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Frequently Asked Questions

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Different patients often have the same questions for our staff.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our office at 410-997-7979 during regular business hours.

Johns Hopkins is committed to protecting your health information. Our Notice of Privacy Practices explains how all members of the Johns Hopkins organizations will safeguard your privacy.


  • If you have moderate to severe chest pain, call 911 immediately. If you have been having mild chest discomfort for several days, call our office and ask to speak with your doctor's cardiac tech for further assessment and instructions.

  • If the office is closed and you believe you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately. When our office is closed and you have an urgent problem and need to speak to a cardiologist, our phone system greeting will give you instructions on how to connect to our answering service. The service will then page the cardiologist on call with your message.

    If you are having a non-urgent problem such as a prescription refill, we request that you call back when the office is open. The cardiologist on call will not handle routine prescription refills.

About My Care

  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Billing and Insurance

  • We participate with many insurance plans. Please see Insurance for a list of the major plans with which we currently participate.

  • If your insurance plan requires referrals, it is your responsibility to obtain it from your primary care physician (PCP). Many insurance plans issue electronic referrals, so you may not have a written referral. Talk to your PCP to ensure they have processed the appropriate referral for your visit.

  • If Cardiovascular Specialists is not a "participating provider" with your insurance plan, and your insurance plan is NOT an HMO, you can still be seen by our office. However, you will generally have a higher out-of-pocket cost for deductibles, coinsurance, and/or copayments.

  • Insurance companies make it sound like a simple process to contract with them. The fact is, it takes a great deal of time and resources before a practice or health system can contract with an insurance plan, and it can then take the plan as much as another 6 months to complete the "credentialing" process for the practice's or health system's physicians. As a Community Specialty Practice of Johns Hopkins Medicine, we participate only with those insurance plans with which Johns Hopkins Medicine has contracts for its affiliated physician practices. In many cases, it is not financially feasible for Johns Hopkins Medicine to contract with a particular carrier.

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine periodically reviews the major insurance plans with which it contracts. Please see the question above for more information about the contracting process. If you have a question about whether we participate with your insurance plan, please contact our Business Office Manager at 443-276-9003. If your insurance company tells you that they "are going to be signing a contract with Johns Hopkins Medicine soon," do not accept that statement as a fact.

  • All of our claims are reviewed carefully before submission to your insurance plan. If we have made an error on the claim, we will correct the error and resubmit it to your insurance carrier. However, whatever we submit to your insurance company must be supported by the documentation in the medical record. To change a procedure or diagnosis code just to get the insurance company to pay the claim is fraud; we will not do that. Cardiovascular Specialists codes and bills according to industry-standard coding and billing procedures mandated by both Federal and State (Maryland) law. While we verify coverage and authorization for diagnostic testing as required by each insurance carrier, it is your responsibility to know the terms of your insurance benefits and what services are and are not covered. In particular, screening and preventive services may not always be covered by Medicare and/or commercial insurance plans.

  • To help us expedite payment from your insurance company, please make sure you provide a current insurance card every time you come to our office. Make sure the name you register with matches the name your insurance company has. Answer any correspondence from the insurance company promptly, especially if it is about coordination of benefits (when a patient has two insurance plans) and pre-existing conditions. Finally, if you don't understand the explanation of benefits from your insurance company, call them immediately for clarification.

  • If the bill is for a diagnostic test in our office, the test itself may have been performed by a qualified technologist, but it is the cardiologist who reads and interprets your test. We must bill in the name of the cardiologist who provides the service, not the doctor who requests the test. If the bill is for an office consultation or visit and you were seen by our Physician Assistants (PA), the bill may be submitted in the name of the supervising cardiologist, depending on your insurance carrier's rules for billing services provided by Physician Assistants. In accordance with Maryland licensing regulations, all Physician Assistants work under the supervision of a licensed physician. If the bill is for services while you were in the hospital, one of our cardiologists may have been asked to consult on your care, or he or she may have provided the interpretation for a diagnostic test you had in the hospital, such as an echocardiogram, that was performed by a technologist employed by the hospital. In this case, the hospital will bill you for the "technical" portion of the test, and our office will bill you for the cardiologist's reading and interpretation of the test.

  • If you do not have health insurance, payment is due when billed. You may pay by check or credit card. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. If you are not able to make full payment for your account balance when you receive your bill, please contact us at 443-276-9049 to make payment arrangements.

    In addition, for patients who have no health insurance we offer a "prompt pay discount" for visits and diagnostic testing services when payment is made at the time of service. This discount is ONLY available for payment at the time of service and ONLY for patients with no health insurance. Please contact our financial counselor at 443-276-9049 for more information.

    We recognize that current economic conditions sometimes pose financial challenges for many of our patients and their families. In addition to time of service prompt pay discounts and payment arrangements for larger balances, we offer a Financial Assistance program under which individuals who can demonstrate a financial need are eligible for discounts on their self-pay balances. An application and supporting documentation are required to be considered for financial assistance.

    Please download a Financial Assistance Application or contact our financial counselor at 443-276-9049 for more information.

  • Many of the same payment options are available as for patients with no health insurance. Please see the question and response above.

  • Please call our business office at 443-276-9049 for further assistance from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may also contact us online, but be aware that this is not a secure communications portal and is not monitored in real time. Therefore, we do not recommend that you include time-sensitive and/or personal medical or financial information in your message.

Scheduling and Appointments

  • To schedule an appointment for a visit or for any test, call our Appointment Line at 443-276-6050. If our appointment schedulers are assisting other patients, your call will be taken by our call center, which will take a detailed message about the type of appointment you need to schedule. We will return your call as soon as possible. In general, we will return your call within one day or sooner.

  • For new patient visits and diagnostic testing appointments, we are able to accommodate most patients within a several day time frame or as otherwise requested by the referring doctor.

    Follow-up visits are scheduled based on your cardiologist's instructions as to when he or she wants to see you again, and we schedule within your requested dates and times and your cardiologist's office schedule.

  • If you are a new patient, if we have not seen you in over 6 months, or if you have information changes, we request that you arrive at least 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. This will allow us to enter and/or update all of your personal and billing information in our computer system, scan a copy of your insurance card(s) and identification, and have you electronically sign any required forms. If you have been seen in our office recently and/or do not have any information changes, we request that you arrive at least 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Please be sure to bring your insurance card, identification, and any required referrals to EVERY visit.

  • Please notify us as soon as you know you will not be able to keep your appointment. Short-notice cancellations and missed appointments or "no-shows" prevent us from offering the appointment to other patients wishing to be seen, particularly for testing slots. Appointments cancelled two business days or less in advance (for example, on Thursday or Friday for a Monday appointment, on Monday or Tuesday for a Wednesday appointment, etc.) are considered "late" cancellations. A frequent pattern of appointment cancellations and/or visit "no-shows" makes it impossible for our providers to provide appropriate continuity of care, and may result in a patient’s discharge from our care.

    For patients scheduled for nuclear stress tests, the radioisotope for your test is ordered specifically for you, and cannot be used for another patient. The radioisotope can cost several hundred dollars, with the exact cost varying depending on the dose required by the particular patient.  This cost is not covered by your insurance when you cancel or are a no-show for your appointment. Therefore, patients who do not cancel at least three business days in advance are subject to a $200.00 cancellation fee for the radioisotope dose, which must be paid before the test is rescheduled.

    For all other testing appointments, such as treadmill stress tests, echo, stress echo, and vascular studies, patients who do not cancel at least three business days in advance are subject to a $50.00 testing cancellation fee, which must be paid before the test is rescheduled.

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