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A.F.M. Hours: 8am-5:30pm
Walks-Ins and Same Day
Appointments Always Available

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Frequently Asked Questions at Austin Family Medicine

The healthcare field can be very complicated and confusing.  We have created a list of questions that are frequently asked with their corresponding answers.  We have done this in order to clarify many confusing topics.  We will constantly add to this list of frequently asked questions.  If you feel that there is a question that should be added to this list, please let us know.  We always appreciate feedback.

You will find a list of questions below.  In order to see the answers please click on the question, and the answer will appear.  You can also click “Expand All” to open all of the answers at once.

If you have a question that is not listed here, please call us at 512-443-9355. Our office staff would be glad to help.

  • Do you provide Urgent Care?

    Admin22-01-2014

    Yes we do provide Urgent Care. We currently have Walk-In Hours from 8am to 5:30pm every weekday (Monday through Friday). We always maintain an open schedule to allow for Same Day appointments in case you miss our Walk In Hours. We encourage you to come in if you feel ill. We will evaluate you and order the appropriate tests or treatment for you. We are able to provide many urgent care needs, such as:

    • Breathing treatments if you are short of breath or coughing
    • Intravenous (IV) Fluids if you are dehydrated
    • Injections if you are vomiting or have a bacterial infection
    • Stitches for deep cuts or lacerations
    • Joint injections for painful joints
  • Can I be seen today? Do you offer Same Day appointments?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we always maintain an open schedule in order to allow for visits on the same day that you call. Please call as soon as you can, so we can get you added to the schedule.
  • Are you accepting new patients?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we are currently accepting new patients. We try get new patients in on the same day that you call, especially if you are sick. Call 512-443-9355 to schedule an appointment.
  • Which health insurances do you accept?

    Admin22-01-2014

    a. We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, United Health, Tricare, and Medicare. If your insurance company was not listed, please call our office. Our staff would be glad to let you know if we accept your insurance (512-443-9355)

    b. We are not accepting patients with Medicaid at this time.

  • How do I make an appointment?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Simply call our office at 443-WELL (512-443-9355), and the staff will assist you with setting up an appointment.
  • Do we accept Obamacare?

    Admin22-01-2014
    a. We are currently working with insurance companies to get all Obamacare plans accepted. However, we are in the discussion phase with the insurance companies. We are waiting on the individual insurance companies that carry Obamacare plans to give us the details of the plan.

    b. Currently, we are accepting Obamacare plans with Blue Cross / Blue Shield. We are still waiting for other insurance companies to communicate with us before we can accept other plans.
  • Do you accept self-pay or cash only?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we accept cash paying patients without insurance. You are expected to pay for the office visit before each visit. If you need further studies (blood work, X-Rays, etc), you will be expected to pay for those after your visit with your healthcare provider.
  • Do you accept credit cards? What forms of payment to you accept?

    Admin22-01-2014
    a. We do accept credit cards as a method of payment. We accept all credit cards except American Express. b. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards. c. We do not accept Care Credit from Aesthetica Med Spa.
  • How do I refill my medication?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Please go to our page dedicated to this topic HERE
  • I went to the pharmacy and dropped off my prescription, but I was told that I have to wait until my doctor’s office approves my prior authorization. What is a Prior Authorization?

    Admin22-01-2014

    a. A prior authorization is additional paperwork that is required by your insurance company before they will cover your prescription medication. It is often required on medications that are expensive or new.

    b. If you get a prior authorization notice from the pharmacy, it may be a good idea to contact (or go online) your insurance company in order to find out which medications they prefer. Sometimes the insurance company will cover a related medication without a prior authorization. However, you should know that your healthcare provider chose the medication based on which medication they thought would work best for you. A similar or related medication may not have the same benefits as the one your insurance company prefers without a prior authorization.

  • If this medication needed a prior authorization, why did my healthcare provider prescribe this medication? Why didn’t my healthcare provider prescribe a medication that is covered?

    Admin22-01-2014

    Your healthcare provider prescribed the medication that would work best for your condition or problem. It is impossible for your healthcare provider to know which medications will require prior authorizations because each insurance company has different requirements, and they are constantly changing the medications on the list.

  • Can I get a PAP Smear at your office?

    Admin22-01-2014
    a. Yes, all of our providers are comfortable doing PAP Smears, breast exams, and well woman exams. If you feel more comfortable with a female provider, you should request one when you make your appointment. We will happily set up an appointment with one of our female providers HERE. b. If your PAP Smear is abnormal, we can provide you with further testing in our office without referring you somewhere else.
  • What gynecological (GYN) services do you provide?

    Stone Slade22-01-2014
    a. We offer many of the same services that Gynecologists provide:
    • Cervical Cancer Screening - PAP smears
    • Abnormal PAP Smear Testing – Colposcopy and Endocervical curettage
    • Abnormal Bleeding - Endometrial Biopsy
    • Birth Control Counseling
    b. Which birth control methods do you offer? We offer many birth control options: 1. Hormone pills
    • Combination (or OCP)
    • Mini-Pill
    2. Hormone patches 3. NuvaRing 4. Depo-Provera (injections every 3 months) 5. Implanon or Nexplanon (small rod implanted in upper arm) 6. Mirena or IUD (Implantable Uterine Device) At this time, we do NOT offer: 1. Cervical Diaphragm sizing 2. Permanent sterilization (tubal ligation) 3. Vasectomy
  • What do I do if I think I am pregnant? Do you care for pregnant patients?

    Admin22-01-2014
    1. If you think you are pregnant, please feel free to make an appointment. We will do a confirmatory pregnancy test, and we will spend time counseling you on the important topics. We will then refer you to any obstetrician (OB) of your choice, or if you do not have a preference, we can refer you to one of the obstetricians that we have had great experiences with.
    2. If you get sick, we can still care for you while you are pregnant, but you will want your prenatal care to be done by an obstetrician since we cannot deliver your baby. We are able to fully care for you after you have your baby (post-partum) and even while breastfeeding.
  • What procedures can you do in your office

    Admin22-01-2014
    We offer many procedures in our office as an outpatient (without being hospitalized), and we are constantly learning new procedures in order to provide our patients with the most comprehensive medicine possible.  Please visit our procedures page to learn more HERE.

    If there is a procedure that you wish to get done, please let us know.  We are always willing to learn new procedures – especially if our patients request it!
  • Do you do physicals? (or Well Visits)

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we encourage all of our patients to come in for yearly physicals. Well visits are vital to your health. These visits are important because the entire visit is spent discussing preventive healthcare. We perform a detailed family history analysis to determine if you require special screening tests at an earlier age than other patients without family history. We also review your record to make sure you are up-to-date on your:
    Cancer Screening (PAP Smear, Colonoscopy, Mammogram, Prostate exam, etc)
    Cardiovascular Risk Reduction (EKG, Stress testing, Carotid thickness testing)
    Blood work (Electrolytes, Kidney function, Blood count, Thyroid function, Cholesterol levels)
    Of note, we do extensive blood work analysis at Austin Family Medicine Associates that includes even more than the usual doctors’ offices. It includes DNA testing, Vitamin testing, Blood sugar metabolism, Omega-3 levels, etc. Please see our dedicated page to this topic HERE (coming soon).
    Immunizations / Vaccines (Shingles, Tetanus, Pneumonia, Pertussis, etc)
    Bone Density Evaluation and Treatment (DEXA scanning, Osteoporosis)
    Sleep Disorder and Fatigue Questionnaire
    Complete physical exam to evaluate for asymptomatic problems
    Complete review of systems to evaluate all bodily functions
  • Will you perform a DOT Physical, Department of Transportation physical, or CDL License Examination?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, all of our providers are comfortable performing Department of Transportation physicals.
  • Can you do X-rays, CT Scans, or MRI Scans in your office?

    Admin22-01-2014
    a. No, we do not have X-ray, CT scan, or MRI capability at our office. We will give you orders for your imaging studies, and we will direct you to the nearest facilities. You are also welcome to go to the facility of your choice.

    b. At this time, we only have access to Austin Radiological Association’s (ARA) files. If you get your imaging studies done there, we can view your images in the office and show them to you. We will continue to seek access to other Radiology companies in the area.
  • Can you perform ultrasounds in your office?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we contract with a company that uses our rooms to perform ultrasounds for our patients. These can usually be arranged within 1-2 weeks, and their technicians are excellent.
  • Do you offer treatment for Sports Injuries, Arthritis, or Joint pain?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we treat a wide variety of sports injuries and musculoskeletal complaints. We are able to evaluate and treat your injury or chronic joint pain. We will determine the necessary steps to get you back to your sport or activity as soon as possible.
  • Do you offer weight loss programs?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes, we offer several weight loss programs to our patients. For full details, please see our weight loss page HERE.
  • Do you see pediatric patients? Do you evaluate children? Do you do well child checks or exams?

    Admin22-01-2014
    a. Yes, we are Family Medicine physicians who are trained in caring for pediatric patients. We accept children 4 years old and older. We are willing to evaluate children younger than 4 years old for acute illnesses, but we are not equipped as well as Pediatric offices for younger children. We can do well child checks starting at age 4.

    b. We can also do Sports Physicals, School Physicals, and other paperwork needed for your pediatric patient.
  • How are your referrals to specialists handled?

    Admin22-01-2014
    At Austin Family Medicine, we are very skilled at treating a wide variety of conditions, and we will do our best to keep all of your care at our office. If your condition needs a specialist, our office staff will facilitate a referral to the appropriate provider. It generally takes our staff 1-2 weeks to get the referral completed. Our staff will call you when the referral is complete.
  • Can I refer a friend to your practice?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Yes! We welcome new patients, so if you refer any friends or family to our practice, we will reward you with a $5 gift card after that person has their first office visit.
  • I got a bill in the mail for my blood work, but I was not expecting to owe anything.

    Admin22-01-2014
    Most likely this “bill” is not actually a bill. It is called an EOB or Explanation Of Benefits. An EOB is a statement from your health insurance provider that details recent health care charges and plan benefit payments. You will receive an EOB when a laboratory (Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Boston Heart, SpectraCell, etc) submits a claim to your insurance provider for laboratory services rendered. You can tell the difference between a true bill and an EOB by looking for the phrase, “THIS IS NOT A BILL.” Even though the letter may say, “Patient owes $,” it is not a bill that you have to pay. Before you pay a “bill” from a test that we ordered, please make sure to call the number on the bill or our office to make sure you actually owe the money. It is very difficult to get a refund. It is better to pay a bill late rather than try to get your money back. •• Contact Numbers for Laboratories that we frequently use:
    1. 1. Health Diagnostics Laboratory: 1-877-4HDLABS (443-5227)
    2. 2. Boston Heart Diagnostics: 508-877-8711 (option 5) or billing@bostonheartdx.com
    3. 3. SpectraCell Laboratories: 1-800-227-5227
    ••• This EOB is usually for the advanced cholesterol panel which we call the “HDL Panel.” The HDL acronym stands for the lab where the blood work is sent (Health Diagnostics Laboratory). This should not be confused with your good cholesterol level (HDL = High Density Lipoprotein).
  • What is the difference between a DO and an MD?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Currently, there are two different degrees for physicians in America. There is a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) and Medical Doctorate (MD). These abbreviations represent which degree a physician achieved. The training for the two different degrees is nearly identical. Both types of physicians must go through 4 years of medical school as well as 3 or more years of residency in their specialty. The Doctors of Osteopathy do extra training on the skeletal system, and they are taught how to do special maneuvers and manipulations of the body.

    •• Dr. David Sneed is a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), and Dr. Philip Oubre has a Medical Doctorate (MD). Each physician has their own special interests and advanced knowledge. It will benefit you to read about their interests before making an appointment to decide which physician fits your personality the best HERE.
  • What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

    Admin22-01-2014
    A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. All physician assistants are graduates of an accredited program. They are also nationally and state licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician.
  • What can physician assistants (PA) do?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Physician assistant’s abilities are very similar to a physician’s abilities. A supervising physician is always available for contact to discuss a case or review a report. Physician assistants can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret lab tests, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling. They can write prescriptions, including controlled substance prescriptions.
  • How are physician assistants (PA) educated and trained?

    Admin22-01-2014
    The physician assistant educational program is similar to medical school curriculum. Physician assistants have college course requirements similar to medical students. The physician assistant training begins with classroom training then proceeds to clinical rotations. It is rigorous and intense. Most programs average 27 months in duration. Training continues as they work with the physicians that hire them. Physician assistants complete more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations with an emphasis on primary care. Rotations include family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine and psychiatry. Similar to physicians, physician assistants participate in lifelong learning. In order to maintain national certification, a physician assistant must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years.
  • What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Nurse practitioners (NP) are very similar to physician assistants (PA). Their training is different since nurse practitioners first get their Registered Nursing degree before proceeding to nurse practitioner education. They are trained in diagnosis and management of acute and chronic medical conditions. They provide some of the same care provided by physicians and maintain close working relationships with physicians. Nurse practitioners make prevention, wellness, and patient education priorities. Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, including controlled substances in all 50 states.
  • What is a physician extender?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Physician extender is an umbrella term that includes physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Physician extenders work in tandem with the physician to allow more availability for patients to be seen urgently. They often have more time to spend with patients than physicians.
  • How do doctors and physician extenders work together? If there’s a physician assistant or nurse practitioner in my practice group, can I request to be seen by them?

    Admin22-01-2014
    By design, physicians and physician extenders (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) work together as a team. All physician extenders practice medicine with physician supervision. The supervising physician does not always need to see the patient, but the physician extender always has the opportunity to discuss patient care with the physician. If you would like to see the physician extender, you can certainly request to be seen by him or her. Physician extenders deliver high-quality care and research shows that patients are just as satisfied with their care as they are with physician care.

    •• Meet our physician extenders on our website HERE.

    ••• Each healthcare provider at Austin Family Medicine Associates has their own special interests and advanced knowledge on topics. You should read about each provider on our webpage in order to decide which provider fits your personality the best.
  • Do you sell high-quality vitamins in your office? How much do your vitamins / supplements cost?

    Admin22-01-2014
    At Austin Family Medicine Associates, we carry high-quality vitamins and nutritional supplements that we prefer. Remember that not all vitamins and supplements are created equal. They need to be prepared correctly for your body to absorb them. Some vitamins, like fish oil, can go rancid if stored in warehouses at high temperatures. A recent study showed that many over-the-counter vitamins do not even contain the active ingredient on the label! It is important to make sure you buy quality supplements because you never know what you may actually be taking if you buy low quality or cheap supplements. The vitamins and supplements that we carry are excellent quality. We did the research for you, and we found high quality suppliers. There is no need to shop around for supplements if we carry them on our shelf.

    If you would like to purchase any of our supplements, simply ask at the front desk, and our staff would be glad to help you. Please visit our supplement list if you are interested in knowing the cost. HERE
  • Am I too old to begin Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?

    Admin22-01-2014
    No. You are never too old to begin therapy. It is true that you get more benefit if you start therapy early into menopause, but you can still get many of the benefits in your more mature years
  • Do you prescribe Bioidentical Hormones? How do I begin therapy?

    Admin22-01-2014
    1. How much do the office visits cost?
    We will bill through your insurance, so your cost should be similar to a regular doctor’s visit. You do not have to pay out of pocket for these visits. Since every insurance plan is different, we cannot guarantee that your office visits will be covered, but we do not usually have problems getting them covered.
    •• If you are self pay (no insurance), you can call our office to discuss cost.

    2. How much do the Bioidentical hormones cost since they have to be compounded?
     We work closely with pharmacies to ensure you get the best pricing. You can take your prescription and shop around for the best price, or we can send it to one of the pharmacies that our patients frequently use. The prices vary depending on the compound, number of ingredients, and dosage. Depending on your insurance, the price per 3 month compound can range from $40 to $120.

    3. How often do I need to be evaluated?
    When you are initially getting started on Bioidentical Hormone Replacement, you will need to be seen frequently (likely ever 2 months) until your levels and symptoms have improved. After you have are stable on a hormone regimen, we ask to see our patients every 6 months on an ongoing basis to assess levels and symptoms. Your body’s needs are constantly changing, so returning to the office every 6 months allows us to assess these changes and tweak the compounds to fit your lifestyle.

    4. How much does the blood work cost?
    We will bill your labs through your insurance, so your cost should be similar to a regular blood work. We will try to warn you before we draw a lab that we know is not covered. You should not have to pay out of pocket for blood work. Since every insurance plan is different, we cannot guarantee that your lab work will be covered, but we do not usually have problems getting them covered.

    5. Do I need to be fasting for hormone levels?
    No, you never need to be fasting for hormone levels. The levels can be drawn at any time of the day.

    6.Where do I find more information on Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
    Please go to our website dedicated to this topic HERE.
  • Do you have a question that is not listed here that you think should be here?

    Admin22-01-2014
    Please contact our Website administrator or Office Staff, so we can have this question and answer readily available to other patients.