Policies and Procedures

What are the Policies and Procedures at Altitude?

We would like to thank you for choosing Altitude Family & Internal Medicine as your medical provider.  We are happy that you have decided to “take your health to a higher level.”  We would like to keep you informed regarding current office policies.  In this complex healthcare system, our goal is to be as open and transparent with you as possible.  Policies may change at any time and without notice.  Updated information will always be available at our facilities and online.

The policies and procedures were created for your protection and ours.  By becoming a patient at Altitude Family & Internal Medicine, you are agreeing to abide by the policies and procedures.

Will I automatically be accepted as a new patient?

Applying to be a new patient does not necessarily mean that you will be accepted as a patient.  A Doctor-patient relationship does not exist until you have been seen by one of our medical providers for an initial appointment, your medical history including prior medical records has been reviewed, and the provider and facility agree to accept you as a patient.

What are your office hours?

Our facility is currently open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

In order to best serve you, we have recently added virtual office visits and are considering extended office hours in the near future.

How do I schedule an appointment?

You may schedule an appointment by calling our schedulers at (303) 730-2167.  You may also schedule online via our website.

We see patients by appointment only. Appointments may be made during regular business hours.  A limited number of same day appointments are available for urgent issues and sudden illness, however in this situation you may need to schedule with someone other than your regular provider.

Please contact us as early as possible to secure your requested time.

What if I need something after the office is closed?

For a serious emergency, please go to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.

Most insurance companies offer “help lines” staffed with nurses to help you coordinate minor issues.  The telephone number is often listed on your insurance card.

Our on-call provider are available after hours to speak with other medical facilities such as hospitals regarding your care or for other urgent issues, and can be reached via our main telephone number.

Non-urgent or inappropriate after hours calls may incur a charge that is not covered by your insurance company.  Our providers will not prescribe medications after hours.

What insurances do you accept?

We accept most commercial insurances and Medicare.

We accept Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, including United AARP Medicare Complete.

We are one of a few practices in Denver accepting the new Bright Health plan purchase through the Colorado insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.

We have two options for self insured patients, with simple, transparent, and reasonable pricing.

We accept Kaiser insurance only if you have the “Flexible Choice” plan (formerly known as Kaiser Triple Option).

Unfortunately, we are not accepting Medicaid patients at this time, but would be happy to refer you to a local facility that does.

Do you have any options for me if I do not have insurance?

We are happy to manage your medical care even if you do not have insurance.  You may select from 2 options:

  1. Become a member of our Direct Primary Care service.  With this, you pay a low monthly fee of $79 along with $10 copays each time that you are seen in the office.
  2. Pay per visit according to our discounted Self-pay fee schedule.

With either option we have negotiated special discounts with third party laboratory and radiology facilities to maximize your care while keeping your costs as low as possible.

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

Please call our office at least 24 hours in advance if you are unable to keep your appointment time.    Any patient who fails to notify at least 24 hours in advance or fails to show up for their appointment may incur a $50 to $100 charge that is not covered by your insurance company, depending on the type of appointment.

What should I do if I am going to be late for my appointment?

If you are more than 10 minutes late for your appointment, your appointment time will be changed to the next available appointment, may be delayed accordingly, and may be changed to another provider.

If we do not have another appointment time available on the same day, your appointment be cancelled and rescheduled for another day and you will be responsible for any cancellation charges that apply.

What if the doctor running late for my appointment?

At Altitude Family & Internal Medicine, we consistently outperform the national averages with respect to patient wait times. However, it is also important to us that we put quality patient care ahead of schedules.  Sometimes this means that our patients may have to wait if their provider has gotten behind with an unexpected emergency, a complex condition, or an unanticipated complication.  We understand that your schedule is busy and that your time is valuable.  Please let us know if you have waited more than 15 minutes so we can ensure that you have been properly checked in, and update you on the current schedule status.

Also, please remember that our facility is running several different schedules at the same time.  If someone who arrived after you is called before you, they may be having blood drawn or be seeing a different provider.

Can you see my child who is a minor?

Of course, all of our providers are trained in Pediatrics.

Regarding minors… Patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult or have written permission for treatment from a parent or guardian.

Can you answer my questions about billing?

At Altitude Family & Internal Medicine, we understand how complicated and confusing medical billing process and the statements you receive may seem. This section will hopefully help you have a better understanding of the medical billing process, and answer common questions that you might have.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in association with the American Medical Association (AMA) establish and publish coding regulations used by Medicare and private insurance carriers to process medical claims. Altitude Family & Internal Medicine follows these published guidelines when it submits claims, and this may affect your bill.

Service Charges

Appointments missed or cancelled without 24 business hours notice may be charged a fee of $50 – $100, depending on the amount of scheduled time.

Who should assign as PCP with my insurance company?

If your insurance company requires that you assign a PCP, this must be done prior to being seen in our office.  If PCP assignment is required by your insurance carrier and you fail to comply, you will personally be responsible for all charges from our facility that are denied by your insurance carrier.

You may assign any of our physicians as your PCP.  If you are unsure of who to assign, you may select Dr. Doug Hansen as he functions as our Medical Director.

How should I pay for my visit?

Copayments and coinsurance payments are due at the time of your visit. This policy is based on federal regulations established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Please see our billing FAQ for further information. We accept cash, major credit cards, and debit cards for payments.

Will I receive an invoice for my visit?

Once your claim has been adjudicated by the insurance company, you will receive an invoice.  If you have signed up for the patient portal, you may also receive an electronic invoice.

All invoices sent to patients are expected to be paid in full promptly upon receipt.  Accounts not paid within 30 days may be subject to late fees, collections fees, or legal action as applicable.   Patients with a past due balances on their account are required to pay their balance in full prior to receiving future service.  Unpaid accounts may also result in dismissal from the practice.

Will you bill my insurance company for me?

At Altitude Family & Internal Medicine, we understand how complicated and confusing the medical billing process and the statements you receive may seem. We are happy to bill your insurance company for the services you receive as a courtesy to you.  As a courtesy to you, we will file all claims for our service with your primary insurance company.  If you have Medicare, we will automatically file a claim with your secondary insurance as well.  Once we know your insurance has paid in full on their portion of the bill, the remaining balance of the bill will become the patient’s responsibility and accordingly an invoice will be sent.

Services billed on your behalf are provided to you on credit, with no guarantee your insurance will cover any or all services provided. Please be advised that the ultimate financial responsibility for services provided does not belong to your insurance company, but to the person receiving the services or their guardian.

Your medical insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance carrier.  Altitude Family & Internal Medicine is not a party to that contract.  Your coverage, the requirements for pre-authorization, pre-certification, specialist consultation, deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance are all defined in your policy.  You are responsible for reading, understanding, and following the procedures outlined in your policy handbook. We will be happy to assist you when and where we can with specific questions and concerns. Your employer, insurance agent, or the federal government determines the range of benefits eligible to you. Please see our billing FAQ for further information.

When do I have to pay if I am self-insured?

Payment-in-full is due at the time of service.  We do provide discounted pricing to our non-insured patients for paying at the time of service.  In the interest of transparency and disclosure, we have compiled a list of the most common office charges available for your review.

Can I be seen for an issue that is covered by a motor vehicle policy or other third party liability insurance?

You may be seen in these situations, however we will not file charges to MVA insurance policies, workers’ compensation, attorneys, or any other third party.

All charges for services rendered in these instances are payable in full at the time of your visit.  You will need to submit your charges and seek reimbursement from the third party.

How should I request prescription refills?

Typically, you will be given an appropriate amount of medicine and or refills to get you to your next recommended appointment; therefore the best time to get a prescription refill is at your next appointment.  We do realize that occasionally, however, you will need a refill prior to you next scheduled appointment.  In this case, refills should be requested from your pharmacy who will then contact us for authorization.  Please do not wait until you have run out to request refills, as it may take 72 hours to process the request. Prescriptions and refills will not be authorized outside of normal business hours.

Can I request an antibiotic over the phone?

We believe that antibiotics are important for a number of medical conditions. It is important that all potential infections be carefully evaluated; therefore antibiotics cannot be prescribed without a face-to-face evaluation in our office.

Will you prescribe medications to manage chronic pain?

We believe that narcotics are good for a limited number of problems.  Narcotics will not be routinely prescribed for long term use.  If you have a need for chronic narcotics or have narcotic dependence, we will be happy to refer you to a pain specialist.

How can I find out about my laboratory or test results?

At Altitude Family & Internal Medicine we do not subscribe to the old adage that “no news is good news.” We believe that all of our patients should take charge and be informed of their health, and we recommend that you schedule a follow-up appointment 10-14 days after testing to review your results in detail.

If a follow-up appointment is not scheduled, routine laboratory and test results will be reported to you within 10-14 days of testing. If you have not heard from us in this time frame, we ask that you call our office to request your results.

For a Annual Wellness Visit or Complete Physical, we recommend that you schedule your blood draw 10-14 days in advance so that we can discuss your results at your physical.

Urgent labs and tests will be reported to you as soon as we receive them. In these cases please make sure that we have a way to get into immediate contact with you.

What happens when I need a referral to a specialist?

Referrals are completed as soon as possible, and are typically transmitted to your insurance company and/or specialist on the same day as your appointment with us.  Additionally, you will receive the specialist’s name and telephone number from our office that same day; if you do not please ask for the information.

Insurance often make quick changes to their provider networks and in most cases do not inform us of these changes.  As a patient, it is your responsibility to ensure that your specialist is on your plan.  It is also your responsibility to ensure your specialist receives any test results that they may need.  You should pick-up a copy of any test results from our office and/or the diagnostic testing facility and hand deliver them to your specialist.

Please understand that it can sometimes take a week or longer for your referral to be approved by your insurance company and that it may take a few weeks to get an appointment with a specialist. This is not something we have control over.

Do I need an Annual Wellness Visit or Complete Physical Exam?

We believe that routine, annual complete physical exams and screening lab tests are very important of good health and the cornerstone of prevention and highly recommend these visits for all of our patients.

Our schedule for preventive exam fills very early, so please plan accordingly for scheduling.

Please see the section on Annual Wellness Visits for more information.

How can I communicate most effectively with my medical provider?

The Physicians, Mid-level providers, Nurses, and Medical Assistants are all an integral and collaborative part of your Health Care Team at Altitude Family & Internal Medicine.  Phone calls during business hours are typically answered and triaged by our trained staff.  This enables our providers to spend more time with patients in the office.  In the event our staff cannot address your concerns, they will consult with your provider and return your call as soon as possible.

You may also reach out through our convenient and secure patient portal.

Please note that e-mail and fax should not be used for urgent issues as they may be checked infrequently.  Also, please note that in certain instances we may not be able to contact you by email or fax due to privacy issues.

Can you explain your privacy practices and it under what circumstances might you disclose my confidential health information?

This office is required by law to maintain the privacy of our patients and provide individuals with a notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to protected health information.  A copy of the HIPAA Privacy Policy Statement of Altitude Family & Internal Medicine is always available for your review and you may have a copy for your records.

Altitude Family & Internal Medicine may use and share your confidential health information with others in order to treat you, to arrange for payment of your bill, and for issues that concern Altitude’s operations and responsibilities including but not limited to:

  • Communicating to appropriate individuals (using our best judgment) in the event of an emergency
  • Disclosing adverse events to the FDA
  • Complying with laws regarding to workers’ compensation claims
  • Reporting to the department of public health or health oversight agencies as required by law
  • Reporting abuse or neglect as required by law
  • Reporting to correctional institutions for the health and safety of other individuals
  • Reporting to law enforcement agencies as allowed or required by law
  • Reporting for judicial or administrative proceedings as allowed or required by law
  • Disclosing information to researchers when an institutional review board has reviewed a research proposal, approved the research, and established protocols to ensure the privacy of your protected heath information

Additionally, in cases of fraudulent or diversionary behavior, you may lose your right to protection of your health record, and your record in its entirety may be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Do you ever terminate patients from your practice?

While it does not happen often, under certain circumstances we will dismiss a patient.

If you are dismissed from the practice it means you can no longer schedule appointments, get medication refills, or consider us to be your medical provider. You will have to find a medical provider in another practice. We will notify you personally and/or send a letter to your last known address notifying you that you are being dismissed.  If you have a medical emergency within 15 days of the date of the dismissal, we will see you for that reason only.  We will forward a copy of your medical record to your new doctor after you let us know who it is and sign an approved release form. Common reasons for dismissal include:

  • Fraudulent behavior, such as failure to be honest and forthcoming with your medical history or in notifying us of other physicians that you have or are currently seeing
  • Failure to keep appointments, excessive cancellations, or excessive tardiness
  • Noncompliance on medical issues or practice policies and procedures
  • Inappropriate conduct, including disrespectful or abusive behavior towards our staff
  • Failure to pay your bill

In cases such as a verbal or physical threat of any type, the incident will be immediately reported to local law enforcement and the appropriate charges will be filed.

Read more: http://altitudemedicine.webnode.com/news/policies-and-procedures/

Who should I contact if I have a concern about the practice?

At Altitude Family & Internal Medicine, it is our mission to provide excellent, comprehensive, and coordinated patient-centered medical care. We take all patient concerns seriously. If you have questions regarding any of our patient policies and procedures, or have concerns with any part of our practice we ask that you submit them in writing either on paper or by email to info@altitudemedicine.com.