Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of a practice is this?
This is a direct care, or cash only, practice. This means that Touchstone does not contract with any insurance companies and/or third-party payers. Rather, payment is due at the time of service in the form of cash, check or credit card. A statement with diagnoses and a CPT code as well as ICD-10 codes (these are insurance codes) can be given to the patient so that he/she may submit the claim to his/her insurance company.
How do I know if my insurance company will reimburse me or apply the amount of my claim to my deductible?
Patients should contact their insurance companies and find out if their plan includes an “out of network” option. A claim may be submitted by the patient for reimbursement (or to be applied toward the patient’s deductible amount) for the “out of network” office visit.
What if my insurance plan doesn’t allow “out of network” visits?
Patients will need to decide whether they want to pay “out of pocket” for services knowing they will not be reimbursed by their insurance companies or that the amount paid will not be applied to their deductible (for those with high deductible plans).
If my insurance plan doesn’t allow for “out of network” office visits and I choose to pay “out of pocket” for the visit, can I use my Health Savings Account to pay for this?
Generally, yes. We will be providing medical services that are typically tax deductible and may be paid from a Health Savings Account or Medical Savings Account. Check with your plan administrator or tax professional to be sure.
What about Medicare?
The practice has opted out of Medicare. Accordingly, if you have Medicare and wish to remain with the practice, you will not be able to use any of your Medicare benefits for services received in this office. Medicare patients will be required to sign a contract which outlines the patient’s financial responsibilities for all services provided by Touchstone.
Is there a retainer fee?
Yes. An annual fee of $2,000 will be due at the same time each year - every 12 months from the initial sign up date. This retainer fee maintains your spot as a patient at Touchstone. A yearly physical with a follow up visit is provided as a service to each patient and must be used within each 12 month time frame. (No refund, No carry over). For those wanting unlimited visits, the retainer fee is $4,000 per individual or $7,500 per couple and is also due every 12 months from the initial sign up date. Some patients who signed up prior to July 2019 and maintained an active status with Touchstone may be offered an annual fee of $800 or $1000.
What is included in the physical exam and one month follow-up visit?
The annual physical exam includes review of all current medical problems, the performance of a head to toe exam and the initiation or refill of all medications. We will also discuss preventative care including nutrition, exercise, cancer screening and order any indicated tests such as ECG or lung testing, mammogram, bone density and necessary lab work. At the one month follow-up visit, we will review test results in person and answer any additional questions pertaining to the physical.
If my insurance plan does not have an “out of network” option and I am willing to pay “out of pocket” to be a patient in this practice, will the insurance company still cover labs or imaging studies (x-rays etc.) that my doctor orders?
Check with your insurance company to find out where you should go for labs and x-rays and to make sure they can be ordered by an “out of network” provider.
What about follow-up visits for chronic health problems or urgent sick visits if I do not choose the full retainer plan?
Doctors at Touchstone will see you as regularly as necessary for chronic health problems and if you are acutely ill, we will make every attempt to take care of you with same-day urgent visits. For both of these types of visits, you will be expected to pay at the time of service for the appropriate cost of service. You can request a statement to submit a claim to your insurance company. The doctors do not perform exams for chronic disability evaluation and do not manage chronic pain medications.
How much will I be charged for office visits (other than my annual physical exam and one month follow-up visit)?
Rates for visits are set according to complexity of problems and time spent attending to the medical issue. A simple urgent problem (such as an upper respiratory infection or urinary tract infection) will be $100. A more complex problem or more than one issue requiring 30-45 minutes will be $190. Visits requiring 60 minutes will be $360. Studies and procedures or injections will be billed at a nominal rate (available upon request). Rates will be reviewed annually and are subject to change without prior notice.
Will I always be able to see my doctor?
Touchstone is a shared practice. Patients can be seen by any physician. Office hours will be held Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm except on federal holidays. Most of the time our physicians will be able to see you in the clinic within 24 hours of calling for an urgent problem and will make reasonable efforts to accommodate same-day sick visit appointments.
We strive to provide excellent service, but on rare occasions, neither Dr. Bee, Dr. Lane nor Dr. Peddada will be available. In the case of planned absences, we will retain a temporary physician (sometimes called a “locum tenens”). We also plan to have a temporary physician available for unplanned absences, but we don’t guarantee availability.
Complete physical exams will be scheduled with your physician of choice, but we encourage you to become acquainted with all the doctors so that if you are urgently ill, everyone is familiar with your medical history. In addition, subject to availability, we are willing to see patients on an as needed basis after hours and on weekends at an additional charge so that urgent care visits can be avoided.
How do I reach a doctor after hours in the event of an urgent problem?
Call the office and you will be forwarded to the physician on call. In the event of an emergency, call 911.
Will the doctors treat problems over the phone?
Yes, if the doctor on call determines that it is appropriate to treat the problem in question without an office visit, she will provide phone management for a set phone management fee of $50.
Will my doctor see me in the hospital?
No. The practice will continue to use a hospitalist service which provides continuous coverage for inpatient care at each hospital in town. This has become standard of care practice throughout the country. “Hospitalists” are board-certified specialists who only see patients in the hospital for acute care.
Are there times when I won’t be able to see either Dr. Bee, Dr. Lane or Dr. Peddada?
Drs. Bee, Lane and Peddada use reasonable efforts to arrange their schedules so that at least one of the doctors is available for office visits.
The doctors plan to attend the annual American College of Physicians meeting together each spring. This is the most important medical conference of the year and they will continue to make this a priority. During this time, they will be available by phone and the office will be open to take your calls.
There may be other scheduled and unscheduled times where neither doctor is available. During such times, we will use reasonable efforts to have a temporary physician available.
Will it be easier to schedule an appointment and receive adequate time at each visit to address my needs?
Yes! Our practice is designed to make scheduling appointments easier and allow more time for each patient. Dr. Bee, Dr, Lane and Dr. Peddada look forward to providing you with exemplary personal care.
What if Touchstone Internal Medicine fills to capacity and I decide I want to become a patient?
The doctors use reasonable efforts to limit the practice so they can assure same-day urgent scheduling and quality time with patients. Therefore, when the practice fills to capacity, a waiting list will be started, and as patients leave the practice, new patients can be added on a first-come, first-served basis.
Do the doctors fill out disability paperwork?
No. The physicians at Touchstone Internal Medicine do not complete any disability paperwork.