doctor completes his or her training in Dermatology, a board exam is taken. This is a way for the AAD to standardize information to assure that the Dermatologist has a basic understanding of all diseases of the skin, hair, and nails and is competent to practice.
What should I bring to my appointment? top
• The Patient Questionnaire may be printed and brought in, or completed in the office.
• Be sure and bring your photo identification and insurance card(s) with you to the appointment. We accept most insurances, but it is important for members to verify network participation prior to making an appointment.
• Patients are responsible for determining which laboratories participate with their insurance plans in regards to pathology specimens, cultures, and bloodwork.
• Make a list of your medications. Write down the name of the medication, the number of milligrams that you take, and how often you take it. Also, be sure and include any vitamins or herbal supplements that you take.
Why do I have to bring a photo ID? top
We need to know you are who you say you are. Federal law (HIPAA) mandates that we only give information to the patient himself or the legal guardian if called for. In order to protect the safety of your personal health information, the federal government demands and we support the need for not only privacy, but proper identification in the first place. Nothing says that better than a government-issued photo ID. In today’s world, everyone is worried about identity theft. But that can work two ways – someone could steal your identity, but someone else could also pretend to be you without any identification.
Why are you asking for my SSN? top
Many insurance companies no longer use the Social Security number as a primary identifier and no longer print it on their ID cards. So why would a doctor ask for the Social Security number if its already provided with the insurance information? The SSN is often needed when coordinating benefits among different insurance carriers.
Some patients have coverage from both their own job and their spouse’s employer. In those situations, SSNs are still used to figure out what part of the claim each carrier should pay. Your specific insurance company ID number means nothing to other health insurance companies, but they can identify you through your SSN. In addition, all Medicare claims are based on a patient’s SSN.
If you need a simple procedure, at a small office, only one insurance company is involved, and there’s no Medicare claim, your insurance ID number may be enough. Just remember, if there’s any sort of problem with processing the claim, the lack of a Social Security number could slow down reimbursement.
What about fees and insurance? top
Fees – We ask for payment at the time of office visit. A copay is the fixed amount of payment due at the time of the visit as prearranged by your insurance company. The required copay is usually located on your insurance card or within your insurance contract and varies depending on the type of insurance you have. Remaining charges will be billed to your insurance carrier as a courtesy to you. If your insurance carrier does not cover the service or rejects the remaining balance, you will be responsible for this balance.
Pathologic Examination Fees – Most dermatology procedures, including excisions and biopsies involve two separate components—the actual procedure performed by the Dermatologist, and examination of the tissue removed by a Pathologist. The Pathologist/Pathology corporation bills separately for their services.
Information for patients with no insurance – The initial office fee includes establishing a new medical administrative record; and services rendered on the first visit may vary. However, our basic charge is $110 – $135 for routine initial visits. There may be additional charges for procedures and testing.
We currently accept insurance from the following providers:
- AARP Secondary
- Alignment BCBS
- BCBS – Out of State
- Empire Plan
- Florida Blue
- Golden Rule
- United Healthcare
- Web TPA
How does a physician decide how much to bill a patient for a visit or procedure? top
Doctor’s charges are based on the annual Medicare fee and payment schedule released and set by the federal government. Each visit and procedure has a numeric identifying code. Each code has a charge associated with it.
Can the doctor lower charges for a patient, or eliminate the copay? top
According to the federal government, it is unlawful for a doctor to do this. If you have financial difficulties or extenuating circumstances, we invite you to discuss the problem so that payment options can be made.
How often should I follow up with the doctor if I have a history of skin cancer? top
Patients with a history of skin cancer should follow up every 3-4 months after the diagnosis for the first year and approximately every 6 months thereafter, depending on the specific diagnosis.