THE FINE PRINT
PATIENT RIGHTS: At any time, patients may question and/or refuse therapeutic or diagnostic procedures or methods, and information they wish to know about the process and course of their treatment. Patients are also assured confidentiality that is protected both ethically by the practice and legally by Texas State Law. There are important exceptions to confidentiality that are legally mandated. In general terms, these exceptions include the following: 1) The law requires notification of relevant others if it is judged that a patient has an intention to harm him/herself or another individual. 2) The law obligates us to report any incident of suspected child abuse, neglect or molestation in order to protect the children involved.
MEDICAL RECORDS: Are not released to patient’s directly. Patient’s may request a summary of their care written by Dr. Roberts. Office staff are happy to send a patient’s full medical record to physicians of their choice. If you have an appointment with another physician and need to have your medical records sent to this provider, please notify us at least two weeks before your appointment date. Before any records can be released, you will need to sign a consent form. All of the information in your chart is strictly confidential and cannot be released to anyone without your written consent. However, this confidentiality does not apply when two physicians are coordinating care. The office does not charge a fee for records that are 20 pages or less. In the event that the medical records to be sent are greater than 20 pages a fee of .50 cents per page after page 20 will be incurred.
DEPENDENT PATIENTS: If you are requesting care as the guardian of a dependent adult, the same patient rights outlined above will apply. The guardian is financially responsible for the patient’s appointments. In general, specific information given by the patient will not be released. However, it is appropriate and necessary to discuss the patient’s treatment and progress with the guardian as the guardian’s positive participation in the patient’s care is very important. Any issues that represent imminent safety concerns will be discussed with the guardian.
APPOINTMENTS PAID FOR BY A PARTY OTHER THAN THE PATIENT: If you are requesting care as the guardian of a dependent adult, the same patient rights outlined above will apply. The physician/staff will keep the content of the patient’s visits confidential. This is an ethical principle of the practice and is also a legal requirement.
APPOINTMENTS AND BUSINESS HOURS: For the fastest service, appointments can be booked by calling the office at (361) 703-5026. Appointment times are generally on Monday-Thursday from 9-5. These hours are subject to change without formal notice.
EMERGENCY APPOINTMENTS: An emergency is determined to be such by Dr. Roberts and her staff. If there is an emergency the staff will do their absolute best to work the patient in. However, these appointments are generally made after hours. Because of this keep in mind this will likely cause a wait and we ask for your patience in this regard.
ESTABLISHING A PATIENT PHYSICIAN RELATIONSHIP: Scheduling an appointment will not construe the formation of a doctor patient relationship until after you have been seen for your first appointment. Prior to the appointment, Dr. Roberts reserves the right to decline the formation of the doctor patient relationship. A refund will not be given to any person that was seen in the clinic.
CANCELLATIONS: If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do so as soon as possible in order to avoid being charged a $200 fee for the first office visit and a $125 fee for a follow up appointment. Insurance cannot be billed in these instances. If the appointment can be filled there will be no fee incurred. No rescheduling will be done until fees for missed appointments are paid in full.
CREDIT CARD ON FILE: A credit card must be kept on file and permission is granted to the business to charge for no show appointments, late cancels that cannot be filled, and fees for office visits. No one will be scheduled without this information.
FORMS: All intake forms must be completed before an appointment is scheduled.
MESSAGES: For non-emergent questions and concerns (refills, minor side effects, appointment scheduling, etc.) please contact us by phone and a staff member will assist you. If no one is available, please leave us a voicemail message and your call will be returned as soon as possible. Allow 72 hours for refill request to be sent. If you have an urgent concern, you may contact the after-hours answering service.
PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCIES: In the event of a life-threatening emergency, (planning on injuring yourself, someone else, or ending your life) you must call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room to ensure immediate care. These situations cannot be handled by leaving a voicemail, email, or patient portal message and should not be done under any circumstances.
PHONE CALLS BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS: Brief phone calls can be an important part of monitoring an individual’s response to treatment. If a patient’s calls are of high frequency and or duration it is highly likely that they need to be seen sooner and may be asked to make an appointment. In order to prevent the abuse of such calls Dr. Roberts will charge $5/minute if a call requires more than 5 minutes to complete or if medication decision making is required.
MEDICATION REFILLS: Medications are prescribed based on assessment and discussion with the patient, and only after an office visit and exploration of the condition(s) involved. Medication will be prescribed in sufficient quantity to last until the next office visit plus 2-4 weeks excess. Prior authorization paperwork will not be completed outside of normal business hours and may take several days to complete in addition to several days to be processed by the insurance company. However, if a patient does not follow the recommended time course of follow up or misses a scheduled appointment at no fault of Dr. Roberts, then Dr. Roberts reserves the right to refuse refilling the medication until the patient is seen in the office. A fee of $10 fee will be charged each time a patient’s chart is pulled. The number of pills given outside of the window of recommended follow up is at Dr. Robert’s discretion and is not negotiable. This may range from a few days to a few weeks. If the need for refill is due to no fault of the patient, such as the pharmacy deleting the script or it is not sent at the appointment then no fee will be incurred.
STIMULANTS: Stimulants are closely monitored and regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). These medications require a special type of prescription (called a triplicate prescription/C-II) and cannot be called in to pharmacies. Patients taking these medications must be seen more frequently and come for office visits for refills. No refills on these medications are allowed and a new script must be sent to the pharmacy after being requested by the patient. A $10 fee will be charged with each refill to the account for the time that Dr. Roberts spends reviewing the chart and sending the prescription.
PREGNANCY: Notify Dr. Roberts if you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, are trying to conceive, or are not using any form of contraception. This is very important. Most medications are low risk for causing harm to baby. Generally, the risk to baby and mother is high when mother’s mental illness is untreated compared to a theoretical risk from the medication. For this reason, do not stop the medication until discussing this at an office visit with Dr. Roberts.
MISCELLANEOUS RECOMMENDATIONS: Dr. Roberts will not complete any paperwork for social security disability. The social security office will request Dr. Roberts and they will be sent directly to the location requesting the records. No fee will be incurred regardless of the length of the medical record. Dr. Roberts will absolutely render no opinion pertaining to disability. Dr. Roberts will also not fill out any paperwork, forms or write any letters in regard to CHL (concealed handgun license) clearance nor emotional support animals. No opinion will be rendered relating to parenting, CPS, or custody of minors.
LETTERS/ADDITIONAL PAPERWORK REQUESTS: Any letters to persons or companies, aside from your other physicians or therapists including FMLA and short term disability will be given a fee depending on the amount of time required to complete them which depends on complexity of the form. For example, short term disability forms are complex and often take 20-30 minutes to fill out. Versus FMLA which is simple and usually takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Generally, the fee is $5/minute. Patients are expected to pay for all requested documents before they are sent the requestor or picked up. Simple forms, such as clearance to return to work or a medical withdraw from college can be completed at your appointment and do not have a fee.
PAYMENT POLICY/FEE AGREEMENT: Payment by cash or credit card is required prior to receiving services. The office does not accept checks. No refunds will be given for rendered services. Accounts need to remain current in order to maintain ongoing treatment or formal termination with be pursued.
SUBOXONE: When prescribed Suboxone, you must follow the drug screen and office visit protocol that you discussed with Dr. Roberts. Suboxone and other medications used for opiate dependence are highly regulated by the DEA and we cannot refill these medications without meeting certain requirements. If you fail to follow protocols, we will not be able to prescribe the medication and you will be terminated from the clinic.
TERMINATION: While we do not expect this to be the case, there are rare occasions when it is necessary to terminate the physician-patient relationship. Termination of treatment may occur at any time and may be initiated by either the patient or the doctor. Reasons for termination by the physician are generally due to patient non-compliance with treatment, missed appointments, and maltreatment or threats towards the physician or office staff. Dr. Roberts will continue to provide refills and emergency care for 30 days as dictated by law after a notice of termination in order to allow sufficient time to find a new physician.
We trust that you understand the necessity for these policies and sincerely thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.