VCS Blog

How to Be a Prepared Virginia Cardiovascular Patient

Being a prepared patient will help your doctor diagnose and treat you more accurately; and it will help you get the most out of your visit as well.

Before scheduling an appointment make sure you understand how your insurance works and what it pays for, including what your deductible and co-pay are. 

You should also get a referral slip from your family doctor prior to scheduling an appointment with a specialist. Most insurance now requires a formal referral from your family doctor to cover your visit and possibly your co-pay. Without that referral you may have to pay for your visit in full, even if you are covered. Additionally, you may have to reschedule your appointment if you do not have your referral for your visit.

Arriving early can be very beneficial, as it allows you additional time to fill out any forms we need. Fill out a medical information release form if you haven’t already. This form designates who you give permission to have access to your medical information, test results or health status.

Most doctors now use what’s called a “patient portal,” which gives you Internet access to your files, appointment dates, test results and other information. Your doctor will need a valid and current email for you to be able to access the patient portal after your visit to get test results and other information. If you don’t have email, or don’t have Internet access you can designate a family member to be your delegate.

You should also have an understanding of why you’re coming to VCS. If your family doctor told you to make an appointment, ask them why specifically they’re referring you. Do they want you to have a specific test, or get a second opinion or have some blood workups done? Knowing what brings you to the office will help you have a smooth experience at our office.

Things To Bring To Your First Visit

If this is your first visit to Virginia Cardiovascular Specialists, make sure you bring the following things:

  • An up-to-date insurance card
  • A signed referral slip or form
  • Driver’s license (Identification purposes)
  • Completed paperwork given to you prior to the visit
  • Your co-pay
  • Signed medical releases
  • HIPAA name and number of someone who can access your health information or pick up any medications you may need
  • A current list of all your medications including the dosage, the strength, when and how you take them. If you don’t have a current list, or you don’t know the dosage, bring in the actual bottles. This list should include any vitamins or alternative treatments you may be taking, such as home remedies, holistic medicines, herbs and over-the-counter preparations. You should also include a list of medications you have recently been on, even if you are no longer taking them.
  • A list of any past procedures or surgeries you had. What was the procedure? When did you have it? Were there any problems or complications?
  • Know your family medical history and background. Did relatives have any diseases, cancer, or heart problems? Is there a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other condition in your family?
  • What past and current illnesses are you suffering from or have you been recently diagnosed with? This can include allergies, bronchitis, sleep apnea, hepatitis, and any disease or illness you have been treated for in the past.
  • Do you smoke? Do you drink a lot of caffeine? Do you drink one or more glasses of alcohol a day? A week? Do you exercise? Do you work night shifts or other shift work? All these questions may seem trivial to you, but it’s a huge help for your doctor.
  • A written list of questions you have for your doctor.

Questions You May Want to Ask Your Doctor

Having your questions written down before you go into your appointment will make your appointment will run smoother and ensure you don’t forget to ask the doctor something you really want to know. Your questions may include:

  • What did you find, and what do I need to know about it?
  • Where can I find out more about my diagnosis?
  • What are the side effects of what you’re prescribing?
  • Do I need to have blood work or other tests on a routine basis?
  • Can I exercise, or should I exercise? What kind of exercise is safe for me to do?
  • What screenings or checkups should I have every year and how often?
  • Are there any risk modifications I need to take?

Compiling this information should only take you a few moments before you visit our office, but it’s critical for getting the most accurate testing and diagnosis, as well as the most out of your doctor’s visit.

For more information on our patient portal, or to find out if you have everything you need for your first visit, contact us today.

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Published June 14, 2019

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