Question: What do I need to bring to my first visit?
- One week prior to your visit - please call to confirm your date and time - Please bring the referral from your Primary Care Doctor's office if one is required by your insurance - Please bring your Insurance Card and Information - Any medical records you may have, including x-ray and lab results - A list of questions and concerns you want to discuss - The completed forms downloaded from the website (see New Patient Info. and Current Patient tabs)
Question: Where do I have to go to get X-rays? How do I get my results?
We have the capability to take routine x-rays (plain films) as well as develop and interpret them. For more complicated studies such as MRIs or CT scans you will be referred to the facility used by your insurance company. In most cases, these studies will be scheduled near our office but they can be scheduled at locations more convenient for you. Results will be given to you at the time of your visit or communicated to you over the phone.
Question: Will I need blood tests? Where will they be done and how will I get results?
In most cases initial blood work is required to aid in diagnosing a Rheumatologic disease. While blood tests are helpful, most of the time they do not make the diagnosis. Several other things must be considered along with blood test results before a diagnosis can be made. Many medications require routine bloodwork to screen for their effectiveness and/or side effects.
Most of the time,, your bloodwork can be drawn and processed at our office. Results will be communicated to you by our staff as soon as they become available.
Question: How will I get my medications? How does the office handle refills?
Medications will likely be prescribed at your visit once a diagnosis has been made. Most Rheumatologic diseases do have medications that help control the illness or treat symptoms like pain. Sometimes, medication changes will be made over the phone when you report improvement or worsening of your symptoms. The majority of the time these medication changes will occur at your office visits. For refills of chronic/long term medicines, we ask that you bring your medication lists to get those refills at your follow up visits. Due to the large number of medications some of our patients require, we cannot provide refills for routine medications over the phone. We also cannot increase or refill controlled substances for pain without an office visit.
Medications for non-rheumatologic problems must continue to be filled by the prescribing doctor to allow us to concentrate on your Rheumatologic issues, our specialty!
Question: Will a Rheumatologist take over all my medical care? How will they work with my current doctor?
As stated above, we specialize in diagnosing and treating Rheumatologic diseases. While many parts of the body are involved in these illnesses, we coordinate the care of these specific conditions and ensure the treatments do not interfere with medications you are using for other conditions.
You will still need a Primary Care doctor to oversee your general medical care and to treat illnesses like infections, high blood pressure or diabetes. Our office will communicate with your physician by mail or by phone to serve as a part of the team overseeing your health care.
Question: Are there things besides medicines to help with the symptoms of Arthritis or Rheumatologic diseases?
Successful treatment of most Rheumatologic diseases requires not only medication for control of the disease and symptoms like pain but sometimes physical and occupational therapies which we can prescribe. A healthy lifestyle is very important, weight control - through diet and exercise supervised by your physician, limitation of alcohol and stopping smoking are very important. Some of our patients require counseling to help with the pain and frustration associated with their illness. We also encourage participation in local or national support groups. We can help you find the resources you need to maximize your potential.
Question: I've never worked with a Nurse Practitioner - what do they do? Will I ever see the doctor?
Nurse Practitioners have advanced training and are also fully trained by Physicians in their particular specialty to treat the illnesses in that specialty under a doctor's supervision. This treatment might include medication adjustments or in the case of Rheumatology, joint injections. Regardless of who you are scheduled with at your visit, your care is managed by the doctor.
Question: My symptoms have really kept me from doing things I enjoy - can they be brought under control?
Unfortunately, most Rheumatologic diseases have no cure. However, many times the pain and disability associated with them can be controlled through a combination of medication, physical and occupational therapy and a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, patients with these illnesses can and should continue to work and play as normal happy people. Many of these diseases actually worsen with inactivity and weight gain. We can help you with recognizing problems.
It is very important that you don't let these illnesses control you but that we help you to control them!
Wellstar Rheumatology at Vinings Health Park Wellstar Medical Group 4441 Atlanta Rd. SE Suite 315 Smyrna, GA 30080