Updated December 2, 2018
I am thrilled to have you board this ship with me, with the common goal of being part of the solution. I hope to provide you with some of the best care you have ever received (the “TLC experience”), in addition to accomplishing the three-fold Mission of TLC Family Health. The purpose of this agreement is to outline some guidelines that will help us accomplish these goals together.
Scheduling, Paying for, and Attending Appointments
For in-office, telephone or video visits, we’ve developed a new, unique scheduling system that drastically reduces wait times. Instead of simply specifying a start time, blocks of time are reserved, just like a lesson or class. For example, if you schedule a 40-minute appointment, your appointment must conclude by the time the 40-minute block is over. If more time is needed, another appointment will need to be scheduled, or a follow-up phone call can be made (usual charges apply – see next paragraph). This will ensure that subsequent patients can be seen on time.
As such (for in-office visits), please arrive with plenty of lead time to be able to be checked in and begin your visit at the appointed time. We recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early if you are an established patient, and 25-30 minutes early if you are a new patient. If you arrive late, if there is still an adequate amount of time left in your appointment slot, you may still see the provider up until the end of the block (also see our Late Policy below). In emergencies, visits that go longer than scheduled will be charged in 5-minute increments ($2.50 for gold members, $12.50 for silver members, and $25 for one-time visits). Phone calls made later to wrap up unfinished business are charged in the same way.
Remember that the practice of medicine (especially Family Medicine, which deals with the whole body, mind and soul) can be very unpredictable, and not all problems are equal (e.g., the evaluation of chest pain takes a lot longer than that of a skin lesion); therefore, there can be no guarantees as to how much will be accomplished in a particular visit. How much time you wish to reserve should be based on your past experience or the level of complexity of the problem(s) needing to be addressed. See the Book Appt. page for examples that will help you estimate how much time you may desire to reserve.
Late and No-Show Policy
If you know you are going to be late, please let us know (call us at 972-914-9421). If there is still an adequate amount of time left in your appointment slot, you may still come in, but your visit must still end at the appointed time (see Scheduling section above). If you cannot make it in or otherwise prefer, you have the option of converting your visit to a telephone or video visit. If you must reschedule, as a courtesy to other patients who may need the appointment slot, try to do so at least 2 hours prior to your appointment start time.
Telephone, Video, and Portal Visits
When you reserve a telephone appointment, I will do my very best to call you at the appointed time.
When you reserve a video appointment, go to www.doxy.me/drcluff shortly before the appointment time and check in. I will do my very best to join you at the appointed time.
When you wish to address concerns via the Patient Portal, you may send us a message at any time. Portal messages must not be used for urgent matters, as response time is based on availability; most responses will occur within a few hours, but almost guaranteed within 24 business hours (if the problem becomes urgent while waiting, contact us as below). Portal visits are billed after the fact, according to the amount of time spent addressing them, including research time (for every 5-minute increment: $2.50 for gold members, $12.50 for silver members, and $25.00 for follow-up from one-time visits).
How to Reach Us
For clinical/patient issues: Through the Elation Passport Patient Portal
For non-clinical issues: E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. DO NOT include Private Health Information (PHI) as it is not a secure e-mail.
Office phone: 972-914-9421.
If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
If you require an urgent care visit during office hours, go online to schedule an appointment (we reserve a few slots each day for urgent care). If no slots are available, call our office, and we will try to accommodate you. If you still can’t get through, follow steps 3(1) or 3(2) below.
If you require attention after hours (or even during the day if no appointments are available and you cannot reach us via the office phone), remember that one of my major goals is to save you money by preventing a visit to an urgent/emergent care center:
If it is urgent and you need to contact me immediately (i.e., you need me to stop whatever I am doing and call ASAP), text "Call (first name) NOW" to my personal cell phone (provided in the New Patient Orientation PowerPoint presentation attached to your Welcome e-mail – if you cannot find it, send me a message through the Portal). If you do not hear from me within an acceptable time frame, call me.
If it is urgent but can wait up to a couple of hours, send me a message through the Elation Passport Patient Portal, then text “Please check portal.” If I don’t respond in the time frame needed, revert to #1 above.
Notes: 1) The above communications will be billed according to our Pricing policy, i.e., according to total time spent. 2) In the rare case I do not respond, there is likely a very good reason (e.g., I’m zip-lining, in surgery, in the shower, or on a plane; or my cell phone died; or I’m in a service that requires cell phones to be off), and you still need to seek whatever care you feel is necessary (e.g., at an urgent or emergency care center).
Use of My Cell Phone
Please use my cell phone only for emergencies as outlined above. If you call me, since I do not store patient information in my phone, I will likely send you to voicemail, since I receive calls from a lot of telemarketers. Please do not text me for non-urgent issues - if you do, I will kindly ask you to send the message through the Patient Portal to facilitate proper documentation in the chart.
When I’m out of Town or Sick
There may be times that I leave town or become ill. Whenever I do, I am usually still reachable via the Patient Portal or the office phone (972-914-9421) – or you may text me as above if it is an emergency. Depending on the circumstances, I may even be able to schedule a telephone or video visit. If I am unavailable or unreachable and you need urgent care, go to an urgent or emergency care center. When I am unavailable, my medical assistant will often still be in the office for testing or injections, which I will orchestrate.
I usually put enough refills on a medicine to last until I need to see you again. So, if you are on your last refill, please schedule an appointment. If you do not feel you need an appointment, you may send me the refill request through the Patient Portal. There is a $5 charge for silver members for refills between visits.
Patients who require ongoing Schedule II-V controlled substances must be seen every 3 months until stable for 6 months, then every 6 months thereafter. These medicines will not be prescribed without signing and abiding by our Controlled Substances Contract. Narcotics (such as hydrocodone and Tylenol III with codeine) and benzodiazepines (such as Valium and Xanax) are not prescribed for regular, long-term use. You will be referred to a pain management doctor or psychiatrist if that is desired or needed.
Using your HSA Card and Submitting Expenses to Your Insurance for Reimbursement
Monthly membership fees are not yet considered to be a qualified medical expense by the IRS (although there is some movement on Capitol Hill in the right direction), but all other expenses can be applied to your HSA or submitted to insurance if desired (reimbursement will likely be at out-of-network rates). If you would like other expenses to be billed to an HSA card, simply call us (972-914-9421) and we will add it to your file. Gold TLC Family Health members consider most expenses (outside the monthly membership fees) too small to go through the trouble of submitting them to insurance; however, If you are an insured silver member, you may ask for a superbill for office visits so those expenses can be submitted. Unfortunately, because I have opted out of Medicare, Medicare patients cannot submit bills for reimbursement. If you have Medicare, you must agree to this stipulation (by signing a Medicare Private Contract, available for download from our Forms page).
TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
One of our primary goals is to improve your health through “TLC.” By joining this practice, you agree that you will try hard to work with us in this way to improve your health!
Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for helpful tips and to keep up with goings-on! I look forward to embarking on this journey with you! I plan on making changes to my practice model if I feel it will help me accomplish my Mission, so please give me feedback on how I am doing, what I can do better, or any other ideas you would like to share.
Dr. Cluff (and staff)