FAQs

There are FAQs found throughout our website. Questions specific to a certain area are generally found on the webpage that addresses that topic. For example, questions about what a physician’s credentials mean would be located on our Meet the Providers page. Here are some FAQs that discuss commonly asked questions in pediatric practices everywhere.

Why is my child always sick?
For the typical child, the easy answer is that your child keeps getting exposed to germs that make him/her sick. That doesn’t address the reason why you’re asking that question though, does it? There might really be one basic fear that drives that question: You’re worried your child might have some strange immune disorder that makes him/her more susceptible to illness. While this is possible, it is very very rare, and it’s a reason why keeping your regularly scheduled well and sick appointments with your pediatric office is so important. Your providers are trained to spot, diagnose, and treat a wide range of conditions and illnesses – not just your garden variety ear infection. Being exposed repeatedly to germs is only part of the answer. The other part of this is that an illness that seems to have gone on for weeks and weeks could really be one of two things. It could be that your child has just gotten 2 or 3 different illnesses in succession, or it could be that the one illness has just morphed into symptoms affecting different systems of your child's body.

Read more information about why your child is always sick
There are so many well visits in the first couple of years. Do I really need to come to all of them?
While it does seem like there are a lot of well visits in the first two years of life, if you really think about the sheer number of developmental strides a baby makes in those two years, you might actually wonder why there aren’t more. Pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners practice the specialty of medical science concerned with the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth to young adulthood. They understand the many factors that affect the growth and development of children. They also understand that children are not simply small adults. Children change rapidly, and they must be approached with an understanding and appreciation for their stage of physical and mental development.

At these well visits, even the slightest deviation from the expected is enough for a provider to look into a potential problem. With so many changes happening so quickly, only a trained eye can separate the normal from the potentially problematic. In the same way a trained mechanic can tell when your car isn’t ‘humming’ right, a pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner may look at your child and know that something is ‘off.’ We are, after all, experts in our field.
What if I come for a well visit and my child is sick?
Depending on what the concerns are, it may or may not be addressed during your well visit. A routine physical, or well visit, is where your child’s growth and development are assessed. It is where your child’s general well being, social and emotional development and the next stage in development may be discussed. It is also when your child will receive immunizations. Sick visits cover everything else that is “problem” focused. While a “sick” visit seems to refer to when your child is under the weather, it actually refers to anything that is a problem, concern, or issue, ranging from acne to warts, including constipation, emotional issues, or chronic headaches.

Well visits only have a certain amount of time allotted to it. If a parent needs the provider to focus on one main concern for the majority of the visit, the provider may decide to do one of three things: (1) Switch the visit to a sick visit and reschedule the well visit, (2) Manage both in the time allotted for the well visit, or (3) Ask that you return to the office for a sick visit, at another time that isn’t rushed, to address those concerns.

If the concern is of an immediate or minor nature (head cold, diaper rash, etc.), the provider may decide to do either of the first two items above. Most typically, for your convenience and the child’s welfare, they will perform both visits together. If the concern is not of an immediate nature (major behavioral or social concerns, trouble in school, etc), the provider will continue with the well visit, but have you make another appointment at a better time when more time and attention can be focused on the issue.

Please keep in mind that if a provider chooses to perform both a routine physical and address a problem or concern (sick visit), you may be billed for both types of services. Most insurance plans pay for the services under two different benefit categories (well and sick). That means you will be financially responsible for your portion of each type of visit. For example, if your well visits cost you nothing, but your sick visits cost you a $25 copay, then your insurance will expect us to collect your $25 copay. If there is a $25 copay for each type of service, then we would have to collect two copays.

Please do not wait for your yearly well visit to bring up ongoing concerns like seasonal allergies, behavioral problems, or major emotional distress. Insurance plans will classify concerns like these under your sick benefits, and we will not bill fraudulent claims to insurance companies by leaving those items off the claim intentionally. Make a separate appointment so that our providers can devote their undivided attention to your concern
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Why do we have to fill out brand new forms when we change our information, and why is our information verified every time we come for a visit?
The answer to both is simple: Accurate information means we can reach you when we need to. Over the phone, street names can be heard incorrectly, or numbers can be accidently inverted. By having the original document you filled out, we are able to double check the information if we are unable to reach you. We contact our parents for various reasons throughout the day, not the least of which includes appointment reminders, notifying you of an appointment to a specialist we referred you to, or discussing lab results or treatment changes. We also need accurate mailing information for when those specialists need to mail you registration paperwork, for when we fill out prior-authorization paperwork for your insurance company, or for when you request financial records be mailed to you during tax season.
What is a nurse practitioner?
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice nurses who provide high-quality healthcare services similar to those of a physician. NPs can also diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems. After receiving their bachelor’s degree in nursing and most typically working to advance their clinical skills, they go on to get their master’s degree in nursing. This is where they further their education and clinical training beyond their registered nurse preparation. They then are eligible for state licensure and board certification in their respective area of interest and study, much like a physician.
What does the FAAP mean?
The FAAP designation after a pediatrician’s name stands for Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatricians who maintain their FAAP designation have obtained board certification in pediatrics and made an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning and advocacy for children. For more information, visit www.aap.org
What does board certification mean?
Board Certification is a process where a special independent organization provides credentials to a provider, signifying a high level of professional competency. Certifications are usually time-limited, meaning that the medical professional will have to re-certify after a given time period. The recertification usually involves comprehensive testing, among other things, and demonstrates their commitment to professionalism, lifelong learning and self-evaluation.