Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I contact/speak with my practitioner or medical assistant?
Our staff tries to be available to you as much as possible, but the patients being seen at the clinic on any given day take up most of their time. Our practitioners and medical assistants see patients throughout the day and are not available to answer the phone on a regular basis. Preparation prior to your appointment (such as checking on prescription refills needed) and communication at the time of your appointment is your #1 way to communicate with your practitioner and MA. If something comes up and you cannot make an appointment, the #2 most effective way to communicate is through the patient portal.
What do I do if I need to see my Primary Care Provider, but cannot get into see them in a timely manner?
If you cannot get in with your primary practitioner and it is a life threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to the emergency room.
If, however, it is not life threatening but still urgent please come into our Urgent CARE (see hours and locations here), or call us (575-538-2981 option 1) to see which practitioners have appointments available that day.
We are a group practice and one of the benefits is that any of our practitioners can see your primary care practitioner’s notes, your med list, allergies, etc. so that your healthcare is not interrupted. We always have openings on a daily basis and all or our practitioners agree that it is better for you to be seen in a timely manner by someone else in the practice, rather than wait until your regular practitioner is available.
What can I do if I need help after hours?
Call us at any time, if you need us, and our answering service will get in touch with the doctor on call.
How can I submit an official commendation or complaint?
We appreciate the feedback our patients give us, good or bad. To submit a commendation or complaint, please write out a detailed description of the events and parties involved, seal it in an envelope, address it to our Clinical Operations Officer, Will Jansen, and drop it off at one of our locations or mail it to 1600 East 32nd Street, Silver City, NM 88061. You may also pick up a complaint form at any of our locations. We do strive to constantly improve.
What is the best way to communicate to my provider?
The most efficient way to communicate to your practitioner is through the patient portal. Phone calls are hard to manage on very busy schedules and staff cannot track phone calls. Dropping in is a hassle for you and can be disruptive to the daily schedule, thus putting the practitioner behind and/or causing more delay for other peoples’ needs. If you are having a very hard time communicating on a regular basis with your practitioner and/or medical assistant, please reach out to our management team (link here).
Can I directly talk to my provider outside the visit?
It is not always possible to speak with your provider outside your visit, especially in person or on the phone. If you really want to get in touch with them, you should make an appointment or try communicating to them through the patient portal. If this is urgent, please make an appointment with another provider or come into our Urgent CARE.
Why is my pharmacy saying they cannot get in touch with you?
Unfortunately there can be breakdowns in communication and technical challenges between the pharmacy and medical clinics. We try to relieve these breakdowns quickly to insure that our patients get medications in a timely manner. You should tell your pharmacist that any refill request should ALWAYS be sent electronically, never by phone or fax.
Why haven’t I gotten my refill?
It can take up to 3 days to get some prescriptions refilled. We encourage you to request a refill at least a week before you are out of your medication. If you forget to ask for the refill at your visit, request a refill through your pharmacy or through our patient portal.
Why did my refill get denied?
A practitioner may deny refilling your prescription if they have not seen you in the past three months to properly assess your healthcare needs. Another possible reason could be that the prescription was intended to be used only temporarily or continued use is not indicated. Also, if the prescription was written by a practitioner outside of this practice, it would not be proper for us to refill another’s prescription. If you still have questions, please ask at your next appointment or send your practitioner a message through our patient portal.
What is the best method for me to request a refill in order to receive it in a timely manner?
First request a refill with your pharmacy. If you are out of refills, you should make an appointment with your practitioner. You can also request a refill directly from your practitioner by sending them a message through our patient portal.
What options do I have if my medications are too expensive?
The insurances change what medications they cover throughout the year, but we strive to find the medication that works with your budget. Let your practitioner know, if the medication they prescribed is too expensive or not covered, and we will be happy to find a different brand! Also, the MAP (Medication Assistance Program meets at our 32nd Street office on Wednesday mornings and has assisted many patients in getting medications for free over the last 20 years.
How often do I need to make an appointment with my doctor to keep getting my prescriptions renewed?
It is our policy that you must be seen at least once a year by the prescribing practitioner of the medications you want filled. If it is a controlled substance, you will probably need to be seen at least every three months. Some medications are filled for less than a years’ worth and, in that case, you need to see your practitioner before those refills run out. You can find how many refills you have left by looking at the bottom of the label of your prescription bottle. If the prescribing practitioner of this medication has not seen you in a while, they may refuse to fill your medication. This also applies if you switched practitioners. If you switched practitioners, or saw someone else, then your preferred practitioner needs to write a script for that medication.
What is your refill prescription policy?
Our prescription refill policy requests that you allow 3 days for a refill approval.
What is your narcotic prescription policy?
If you are being prescribed narcotics or other controlled substances on a regular basis, we require you to sign a narcotic contract. This states that you will take only the narcotics we prescribe for you, and you will not redistribute these medications or take recreational drugs. We may require you to pass a drug screening before giving a medication script and you must have an appointment once a month before getting the next month’s refill. If you are unable to make your monthly appointment (this must be communicated and agreed upon at your most previous appointment), you may request your refill from your practitioner a week in advance, but the pharmacy will not fill the script before the exact renewal date. (This is in accordance with the state and federal laws regarding narcotic medications.)
Why do I have a prescription that I don’t need?
Please double check the medications you receive from the pharmacy before you check out. Mistakes can happen, especially if you have multiple practitioners. Also, make sure you are familiar with all your meds, know what each is for, and keep a list of meds in your purse or wallet. It is also good practice to bring all of your meds in when you have an appointment.
What insurance do you accept?
We are contracted most major local insurance companies. However, we will file to most insurance carriers, even though we may be out of network. It is best to call the office and ask regarding your specific insurance.
What does Out of Network mean?
Out of network means that our office does not have a contract with the insurance carrier. While we will still see you if your insurance is out of network, it could mean your copays/coinsurance/deductible can be higher with out of network benefits. If your insurance does not have out of network benefits, they may put the total balance to patient. It is best to call your insurance carrier to find out all the policy details. It is impossible for us to know the policies of the many hundreds of insurances out there.
Why did my insurance deny for out of network?
We are contracted with several insurance carriers, but there are some insurance carriers that consider us out of network. Depending on your insurance, your copays/coinsurance/deductible can be higher with out of network benefits. If your insurance does not have out of network benefits they may put the total balance to patient. It is best to call your insurance carrier to find out all the policy details.
Do you offer financial assistance?
We offer several financial assistant options. We can easily set up 0% interest payment plans, accept applications for a sliding fee schedule, and/or a one-time 40% cash discount. We also offer a Medication Assistant Program on Wednesdays where a volunteer can help find you an affordable way to get your medications. For more information click here. We see all patients, regardless of insurance or lack thereof.
I have a high balance, can I make payment arrangements?
Yes, the billing office is happy to make payment arrangements with you. Just give our office a call 575-538-2981 Option #4
What is the Patient Portal and how do I get set up?
The patient portal is an online service that allows you to request refills and appointments, send messages to your practitioner or other SHC staff, pay a bill, request medical records, see lab results, see vitals, upload your own healthcare data, send health information to others, receive educational material, and update your personal data.
WE STONGLY URGE ALL OF OUR PATIENTS TO REGISTER FOR AND USE THE PATIENT PORTAL. THIS FACILITATES COMMUNICATION IMMENSELY.
Any of our front desk personnel or phone operators can sign you up for the portal. Simply request access and provide your email address. You will receive an email invitation to join our portal. Follow the instructions to create an account.
How do I send a message to my provider through the patient portal?
While logged into the patient portal, choose the option on the top bar to “My Messages”. Click on the blue “+New” button to create a new message. Choose your primary care practitioner in the “TO” section and the topic of the message. Write your message and press send.
How do I get help with my Patient Portal?
Our IT staff is available, if you need any help signing up or maneuvering through the portal. Call our main line 575-538-2981, choose option 0, and request the IT department.
How do I request a refill on my prescription through your patient portal?
While logged into the patient portal choose the option on the top bar “My Messages”. Click on the blue “+New” button to create a new message. Choose your primary care practitioner in the “TO” section and “ask a medical question” for the type of message. In the message include the medication name and dosage, press send.
When should I go to Urgent CARE vs. a PCP?
Your primary care practitioner is here for your regular checkups and preventative care. If something happens and you need immediate care, it is natural to want to see your primary care practitioner. Sometimes this is not possible. This is when you should go to Urgent CARE. A good example of when to go to Urgent CARE is if you think you are having a mild allergic reaction to a new medication (such as breaking out in hives), or if you have a new open wound, or think you are getting sick.
When should I go to the Emergency room vs. Urgent CARE?
Urgent CARE is good for a lot of unexpected and urgent situations, but it is not appropriate for anything life threatening. If you think you are having a stroke or heart attack, you need to go to the ER. If you have a severe bone fracture that needs more than casting (a bone sticking out or misplaced), or a very deep laceration that is bleeding profusely, you need to go to the ER.
If, however, you are sick (flu, cold, and virus), or have a mild wound or fracture, then come to Urgent CARE and keep it “all in the family”; our Urgent CARE practitioners can have immediate access to your health records and direct communication with your primary care practitioner.
Who is covering for my provider while they are out?
Your practitioner will still be managing requests for prescription refills or have some other practitioner in the practice delegated to cover to insure a timely response.
How do I know who is accepting new patients?
We try to keep our practitioner directory on our website up-to-date with who is accepting new patients, but you can also call our scheduling department (575-538-2981 option 1) to ask.
How can I know more about what provider is right for me?
Feel free to browse our practitioner directory on our website, but you can also question our schedulers.
How do I get my lab results?
You can request your lab results through the patient portal or at Medical Records in our Main Clinic on 32nd Street, Silver City. Some practitioners prefer to go over your results in person at an appointment, communicate the results through the Patient Portal (which also allows the actual results to be attached to the communication—again a big advantage of the Patient Portal) or through a letter in the mail. Ask your practitioner at your visit how you can expect your results.