1. What are your office hours?
Scheduled appointments are: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. for well and sick care.
Scheduled appointments for sick patients only on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Saturday hours are not available from Memorial Day weekend through the 1st Saturday prior to the 1st week of school.
The office doors open at 8:20 a.m. Monday thru Saturday to expedite check-in.
Lunch: We close the office and turn the phones over to our answering service from 12 noon to 1:20 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
The office doors re-open at 1:20 p.m. after lunch.
The phones are answered from 8:20 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:20 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
2. How do I make an appointment?
Our schedulers are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 12 noon and again from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. When you call 770-461-4126, you will need to have the insurance card for the child you are making the appointment for, as well as any changes in your address and /or phone available. For a well or physical appointment, you will be offered the first available time and date. This is often with one of our excellent Nurse Practitioners. If you prefer to see a physician, please tell the scheduler as we are unable to switch providers when you check-in. We also now offer online scheduling for sick visits thru our patient portal. Please register for the patient portal to see real time availability.
3. Do you make appointment reminder calls?
If you make the appointment while you are here in the office you will be offered an appointment reminder card. We also make electronic confirmation calls or text messages one to two days prior to the appointment, to the number you have given to us. Most of our calls end up on answering machines, so please don't rely on this. Please remember your child's appointment and to arrive on time or call to cancel in the appropriate time so we can give the appointment to another child (see the ABC Pediatrics No Show Policy).
4. How do I cancel an appointment?
All Well or Physical appointments need to cancel 24 hours prior to avoid the $50.00 no show penalty fee. All Sick and Recheck/Follow-up appointments need to be cancelled or rescheduled 1 hour prior to avoid the $30.00 penalty fee.
You may call the office during regular hours at 770-461-4126 to cancel and reschedule. If you need to call us prior to the office opening, in the evening, or on the weekend, please call the answering service to cancel at 678-512-0396. Give them the child's name and date and time of the appointment to avoid the no-show fee. (see the ABC Pediatrics No Show Policy).
5. Is there anyone to answer my questions during the day?
We no longer have a full-time Telephone Advice Nurse. Most major insurance companies offer 24 hour nurse advice-(see the phone number on the back of your child's insurance card-and many use Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Phone Nurses). When you call, our receptionist can tell you if the RN phone nurse is working that day. The receptionist will ask you to leave a voice mail for the RN.
Please DO NOT call if it is an emergency- call 911, or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
If the problem is urgent, say so to the receptionist and the message will be marked "Urgent". Non-Urgent Calls received after 3:00 p.m. may receive a call back the next business day. For Urgent calls before the office opens in the morning, during lunch, after 4:45 p.m. or on weekends or holidays, please call our answering service at 678-512-0396.
6. Who do I talk to at night or on weekends?
Evenings, weekends, and holidays, we instruct our answering service to send patient query calls to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Triage Phone Nurse. Our physicians and our nurse practitioners take turns being on back-up call. If you have an urgent concern that cannot wait until regular business hours, you can reach us by calling the answering service at 678-512-0396 . In a non-life threatening urgent situation, tell the answering service, "This is Urgent, please page the on-call provider", and the ABC Pediatrics provider on call will be contacted. He/she will call you back, usually in less than twenty minutes.
7. If I need to be seen after hours, where will you send me and how does that work?
First, contact the provider on call via the answering service. We will discuss your child's symptoms with you, along with home management options that might save you a trip to the emergency room. In the event that things cannot be managed at home, we will direct you to one of the local emergency rooms.
8. Which provider will I see?
All our physicians and our nurse practitioners share all our patients, so you may not see the same provider at each visit. We find that this allows you to get earlier appointments and actually facilitates continuity of care, because more than one provider will be familiar with your child. Also, it is nice for you (and us) to put a face to a name during evening phone calls.
9. Who will see my newborn in the hospital?
Our providers do not make hospital visits. Therefore, the on-call or staff pediatrician at each hospital will do the initial examination of your newborn. Call our office as soon as you arrive home to schedule your baby's first office visit at ABC Pediatrics - usually 3 to 6 days after birth.
10. Which hospital do you recommend that we take our child to?
If your child's illness is more severe than we think the staffs at the local hospitals can handle, we have associate privileges and will refer you to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, where your child would be cared for by the staff pediatricians.
11. What labs or other tests do you do in the office?
We can do basic urine screens, strep tests, mono tests, flu tests, and complete blood counts red blood cells (anemia) and white blood cells (infections). In addition, we are able to collect and send out cultures on blood, urine, and throat swabs, as well as collecting blood for newborn MDT tests and lead screens. For more involved blood tests, we will use the outpatient labs at Piedmont Fayette Hospital or Southern Regional Medical Center. Some insurance companies require that your child only go to Quest or LabCorp Outpatient Laboratories. Each parent needs to be familiar with the requirements of their individual insurance plan.
12. What is your philosophy on breastfeeding vs bottle feeding?
We encourage all mothers to breast feed. Even if you only breast feed one day, your baby will receive benefit. If you choose to breast feed, then make sure you inform the labor and delivery staff that you want to breast feed in the delivery room. This is often when your baby will be most alert and ready to feed for that first day. We have many patients who, for various reasons, are on baby formula. There are some very good baby formulas available, and we will work with you to determine which is best for your baby.
13. What is your opinion on circumcision?
Whether or not to have this procedure done is usually a religious or cultural decision. There may be some evidence that circumcision helps avoid some diseases in adulthood, but this is not universally supported. Circumcision may be performed in our office by some of our providers or in the hospital prior to discharge by the obstetrician or in our office up to four weeks of age.
14. How long is the waiting room time?
Great question! This depends on you arriving on time! as well as time of year (winter is busier), time of day (after-school hours are busier), well vs sick, number of providers (is someone on vacation?), and severity of illness (have we gotten backed up giving three different patients breathing treatments or admitting children to the hospital?). We feel we have very reasonable wait times, typically 10 to 25 minutes. Our computer system shows us exactly how many minutes everyone has been sitting in the lobby, so it keeps us on our toes, while we strive to minimize your waiting. Also, it saves a lot of time in the exam room if you complete any required questionnaires on the patient portal prior to your appointment. If you are going to be late, please call us so we can attempt to reschedule you. If you arrive late you will have to wait to be worked into the schedule later.
15. Do you call in prescriptions?
Our nurse can fax or call in refills on certain medications, such as those for allergies or asthma. Refills may be requested three ways: having your pharmacy fax us a refill request (this is the fastest way), by online request from our patient portal, or by leaving a voice mail on our prescription refill line which has a turnaround time of two business days. See our Prescription Refill Policy.
16. What insurance plans do you accept?
We accept most major plans and have made available a list of insurances we accept. Or you may call our office, for confirmation. We also accept Medicaid, Wellcare, Peachstate, CareSource and Amerigroup patients at this time.
Also, we deal with literally hundreds of different insurance policies. It is your responsibility to know what your policy covers and what it does not. Also the amount of your copay, deductible, co-insurance and which labs are in network for your policy.
17. What is the immunization schedule?
We follow the immunization schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children and adolescents. The schedules can also be found on our website. You don't need to memorize this complicated schedule. At each checkup, we will let you know which vaccines will be due at your next visit.
18. What is your philosophy on immunizations?
We believe that immunizations are beneficial to your child's health and a critical protection for the other children in our community! The United States Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control have a very meticulous regimen for approving vaccines, and we feel that they have approved vaccines which are safe, effective, and protect both our children and others in our community from many serious diseases.
Vaccines, like any medicine, have potential side effects; however, we feel that the benefits of disease prevention far outweigh the risks of side effects. We encourage parents to be informed by reading reliable information about vaccines. (Not all information on the Internet is reliable). Some links you may find useful include: www.cdc.gov or www.aap.org or www.immunizationinfo.org.
19. What is your philosophy on Antibiotics?
Antibiotics can be helpful to eradicate certain bacterial infections, such as strep throat and pneumonia. Because of inappropriate use of antibiotics through the years, there is growing resistance to antibiotics among certain types of bacteria. After appropriate examination and laboratory evaluation, if we feel your child needs an antibiotic, we will work with you to find one that is both appropriate and effective (and hopefully tastes good). We follow the recommended dosing and administration guidelines.
There are many symptoms which may prompt you to inquire about the need for an antibiotic: earache, burning with urination, green nasal discharge, red sore throat, deep cough. Remember, these symptoms may reflect either viral or bacterial disease processes. They require an examination, and often laboratory or x-ray tests, to determine if an antibiotic is actually required. We do not phone in antibiotics without seeing your child.
20. What do I do after my baby is born? When is our first visit?
In this era of early hospital discharge of newborns, we recommend seeing most babies in the first week. The physician who sees your baby in the hospital should let you know how soon to come in to the office. All babies receive a metabolic disease test (called MDT or PKU) prior to hospital discharge. If this test is performed before your baby is 24 hours old, we will repeat this test at that first visit. Remember, even if you have a scheduled normal newborn visit, if your baby shows signs of jaundice or poor feeding prior to that visit, please schedule a sick appointment as soon as possible.
21. How long do I have to wait for an appointment?
For sick visits, we do our best to see you the same day you call. Occasionally in the winter, we will need to schedule you the next day. Well appointments are scheduled with a specific provider, and the wait time varies per provider, usually anywhere from two to six weeks. Our nurse practitioners usually have openings within one to two weeks, which is great for those "emergency" physicals for sports or camp.