First Visit

FirstVisitThank you for your interest in Valley Health Care.  As a patient, you will find that we are committed to getting to know you, and empowering you with knowledge to keep you well informed of your health.  Because of this, in order to become a new patient, there are a few things that you must do:

1. Fill out patient forms here.
(You may also come by the office and pick up a New Patient Packet.)

2. Read our Patient Information below to find out more about our policies.

3. Fax forms to: (706) 295-4865.  You may also bring the completed New Patient Packet to our office.

4. Pay patient deposit and schedule first appointment. There is a $50 required deposit. Please bring check by our office or call (706) 295-5150 and give credit card information when scheduling first appointment. This fee will be returned upon keeping first appointment. Also, patients must have completed all forms and made their deposit at least 24 hours before their appointment or they will be rescheduled. We are sorry to have to institute this deposit protocol but the high rate of broken new patient appointments has forced us to take this step.

Patient Information

Services

Dr. Anne is board certified in Family Practice and can diagnose and manage 90% of medical conditions without need for a referral. Providing "one stop shopping" for patients is a growing trend in healthcare and patients have indicated a strong preference for physicians who understand this concept. Together with Molly Tant, APRN, we treat hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides), gastrointestinal problems, tendonitis, skin conditions including acne and dermatitis, urinary tract problems, acute illness such as coughs, colds and sore throats, and many other conditions (see services page).  We can remove skin tags, warts and some moles.  There are many services offered at Valley Health Care, if you are not sure, please feel free to ask a nurse. Dr. Anne sees patients, both male and female ages 8 and up and Molly sees both male and female patients ages 12 and up.

Appointments

To schedule or change an appointment, please call us at (706) 295-5150. All appointments must be rescheduled at least one (1) business day before appointment. Please see our missed appointment policy for further clarification.

Sick Visits

We understand that situations come up from time to time such as sore throats, infections and sprains. We keep a few time slots open for “work-ins” every day. We know that it is important that you be seen quickly so you can return to your daily life. We guarantee to see you the same day (if calling after 3:00 p.m., we will guarantee that you will be seen the next day).

We ask that you call ahead for same day “work-in” appointments to avoid “walk-ins” in which a patient walks in off the street to be seen. This puts the schedule behind and makes other patients wait who already have an appointment. Please observe this policy.

Let Us Know Up Front

During your exam, our providers will give their entire attention to you and your situation. However, different situations take different amounts of time. We ask that you be upfront with all complaints when scheduling appointments. Our office schedules the amount of time a healthcare provider will spend with you based upon the symptoms that you are exhibiting. The providers will only be able to see you for the complaints for which you have been scheduled. If you have additional complications that arise during conversation with the provider, you will be asked to make another appointment. In many cases, this is also being done to prevent you from having to make a payment out of pocket. Unfortunately, insurance companies often will not pay for multiple complaints in one visit, making you responsible for the bill. Your time is important to us and to you; this policy helps to keep your wait time to a minimum.

Missed Appointments

You are expected to keep your appointments with providers. We do not employ the common practice of "double-booking". We only schedule one patient per time slot. An empty appointment slot means a lost opportunity for another individual to have his/her healthcare needs addressed. We require notification of an appointment cancellation at least twenty-four (24) business hours prior to the scheduled appointment. Thus the inability to make it to a Monday appointment would require notification by Friday, preferably by Thursday. We make a notation in your chart regarding the first broken appointment. Any exceptions to the 24- hour rule will be determined on a case-by-case basis. With the exception of unforeseeable situations, if you miss an appointment, a notation will be made in your chart.

We make every effort to remind you of your appointment times. Sleeping through the appointment, forgetting it or getting confused about the date of your appointment is not acceptable. As a courtesy to you, we call you two days before the appointment to confirm your appointment. Because missed appointments are penalized, you are strongly encouraged to call and explain the situation if something unforeseen arises and causes you to miss an appointment.

After the second broken appointment, you will be required to keep a credit card on file. You will be charge a fee of $45.00 for all broken appointments after two missed appointments. Your insurance will not cover this fee, so you will be expected to honor this requirement. This fee is designed to help keep the overall cost of healthcare down. Our protocol is to dismiss a patient after four missed appointments and we sincerely hope that this never becomes necessary.

We remain an independent physicians practice so that we can give you the individual attention that you deserve. We value our patients and try to keep the overall cost of healthcare down. We ask that you keep scheduled appointments in order to help us accomplish this goal and be able to continue to deliver quality healthcare to you for many years to come.

Notification of Lab Results

You will either be notified by mail, phone or asked to schedule a recheck in order to review your lab results. Keep in mind that one of the missions of Valley Health Care is patient education. This means that our providers will take the time to educate you on what the results of your lab mean to you. They will also educate you on the steps that you can take to correct lab results that are outside of normal ranges. At the time of having laboratory procedures performed, be sure to ask how you will receive the results.

You will be notified by mail or telephone about all lab tests, pap smears, mammograms and other studies that are ordered by Dr. Anne or Molly. We send letters about routine and normal results and call about more complicated or abnormal reports. If you do not hear from the office about such items within 3 weeks of it being performed, it is your responsibility to contact the office about the status of the test results.

PLEASE do NOT call the office for results just a few days after the test was performed; remember to give us the 3 week lead time. It takes time to process the many test reports that come into the office on a daily basis. Dr. Anne and Molly have to personally review, sign and make recommendations on every single report coming in. This is very time consuming and they work hard at being thorough in their evaluations.

After Hours Coverage

Dr. Anne takes call Monday through Thursday nights after regular office hours. All you have to do is call the main office number and you will be instructed on what to do. Dr. Anne only takes urgent calls after hours. Requests for prescription refills and appointments are not considered to be urgent. Dr. Anne no longer uses an answering service and is now taking her own call on her cell phone. On weekends, she switches off with three other physicians and we leave a message on our answering machine as to which physician is on call and what number to call to contact them. Please do not call Dr. Anne if she is NOT on call.

Dr. Anne shares weekend call with three other physicians so she usually covers every fourth weekend. That means either Dr. Anne or one of her colleagues covers Friday through Sunday night call. She shares call with the following physicians: Dr. James Collin, Dr. Brenda Budlong, and Dr. Joseph Biuso. They only cover on weekends taking turns with Dr. Anne.

If you are having chest pain or stroke like symptoms go straight to the emergency room. Don’t even bother to call Dr. Anne! There are exciting new drugs for both these conditions that can stop any damage from occurring but they must be administered with 2 hours of onset of symptoms. It is IMPERATIVE that patients with possible stroke, mini-stroke or heart attack get to the emergency room as quickly as possible.

Dr. Anne needs “down time” just like everyone else and taking time off allows her to maintain her own emotional health. Dr. Anne usually takes call even when she is “off”. As a rule, Dr. Anne takes the week of Spring Break for Rome City Schools off and takes a week off in the summer. Any other off days are usually combined into a long weekend.

Hospitalization

Dr. Anne restricts her practice to outpatient medicine; in other words, office visits. If you require hospitalization, Dr. Anne has made arrangements at Floyd Medical Center for you to be taken care of by the Floyd Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program. This is the program in which Dr. Anne trained; the residents provide excellent care and are closely supervised by attending physicians. The resident physician usually sees the patient more than once a day and stays at the hospital all day on most days. This allows closer monitoring of labs and studies. For example, the doctor will often personally review x-rays with the radiologist rather than just read the paper report. If you are admitted to the hospital, be sure to put Dr. Anne as your primary care physician. This will ensure that copies of all records are sent to Valley Health Care.

Patients admitted to Redmond Regional Medical Center will be taken care of by several “hospitalist” physicians on staff. These are physicians who only attend patients while in the hospital and who do not maintain a traditional office. You will actually be followed more closely by the “hospitalist” than Dr. Anne (or any physician managing a busy office practice) would be able to do.

It is important for you to know that Dr. Anne has courtesy privileges at both hospitals. Even though she chooses to limit her practice to outpatient medicine, maintaining courtesy privileges is a sign that her colleagues recognize Dr. Anne’s expertise and level of training.

Dr. Anne regrets that she can’t follow patients both in the office and in the hospital. She realizes that hospitalization is a traumatic event and patients and their families need reassurance during such a time. However, she realized years ago that she couldn’t successfully be the “perfect” doctor always available no matter what and be a good mother to her three sons. Something had to give. This is why she decided to limit her practice to outpatient medicine.

Many patients are not aware that this is a huge trend in America that had its roots in European medicine. More and more physicians are limiting their practice to an outpatient office setting and using “hospitalists” to manage hospital care. Patients today are “sicker” when they are admitted to the hospital than in past years due to insurance limitations to hospital admissions. Sicker patients require closer monitoring which is difficult to provide if the doctor is trying to see an office full of patients all day long.

What if My Child Needs to See the Physician?

A parent or legal guardian must accompany patients who are minors on the patient's first visit. This accompanying adult (who consents to the treatment) is responsible for payment of the account, according to the policy outlined on the previous pages. We will not be involved in separation/divorce disputes. We see patients from ages 8 and up. If your child is younger and interested in becoming a patient, please let us know.