Kids + Behind the Scenes
Ever wonder what happens when you visit Kids Plus? Before you walk through the door? When you’re at the Front Desk? While you’re waiting in the exam room? Let’s go step-by-step, take a look behind the scenes, and find out…
Before You Arrive
Up to a week in advance, our Clinical Care Coordinators (CCCs) start preparing for your visit. All of our Providers have a CCC assigned to them and their patients. CCCs review schedules, make sure your charts are up-to-date, and check to see that we’ve received any outstanding reports such as lab results, specialist visits, or emergency room or hospital discharge summaries. When the CCCs have finished their job, we know how long to allot for your appointment time, and your Provider can review your complete chart and history before you even walk in the door.
Our Front Office Associates in each office review our schedules several days in advance, then work to verify insurance and note any changes from previous visits. (If they identify these things ahead of time, it saves you time at Check-In!) They will also call to remind you of your appointment time and place.
At the Front Desk
So your appointment day is here, and you arrive at one of our offices. Our Front Office Associates get any updated information, collect forms and co-pays, and get you checked into our computer system. They verify your contact info every visit, just to make sure we can get in touch with you if we need to — you might be surprised how often phone numbers and email addresses change — and they will also ask to see your insurance card, because insurances can also change quite frequently, especially the past couple of years.
In the Reception Area
While you’re waiting in our reception area, our Medical Assistants (MAs) and Providers are busy seeing other patients and preparing the exam room in which you will be soon. Because we have multiple Providers seeing patients at one time, you may not be called back into an exam room in the order that you arrived or were checked in. We know that can be frustrating sometimes, but if someone goes back before you in that situation, they’re seeing a different Provider who’s running on a different schedule.
We try, of course, to be as fast and efficient as possible. But we can’t always predict when other concerns or problems or even emergencies will arise, and we always want to give every one of our patients as much time as we need to make the best possible assessment, provide the best possible care, and, of course, answer all your questions and concerns. We do our best to let you know when a Provider is running behind, but please feel free to ask for an update if it seems like you’ve been waiting for a long time.
In the Exam Room With an MA
Once your child is brought back to the Exam Room, one of our MAs will get a complete set of vital signs (height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure), and ask some necessary medical history questions — which allows your Provider, especially in the case of a sick visit, to get a quick picture of what’s going on before entering the room. This is all important information for the provider that helps guide the treatment. (Sometimes your Provider will ask similar questions, but that’s because they’re trying to pinpoint things just a little more clearly.)
All of our MAs have medical training, so they’re prepared to spot any warning signs or “red flags” that come up when taking vitals and history. If they see a sign for concern — if, say, a child who came in for cough and cold symptoms is wheezing and breathing rapidly — they’ll move quickly to get an available Provider into the room right away. Situations like this are one reason you may sometimes have a longer-than-usual wait; we’ll skip over appointment order if it’s necessary to safeguard the health and safety of one of our patients.
Once all of your information has been gathered, the MA will leave the exam room and let your Provider know you’re ready to be seen.
In the Exam Room With a Provider
Now it’s your turn!
Once your Provider reviews the history and asks if you have any other questions or concerns, they begin their exam. After the exam, once your Provider has finished the Well Visit or made a diagnosis and recommended treatment for a Sick Visit, your child may need immunizations, testing, or treatments in the office. If that’s the case, your Provider alerts your MA, who will prepare — and then deliver — whatever you need to complete your appointment.
Once your exam and treatment are complete, you head back to the front office to check out. This is the perfect time to make your next appointment, pick up any forms you need to have completed, and any prescriptions or referrals that have been printed for you. This is also the time, for patients who have a balance from the visit and/or pay out of pocket, to make their payments.
After You Leave
Once you walk out the door, we still haven’t completed your visit; a few important things are still happening inside our offices.
First, your Provider completes what’s called an Office Encounter by putting all the notes and documentation into your chart. Once the visit notes are complete, you can see a summary of them in your Patient Portal account. (Though they’re usually available by the end of the day, notes can sometimes take up to 2 or 3 days to appear on the Portal.)
Once the office notes have been completed, they’re reviewed by our Posters — the members of our staff who attach charges to bills and make sure they’re correct, before our Billers submit them to your insurance company.
Once the bill has been submitted to your insurance company, our Billers follow the charges and update your account after payment is received. We may not know until then whether there are certain charges or parts of your bill that your individual insurance plan did or didn’t cover. If there’s a balance due, our Billers will automatically charge your account if you’ve signed up for Kids + AutoPay, or prepare and send a bill if you’re still receiving paper statements.
When You Call With a Concern
There’s one more important group of people you may not encounter in the office, but with whom you frequently speak on the phone: our fabulous Triage staff. They work as a team to answer all phone calls, questions, and concerns about medical issues. They’re able to answer many of these questions themselves, but for others, they’ll consult with one of our Providers to get you the best possible care advice.
All of our Triage staff have medical training, so they’re the only ones besides our Providers who can make sick appointments or, if necessary, refer you to the Emergency Room. All the care advice they discuss with you is recorded into your electronic medical record and reviewed by a Provider. Because of those electronic medical records, we can access your information and treat you with the exact same great care at all three of our offices, or with anyone you talk to on the phone.
So Now You Know
That’s a look behind the scenes of what happens before, during, and after your visit to Kids Plus. We hope it gives you some idea of all the things that happen, and of all the people who work together, to get you through your visit, and to keep your precious children as healthy and happy as we can.
If you want to know more, or if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the office anytime!