What Do Well Child Visits Include?:
Each Well Child Visit includes a full detailed history, developmental assessment, nutritional assessment, and physical exam, plus any age-appropriate screens and vaccines if desired. Vaccines, and hearing and vision testing carry additional fees.
Is it Difficult to Schedule Appointments?
Ideally, you’ll schedule your Well Child Visits in advance by phone or email. This way we can ensure that you see your own chosen physician at the most convenient time for your family. Most of our families will schedule their child’s next checkup at the end of their visit.
We always reserve a space for you for same-day Sick Visits. This appointment will be with your regular doctor or one of our other doctors if the timing is more convenient for you. For these appointments it is always best to call first thing in the morning when you are able.
How Does Your After Hour Care Work?:
When you call our office during the day, you will find that a real live person will answer the phone! If you happen to call during lunch or after hours, you will reach our answering machine, which will connect you directly to us. This eliminates answering services and generic nurse triage systems. Please listen carefully to the message, as the instructions change from day to day:
During the lunch hour, you may either leave a message for us to return after the hour is over (our phones are on lunch but we’re still here!), or you may ring through for calls that need immediate attention.
In the evenings and on weekends, you also have options: If you would like to leave a message for a doctor or for the office staff to be returned when the office reopens, you will be instructed to press 0. Sometimes you may want to leave a message for a doctor to return your call, although it is not an emergency. In this case you should also press 0. We check this voicemail box approximately every hour or two until 10 PM (including weekends).
If you are concerned that you may be dealing with an emergency situation, then the answering machine will direct you to press a different number, and you will leave a message in a different voicemail box. As soon as you hang up, our answering system pages whichever doctor is on call. This is true at any hour of the day or night.
The three doctors in our office rotate being on call at night and on the weekends. If you feel that it is imperative to speak with your own doctor regarding an urgent matter, we can usually make that happen. For instance, if your child has a chronic issue that is being closely monitored by your primary doctor, it may be most beneficial to speak directly with him/her. All of the doctors who return calls know that it is always okay to contact the primary doctor even if that person is not officially on call.
Do You Offer Housecalls?:
House calls may be requested for the first few days of life, the two week Well Child Visit, or for those who just prefer a home setting to an office one. Please inquire for specific charges.
Will You Delay Vaccines?:
Vaccination should be an educated decision made by the family under the guidance and support of a trusted physician. Each of our doctors has a slightly different view on vaccinations, but they all agree that children should be vaccinated only as parents wish. Vaccines are generally given one at a time and only if your child is well.
Entire books are devoted to the subject of vaccinations, so if this area is of particular interest to you (it probably is!), please make sure to discuss it to your satisfaction.
With Which Hospitals are You Affiliated?
Drs. Gordon, Nussbaum, and Lappin have privileges at UCLA-Santa Monica, Cedars-Sinai, and St. John’s. They commonly act as the primary doctors in charge when their patients are admitted to UCLA- Santa Monica Hospital. If your child needs hospitalization elsewhere, the doctors will either co-manage your child’s hospital care or maintain close contact with the hospital team. This will ensure excellent communication for follow-up. The doctors have relationships with pediatric specialists at all of the major Los Angeles pediatric hospitals: UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, and Children’s Hospital LA. St. John’s does not have a pediatric department.
Do You Accept Insurance?:
This practice is not affiliated with any PPO’s, HMO’s, Medi-Cal or other insurance plans. We would love to cooperate with insurance companies, but they long ago rejected the notion of private practice in favor of much higher volume medicine. We schedule approximately one hour for each Well Child Visit, and our fees are higher than insurance companies want them to be. Our lower patient volume allows us to spend more quality time with each patient and focus on the individual child’s needs. When a child is sick, we reject the “quick fix” culture and take as much time as we need to deal with the issue at hand. Insurance is still necessary to cover emergencies, severe illness, and catastrophic events. It should cover some primary costs as well. After each visit, you will receive a “superbill”- the document containing all of the proper codes that you may submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement. Most of our patients with PPO plans receive some (often significant!) reimbursement for the services we provide. Please see the next section regarding specific questions to ask your insurance carrier.
We are a fee for service practice, which means that we are not in-network for any insurance providers. Payment is due at the time of service, but we can send the bill to your billing manager if you prefer. We keep up with those ever changing insurance codes, though, and before leaving our office you will receive the paperwork you will need to send to your insurance company for reimbursement. For payment we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, debit card, cash, or check.
What Is Your Cancellation Policy?:
Our cancellation policy is that it really helps us a lot when you can let us know in advance and we trust that you’ll do your best. Thank you.