Office Policies

Please take some time to read over this page carefully. Everybody here is seriously committed to not only ensuring your health, but also making sure that your experience here exceeds any of your expectations. By taking a few minutes to read over this information we hope that you will understand how we plan to do that and how you can help us help you.

 

Appointments/Phone Calls

We would like for you to call the office to schedule an appointment. We do not offer online scheduling because we are very committed to ensuring that our schedule is arranged in such a way that people wait as little as possible if at all. No computer algorithm can schedule an appointment for you better than somebody like Ethan or Sheila, who are going to take into account your history, the reason for your visit, the people who were scheduled before and after you, and what may be going on that particular day. E-mailing us for appointments also historically has proven to be disastrous. These policies are not to make things easier for us, they are to serve you better. The phones in our office are set up to ring Dr. McNiff’s office if calls are not answered after three rings. He will answer your call
himself if it is not picked up before then. Nobody dislikes calling a business and not being able to reach a living, engaged, and empowered person more than we do. If your call does go to voicemail, we will call you back within 10 minutes.

 

Insurance/billing

Insurance is complicated and often frustrating. Nobody understands that better than we do. While we certainly like to get compensated for our services, our primary commitment is to your health and well-being.

If you get a bill from us or from the laboratory we use please reach out to us if you are at all concerned about it. Many times billing issues can be resolved by simply verifying or correcting information about insurance coverage. While Shiel, the lab we use is a completely separate entity from us, our representative is able to assist with billing issues if you immediately notify her of any discrepancies. Her email address is: cathyw@shiel.com

If you have an insurance plan that has a deductible, please understand that until you meet that deductible that your insurance company is not going to pay us or any other health care provider anything for the services we deliver to you.

We are never going to send you to a collections agency. If you lose your insurance will do everything we can to continue to be your healthcare provider, and are happy to set up a fee schedule based on what you can afford. If you need help dealing with your insurance carrier, we will do all we can help you out.

What we ask in return for this is if you do get bills from our office, please reach out to us to try to help us get compensated for the services we have provided. If you get a bill from us it means we did not get paid for the time that we spent with you. If you’re dissatisfied with the care you received, we hope that you’ll let us know so we can credit your account and try to make things right. If a bill that you have received presents a financial hardship we hope that you’ll let us know so we can arrange a payment plan or adjust the amount that you owe to fit your budget even if that amount is zero.

 

Referrals

Many insurance plans require you to get a referral from us before seeing a specialist. This varies from plan to plan. For some it is just a matter of our generating a form and faxing it to the specialist. Other plans require an approval process. We will respond to referral requests made within an hour of our normal closing time that day and others the next day. There is little we can do to change the time your insurance plan takes to answer. We do have influence with the specialists with whom we work closely. The physicians and surgeons we refer to are a carefully vetted group, and it will always be valuable to ask our advice when choosing a specialist. Sometimes people think that their issue requires a specialist when it may well be something we can evaluate and treat here, sometimes they think they need one type of specialist when their issue would be better addressed by another specialist, and sometimes their issue is so specific that there are only a handful of physicians who would be able to help. You can go to whomever you like, but we ask that you check with us to help you make the best decision. And, if you are sure to notify the specialist you are seeing that we are your primary care provider, they will send us a copy of their note which is incredibly helpful in coordinating the care you may be getting from multiple providers.

 

Checking in

Each time you visit us we are going to ask that you complete a form. There is nothing on the form that is not essential.

1. Reason for your visit. You would be very surprised how many people leave the office without addressing the issue that they came for, because they got distracted. Even a couple of words is helpful.
2. Drug allergies. This can never be asked too many times.
3. Current medications. Since we always prescribe through our electronic medical record, we know what
we have prescribed you, but there is often a big disconnect between what we have prescribed, what the
pharmacy has dispensed and what people are actually taking. And while we have access to the insurance
records of most patients (depending on their plan) that will allow us to see what medications that have
been prescribed from other physicians, this data is not always complete, and we have no way of knowing
what other doctors are doing unless they send us notes, and even when they do the same things above
apply.
4. Review your contact information and ensure that we have a valid emergency contact. This changes. Just take a second to review it and make sure it’s up to date. We hope we never need an emergency contact, but everyone can understand the incredible importance of this. Also, if we have an incorrect address for you, your insurance claim will be denied, for your visit and for any lab work we do. A couple of seconds reviewing this information will save you and us a lot of work down the road.
5. That’s why we also ask for your insurance card each time you come in.
6. We really, really want a photograph for your medical record. We have more than a few patients with
identical first and last names, and dozens of patients with similar names. We pride ourselves in keeping everyone straight, but having a photograph of everyone in his/her chart makes that much easier.
Ultimately it’s about your safety.

 

Patient Centered Medical Home

A medical home is a team-based method of providing health care services. The goal of a medical home is to create a partnership between the patient, his or her health care provider, and the support staff/ team. Using evidence based guidelines, the team coordinates to provide the patient with the highest quality healthcare experience.

 

Contacting the Office

You can contact the office anytime during normal business hours by calling 212-677-6788. If you have an emergency, you can call the office when we are closed, and our answering service will page a doctor on call if needed. If you call 911 and are admitted to the hospital, please notify us of this (or have someone notify us for you) so that we can get the record from your visit. Please also notify us anytime you see another provider (specialist, urgent care facility, etc.) so that we can get these records as well.

 

Emailing Dr. McNiff and Dr. Godwin-Gorga

Emails sent directly to Dr. McNiff and Dr. Godwin-Gorga will be billed to your insurance company. If your insurance provider doesn’t cover this service, you may be financially responsible for a copay. Dr. McNiff and Dr. Godwin-Gorga will also only start checking emails sent through the patient portal. These messages become a part of your chart, and the portal allows us to triage all incoming messages even more quickly and effectively. You can always still email the office at admin@toddmcniff.com for refills or non-medical questions without being billed.

 

Prescriptions

We strive to make access to prescription medication as easy and convenient as is safe and legal. For patients who are taking controlled substances long-term, we have a policy that patients need to come in every four months for check-ups. For other prescriptions, if you need refills, and you have none left on your prescription, and the pharmacy has not contacted us to authorize a refill, you can call us or send an email to admin@toddmcniff.com.
With all communications about prescriptions, please include your full name, date of birth, drug name, dose, frequency, and quantity, and the name, address, and phone number of the pharmacy you would like it submitted to. Ideally you will give us a few days before you need the refill, but we do strive to complete all refill requests same day. If you need it same day, we ask that you call us instead of emailing.

We have compiled a list of independent pharmacies in various neighborhoods, which is on our website. In our experience an independent pharmacy is typically more customer service-oriented than the chain stores are.

 

Appointment Cancellations

If you aren’t able to make your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. Not showing up for a booked appointment is a disservice to patients with urgent needs who may not be able to be seen immediately. While every patient with an urgent issue is guaranteed a same day appointment, we sometimes have to double book these appointments, which can push the schedule back and cause delays. By giving us a heads up, we can schedule urgent visits more appropriately and keep our non-urgent appointments running on schedule. If you are late to your appointment, we reserve the right to reschedule it.