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Q: This is my first visit to the cardiologist. What can I expect?
A: You can expect the following during your first visit:
- The reception staff will ask for complete demographic and billing information, including scanning a copy of your insurance card and driver's license or other ID into our computer system, and collect any copayment required by your insurance plan. If you do not have your referral (if required by your insurance plan) or copayment, we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.
- The clinical staff will take preliminary medical history information, including your current medications, and record your vital signs prior to you being seen by the cardiologist. The cardiologist will then do a more detailed medical history review and a comprehensive physical exam focused on cardiac systems and symptoms.
- The cardiologist may order an EKG (electrocardiogram), if you did not bring one from your primary care physician or if the cardiac tech had not previously taken one. He may also order other diagnostic tests, such as an echocardiogram or stress test, to be done on another day.
- The cardiologist will explain any findings or concerns, including any recommended diagnostic tests, and indicate his/her recommendations for follow-up visits or care, as well as answer any questions you may have at that point.
- Our check-out staff will schedule any diagnostic testing to be done in our office, or provide you with information on how to schedule testing that we do not provide.
Q: What do I need to bring with me to my visit?
A: For EVERY visit, you should bring the following:
- Your insurance card and identification, and your referral, if required by your insurance plan;
- Payment for your copayment or coinsurance for your visit or diagnostic test;
- A written order from your physician if you are having a diagnostic test;
- A copy of any cardiovascular test results or lab results from your primary care physician if they have not already been forwarded to our office (these can be faxed to 410-997-9231);
- Information on all of the medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements such as vitamins (either bring the medications themselves, or a complete list including name, dosage, and instructions)
- A list of any questions you may have about your cardiac care that you want to discuss with your cardiologist.
Q: I don't have a primary care physician. Can I self-refer to a Cardiovascular Specialists cardiologist?
A: We encourage all patients to have a regular primary care physician. Patients can self-refer to a Cardiovascular Specialists cardiologist for consultations, but not for diagnostic testing, which requires a doctor's order.
Q: Can my cardiologist also be my primary care physician?
A: No. Cardiologists are first trained as Internal Medicine physicians. However, they have chosen to be cardiologists because they specialize in, and only treat, cardiovascular problems and conditions. To ensure our patients' overall health and facilitate coordination of care in the event of multiple system problems or concerns, we strongly recommend that our patients have a primary care physician (PCP). If you are interested in a recommendation for a PCP, please speak with your cardiologist.
Q: How do I get my prescriptions refilled?
A: Generally, your cardiologist will authorize enough refills to last between scheduled visits when the original prescription is written. If you run low, please call our office at (410) 997-7979. Please follow the prompts and your call will be taken by our call center operators, who will ask you for the specific information we need in order to refill your prescription. Although we try to process all refills on the day requested, your cardiologist may need to review or approve the request, so please allow up to three (3) working days for us submit the refill in to your pharmacy.
Q: Can I get medication samples?
A: In accordance with Johns Hopkins Medicine policies, we are not able to provide samples of medications. If your cardiologist recommends a new medication and you want to see how effective it is before filling a standard prescription, you may request that he/she write a prescription for a lesser amount.
Q: I had a diagnostic test at Cardiovascular Specialists. How long does it take to get the results?
A: If your diagnostic test was requested by your primary care physician (PCP), the results of your test will be sent to your PCP very quickly, generally within two business days of the test. You should follow-up with your PCP concerning your test results. If your diagnostic test was ordered by one of our cardiologists, we recommend you schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the test results unless your cardiologist instructs you otherwise.
Q: Why can't the technologist give me the test results when he/she finishes with the test?
A: Our diagnostic testing technologists are well-trained in their particular areas of expertise. If they see something of clinical concern in the performance of the diagnostic test, they will immediately notify the supervising cardiologist. However, all tests must be read and interpreted by a licensed physician, and the technologist is legally not able to provide even a "preliminary" test result to the patient.
Q: Can I just walk in if I only need to have my blood pressure checked?
A: In order to provide our patients with the level of care and service they deserve, a blood pressure check requires that we have a cardiac tech available as well as a physician to review your blood pressure results in the scope of your overall cardiac care. So, you do need to schedule an appointment for a blood pressure check. Please call our appointment line at 443-276-6050 to schedule. Please note that there is an office visit charge for a blood pressure check visit.
Q: I have some questions / I need to pick up a prescription / I need another lab slip. Can I drop by and get what I need?
A: We request that you give us a 24 hour notice before stopping by for these or similar requests. Other patients are here for scheduled appointments, and we are sure you would want to receive the full attention of our staff for your scheduled appointment. By calling ahead, we can let you know if we will have someone available to assist you. If you have a number of medical questions, it is best to schedule an office visit appointment with your cardiologist.