Frequent Asked Questions
What is an internist?
An internist is a physician for adults, age 16 and older. That individual is knowledgeable in all the subspecialties of internal medicine, including but not limited to cardiology, pulmonology, dermatology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, nephrology, and neurology. That individual is also knowledgeable in orthopedic and surgical diagnosis and radiologic technique. She or he has spent three years after graduating medical school (with either an MD or DO degree) training in that specialty, usually ending with board certification.
Why should you have an internist?
Adults, especially as they age, need an individual who is knowledgeable in the healthcare marketplace, knows their history and can offer reasonable and timely advice on a wide variety of issues pertaining to health. An internist can make diagnoses, provide advice and treatment for many conditions, or make appropriate referrals to the correct subspecialists when the diagnosis is uncertain or the treatment plan complex. This latter role is arguably the most important for internists, and why they are more needed. The act of the referral may be one of the most important in the diagnostic and treatment pathway, because the referring internist has uncommon insight into the quality and temperament of the subspecialist population. The internist can also accelerate the diagnostic and treatment process by examination and testing done prior to referral, often with an eye towards narrowing the field of diagnostic choices. In addition, once the diagnosis or treatment plan has been clarified, the internist can often assume management of the problem, thus avoiding duplication of care in a subspecialty office.
What should I do to prepare for an office visit?
Come early, have your insurance card, bring your medications (or a card with the doses properly updated), and know your pharmacy (especially for extended prescriptions). For new patients, if possible, please print and fill out the new patient form. For returning patients, let us know of any changes to your name/address/telephone/insurance plan. While we endeavor to keep up with medicine, we cannot keep up with the nuances of insurance plans, which are changing as fast as the first. Please to the best of your ability stay knowledgeable of these insurance changes. Unless your visit is a follow-up visit, we would ask you to limit you appointment to one or two issues. As you would not burden your attorney with a property issue, a divorce, an accident claim and a complicated inheritance issue all in a 15 or 20 minute visit, so also we request the same courtesy of allowing us to focus on one or two issues. Apparently simple issues often require more time to formulate a diagnostic and treatment plan than would seem obvious from the perspective of one who has been experiencing the issue(s) for a long time.
How frequently do I need an annual physical?
The short answer is usually less than annually. We prefer to call them periodic health assessments because how frequently they are required depends on individual health situations. As age and medical complexity deepens, the need for check-ups may become more frequent. We will make recommendations pending the outcome of your visit.
Do you accept new patients?
Unfortunately our practice is currently closed to new patients.
What happens when hospitalization is required?
Hospital care since the turn of the century is largely in the hands of hospitalists, board-certified internists who only care for hospitalized patients. While on staff at Morristown Medical Center, we do not perform hospital services. The reasons are simple: the travel time required, the immediacy of service required for the acutely ill patient, and our need to remain devoted to the patients at our busy office. Most important is the second: the hospitalized patient deserves the immediacy of a physician on site for faster admissions, discharges, consultation with family and consulting physicians, and closer and quicker attention to changes in health status. Unless indicated otherwise, we would like to see you within a day or two of any ER visit or hospital discharge to ensure that your care has been completed, or more than likely continued.
What is a “PCP”?
PCP stands for primary care provider. A “PCP” is a term coined by the insurance industry and later government agencies to denote either a pediatrician, internist, family practitioner, or obstetrician/gynecologist. However because its meaning is easily confused with other less glamorous iterations of PCP, we do not encourage its use. We also discourage the use of GP, mostly because we do not know what it means. We prefer to be referred to as your internist; we are comfortable with that.