Do medical records cost to have them sent out?

If it is your first time asking for the medical records no, but if you are asking for them more than once then it will. Costs for records are: $2.98 per page for the first 10 pages, $0.62 per page for pages 11-50, and $0.26 per page for pages 51 and higher.

How do I request my medical records?

Either call our office or send a message over the portal. We will need you to fill out and sign a medical records release form for us to send records to you or another practice. We can either fax, mail, or email you the release if you don’t want to come in and sign it.

My pharmacy/insurance told me I need a Prior Authorization. What is this?

Many insurance providers require a patient to have tried other less expensive medications in a certain drug class before they will consider paying for a particular drug. If this is the case, the process requires the doctor’s office to call the insurance and answer questions or complete paperwork regarding the patient’s medical and medication history. This process requires several days to accomplish. We will notify you and your pharmacy when we get a determination from the insurance.

Do you participate with Medicaid?

No

What if I do not have my insurance information at my time of service?

You will be identified as a “self-pay” patient and will need to pay at your time of service.

How do I know if my allergy shots are covered?

Our billing office is always willing to work with you and your insurance provider to determine what kind of costs you might be responsible for. We make sure you receive all details regarding costs before shots are started so that you can make an informed decision on whether they are right for you.

Do you know if a co-pay applies to my allergy shots?

No, please check with your insurance provider.

 

If I disagree with what my insurance has paid, will you call them for a better explanation?

No, if you disagree with the payment, you need to call the customer service department at the number on the back of your insurance card.

Do you charge an office visit every time we get an allergy shot?

No, shots are given by a nurse and the only time you are charged for an office visit is when you see a doctor.

Will my insurance pay for allergy testing and or allergy shots?

All plans have different benefits. Please check with your company for exact covered benefits.

What kind of testing can you do for allergies?

Many items can be tested for including foods, indoor and outdoor allergens, insect stings, and certain drugs like penicillin. Please call our office to discuss any particular questions you have regarding available testing options.

What is the difference between blood testing and skin testing for allergies?

Skin testing is a more sensitive, more specific, quicker and better standardized means of evaluating allergies. Your doctor will help determine when blood testing is needed for evaluation.

What can I expect during my skin test visit?

Allergen extract drops are placed on the skin (either on forearms or back) and lightly pricked to allow the antigen to enter the skin. After a 15 minute wait the testing is measured and read. If the results of prick testing warrant further investigation, additional antigen is placed just under the skin (similar to a TB test) followed by another 15 minute wait. Results are again measured and read at which time you will get a detailed description of the results by the doctor. The most difficult part for children is usually the need to lie still and the waiting time in between the testing steps. It is helpful to bring books, handheld games etc., to help with the waiting time.

 

What is the youngest age of a patient seen by Bernstein Allergy Group?

We manage the care for patients ranging from small infants to elderly patients. Our practice works in conjunction with your pediatrician, family doctor, or internist to provide quality continuity of care.

Why do I have bumps after skin testing when I didn’t have my reactions while in the office?

The delayed reaction is simply an irritation and can be comforted with ice and Benadryl. It does not change any diagnostic outcome of the skin testing.

Can acid reflux make my asthma worse?

Yes, acid reflux can contribute to cough, SOB and tightness in chest.

What are the signs and symptoms that I may have asthma?

Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in chest, frequent or lingering bronchitis, exercise intolerance are just a few of the potential signs and symptoms that may indicate a reason to investigate a possible asthma problem.

 

Can asthma be controlled?

Yes, asthma is a very treatable disease. With appropriate treatment plans and consistent physician monitoring and evaluation, you can control your asthma and not have your asthma control you.

Can I get tested for insect stings?

Yes, stinging venom insect testing is available and is warranted if the reaction to the sting was severe enough. Please call our office to discuss.

Why do I have a large bump on my arm where my allergy injection was given?

A large local reaction does not mean a patient is having a systemic reaction. It can be comforted with ice, ibuprofen, acetaminophen or Benadryl and should be reported to the injection clinic the next time you are in for an injection. It does not require further treatment and it is not necessary to call the on call Doctor after hours to be reported.

I chronically get sinus infections. Is there any help?

Allergies and sinus issues often co-exist and managing the allergy component may in fact prove helpful in deceasing the frequency and severity of sinus infections.

 

Can I be tested for food allergies?

Yes, food allergy testing is available. This is done by skin testing and/or blood tests. We may arrange for an oral challenge to be done in our office.

I have heard of other types of allergy treatments different from allergy injections. Do you offer them?

Other treatment modalities, such as sublingual immunotherapy to grass and ragweed, have recently been approved by the FDA and are available at our practice.

 

Are Allergy Shots Expensive?

Studies have shown that allergy shots are a very cost-effective way to treat allergies. They have been shown to reduce medication requirements and improve the quality of life in those patients who take them. They are the only long-term way to bring symptoms under control in those patients who have significant allergic disease.

How Often Do I Need Shots?

Allergy shots are typically started on a weekly schedule during the build-up phase. This can be accelerated under certain circumstances and this may be discussed with your allergist. Symptomatic improvement may occur within the first 3-6 months with full benefit usually seen with the first 12-18 months.

After a maintenance dose is reached, your allergist will determine when to decrease the interval between shots (for example, every 2 weeks, every 3 weeks, every 4 weeks). Most people will be able to stop their injections after about 5 years but some require prolonged therapy.

As board-certified allergists, the physicians at the Bernstein Allergy Group are trained to safely utilize potent allergy extracts which are more complicated to use but which provide significantly greater benefit than the low-dose allergy extracts used by physicians not specifically trained in the subspecialty of Allergy/Immunology.

You should always consult with one of our Board Certified Allergists before beginning a program of allergy shots.

Who are the Best Candidates for Allergy Shots?

If you are able to avoid the trigger of your allergies or if usual doses of medications control your symptoms, then immunotherapy might not be needed. While allergy shots have been proven effective against inhalant allergies and stinging insect allergies, they are not used for food allergies. If any of the following applies to you, then you may be a candidate for allergy shots:

  • If the medications to control your symptoms (i.e., antihistamines, nasal sprays) do not work.
  • If the medication used to control your symptoms produces too many side effects.
  • If complications (i.e., sinus infections, ear infections) develop.
  • If you have asthma or eczema triggered by allergies.
  • If you are at risk of developing anaphylaxis (a severe reaction that, in some cases, may be fatal) when exposed to an allergen.
  • If medications control your symptoms, but your symptoms flare back up every time you try to reduce your medications.
  • If you cannot effectively avoid things that trigger your allergies.
  • If you would rather take a series of allergy shots than daily medications.
  • If you would rather treat the actual problem rather than just use medications to control symptoms.
  • If cost of the medications is a burden, allergy shots are very cost effective compared to the use of daily prescription medications over several years.

How Do Allergy Shots Work?

chemicals into your body, thus creating symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and itching. In some cases symptoms

progress to include coughing, wheezing, swelling of the throat and tongue, and in the worst case anaphylaxis.

Allergy shots increase your tolerance to the harmful allergen. By injecting gradually increasing doses of the offending allergen extract, the immune system builds up a tolerance to that allergen. Allergy shots slow down and reduce the production of the IgE antibody.

What kind of patient education is available at Bernstein Allergy Group?

At each visit patients are given extensive education and instructions regarding their treatment plan. Patient education is a major focus in accomplishing a successful treatment plan, and written and demonstration instructions are a high priority of our care.

How fast can I be seen as a new patient?

Most often we can accommodate a new patient appointment within 48 hours. However, you must be off antihistamines at least 4 days prior to your appointment to have allergy skin testing.

Is there a charge for no-show appointments? How far in advance can I cancel or reschedule with no penalty?

In order to avoid a no-show fee, please call to reschedule or to cancel an appointment. If you change your appointment outside a 24 hour period, you will not be charged this fee. Please make every effort to cancel or reschedule your appointments as soon as possible to allow other patients to access those available appointment options.

At what age can I bring my child in to get skin tested?

Limited skin testing can be done even on small infants. The best approach is to have a consultation visit with one of our physicians to discuss the child’s history and determine the best course of testing.

What to do if I need a medication refill?

Please contact your pharmacy. Contacting your pharmacy will expedite the refill request and ensure that all prescription information received is accurate. All prescription refills are done as soon as possible, but at times it could take up to 48 hours. If you are overdue for an appointment we will schedule one for you and provide enough medication to cover you until your appointment.

As a new patient, what happens at the first appointment?

Your physician will take a complete history and order testing if necessary. Some appointments are purposefully set up to only accomplish a consultation and testing will be performed on a separate date. Testing may include skin testing, lung function testing or other various forms of testing needed to evaluate your symptoms. Once testing is complete, your doctor will review the results and recommended plan of treatment.

What is a clinical trial (study)?

A clinical trial is a research study for which patients voluntarily consent to participate. Participating patients or research subjects who qualify for a study are assigned by chance to receive an investigational study medication for their specific medical condition (such as asthma or allergies). The investigational medication could be either the active (real) drug studied or a placebo (no active drug). The patients who agree to participate are carefully followed during the clinical trial by our physicians and the research staff.

Most clinical studies involve receiving an investigational drug. An investigational clinical study drug is a drug that has not been approved by the United States FDA and is not available for treatment on the market. The purpose of such studies is to determine if the new drug should be approved for the market to treat other patients. Sometimes the study involves medications that are approved by the US FDA but not for the medical condition studied. Some studies are observational and simply involve collection of medical information or tests and no study medication is given to the participating patients.

Why participate in a clinical trial?

Subjects who participate in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new investigational treatments before they are widely available, have additional medical screening, test and procedures, learn more about their medical condition. In addition, your participation may lead to new treatments that could help other patients in the future.

Who can participate in a clinical trial?

All clinical trials have guidelines or “criteria” about who can participate. Each clinical trial is unique and all patients need to qualify based on the specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, stating which patients can and cannot participate. Our research staff will ask questions such age, gender, the severity of disease, previous treatment history, and ask about other medical conditions to determine which patients are eligible. All study participants must pass the history, physical exams and screening tests before determining if they qualify for a clinical research trial.

What happens during a clinical trial?

Each clinical trial is different but directions for all studies are written down in a detailed study plan or “protocol” that has already been approved for use in the research study by the US FDA and an Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for reviewing the study information and ensuring patient safety. Our board certified doctors who are known as the investigator and study nurse (research coordinator) have been specially trained on how to conduct the study protocol.

Some clinical trials involve more tests and doctor visits than the participant would normally have for an illness or condition. For all types of trials, the participant will receive detailed information about the study tests and procedures, medical exams, and study stipend payments for time and travel.

What is the informed consent?

Informed consent is the process of learning and identifying the key facts about a clinical trial before deciding whether or not to participate. The doctors and coordinators involved in the study explain the details of the study and answer all patient questions and concerns. The informed consent form document includes details about the study, such as its purpose, duration, required procedures, and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained in the informed consent document. The participant then decides whether or not to sign the document. Informed consent is not a contract, and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time. The participants should receive a signed and dated consent form document and should not have any test, procedures or study related events occur prior to completing the informed consent form. The participant can only volunteer for one study at a time and will need to wait 30 days between participating in clinical studies.

If the participant is a minor (under the age of 18) the child signs and dates the Accent Form and the legal guardian signs and dates the informed consent form. The Accent/informed consent form process is the same as stated above.

What are the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial?

Benefits:

  • Subjects play an active role in their own health care.
  • Subjects receive patient education about their medical condition.
  • Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
  • Obtain expert medical care during the clinical trial.
  • Receive study related test and procedures that might not normally receive during a usual doctor visit.
  • Have easy access and scheduling for sick visits with minimal wait times.
  • Receive financial reimbursement for time and travel.
  • Help others by contributing to medical research findings that could eventually lead to more effective medical treatments.

Risks:

  • There are potential risks to participating in clinical trials.
  • There may be unpleasant, unexpected events and possibly serious side effects related to the investigational medication treatment.
  • The investigational treatment may not be effective for the participant and the subject may need to be withdrawn from the clinical trial.
  • The study may require more time and attention than would be expected during a normal doctor visit.

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