Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve created an extensive ‘FAQ’ page to share our most frequently asked questions about GI care. This patient guide covers inquiries about our practice, procedural questions and insurance policies.

If you have additional questions, please contact our office.

General Questions

Procedure-related Questions

Insurance & Billing Questions

General Questions

Do I need a referral to request an appointments?

Every insurance plan is different; please call your insurance carrier to determine whether or not you need a referral from your primary care physician. As a rule, patients with Medicare and a PPO insurance plan do not need a referral. Patients with an HMO insurance plan typically do require a referral.

Do I need to bring my medical records to my first visit?

It is important that you obtain your medical records from your primary care physician or referring physician as well as any records from a recent emergency room visit or hospitalization. If you have seen another gastroenterologist previously, please bring these records with you. Having the relevant medical records will assist the physician in learning more about your health history and enables the physician to better serve your needs. Medical information from local hospitals and laboratories including test results are typically reported in the electronic health record system but this may take up to a week or more to be posted.

Why do I have to update my patient information every time I have an appointment?

In order to file your insurance claims accurately, we must have your most recent information along with a copy of your insurance card. This will ensure all of your insurance claims are being filed correctly and in a timely manner.

How long is a typical office visit?

Up to thirty (30) minutes depending upon the complexity of your medical problem.

How do I obtain a copy of my medical record?

Our office will provide you with a complimentary copy of your medical record. If your medical record is lengthy, a cost may be incurred. You will need to fill out a medical record release form. If you have a special request, please let our staff know.

Where do I park for my appointment?

For your office visit, our office building has a parking lot with an attendant. The parking lot entrance is on Geary Blvd (east side of office building). For your procedure visit, you can park in the parking facility affiliated with the endoscopy center or hospital.

What is your appointment cancellation policy?

We require 24 hours notice to cancel an office appointment and 72 hours notice to cancel a procedure. These hours apply to business days only. Failure to cancel an appointment in a timely manner will incur a cancellation fee.

How do I request a refill of a medication?

Please have your pharmacy either send an electronic request (via our electronic health record system) or have them fax your refill request to our office at (415) 346.0161. We can usually respond to the refill request within 1-2 business days.

What do I do if I have an emergency?

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Procedure-related Questions

Do I really need to have a colonoscopy?

The need for a colonoscopy is real. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. amongst both men and women, yet it is totally preventable. During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist can remove benign polyps that have the potential to grow into colon cancer. By following the recommended screening guidelines, colon cancer is essentially preventable.

Do I need to come in for an office consultation prior to my screening colonoscopy?

Not necessarily. Our staff will request that you fill out a Patient Questionnaire and may request relevant records from your primary care provider. After reviewing this information, the physician may decide that it is not necessary for you to be seen in the office prior to your colonoscopy. Generally, this only applies to a patient who is in good health, without any active significant medical problems, and who is not taking a blood thinner (e.g. Plavix or Coumadin). If an office consultation is deemed to be necessary, the physician will review your medical history and medications, possibly order some basic lab tests and/or make medication dosage adjustments, as well as explain the procedure. This is standard medical practice and will ensure that you are prepared for the procedure.

My friend recently had a procedure and his/her prep was different than mine. Why?

Different physicians prefer different preparations for colonoscopy. You should follow the preparation instructions exactly as it was prescribed for you. Our physicians have a lot of experience in using the different colonoscopy preparations and have decided upon using SUPREP because of its low total volume and superior cleansing results. Any questions you have should be directed to our staff.

I have a procedure scheduled and now I have some last minute concerns or issues; what do I do?

Please refer to either the endoscopy or colonoscopy preparation sheet that provided to you. If you still have questions, call the office and speak with our staff.

Does a colonoscopy hurt?

No. We offer propofol sedation at our affiliated endoscopy center, Golden Gate Endoscopy Center. You will sleep through your procedure and wake up shortly after the procedure is completed. Patient comfort during a procedure is a very high priority of our physicians.

Will I be in a private room for my procedure?

Endoscopy and Colonoscopy are always done behind closed doors, in a private room, with no other patients around. Your privacy is a top concern.

How will I feel after my procedure?

After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area. Most people feel fine after waking up. Some patients feel a bit woozy, but this is temporary. You will be watched closely by one of our nurses and given fluids. You may have some gas, which could cause mild temporary discomfort. When you are fully awake, you will dress into your clothes and then be discharged.

How long will I be at the endoscopy center for my procedure?

Approximately 2 hours after you have arrived and registered.

What do I need to bring with me for my procedure?

Please bring a list of your current medications including over-the-counter medicines, as well as a current copy of your insurance card. It is advisable for you to bring the phone number of the person who will be picking you up after the procedure (see below). Dress in comfortable clothing. Do not wear jewelry or finger nail polish.

Will I be able to drive after my procedure?

No. You will not be able to drive for the remainder of the day of your procedure. You will need someone to drive you home after your procedure. If you are dropped off or your transportation leaves during the procedure, the staff will need a phone number where they can be reached. You may resume normal activities, including driving, on the day following the procedure.

When and what can I eat after my procedure?

You can eat as soon as you leave the procedure facility. It is recommended that your first meal consist of relatively “light” food such as chicken soup, a turkey sandwich, or eggs & toast. Since you will have received sedation and your stomach will be empty, eating anything too rich or heavy might give you an upset stomach. You may resume your normal diet after the initial meal following your procedure.

When can I expect my test results?

Biopsy results usually take 3-5 business days for the report to arrive in our office. Review your discharge instruction handout provided to you after your procedure for follow up instructions. Most blood tests and radiology tests results usually require 2-3 business days.

Will my primary care provider receive a report of my procedure?

Yes. Your primary care provider will receive a copy of all reports including the procedure report, biopsy or pathology report, and any other reports of tests that the physician has ordered.

What about virtual colonoscopy? How does it compare to a regular colonoscopy?

Virtual colonoscopy, also known as CT (computed tomography) colonography is a radiology test that examines the colon using x-ray technology. The radiology images are reconstructed to create a ‘virtual’ tour of the colon. Researchers have concluded that virtual colonoscopy is less reliable than previously thought and not ready for widespread use. According to a study of 600 patients at nine major clinics, its accuracy varies considerably, depending on the training and methods of the doctors performing the exam. Moreover, should a virtual colonoscopy reveal polyps or other suspicious tissue you would have to request an appointments for a conventional colonoscopy and go through the preparation process all over again. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends that people get a conventional colonoscopy, calling it the “gold standard” of colon cancer screening.

Insurance & Billing Questions

Do you accept all insurance?

We participate with most insurance carriers for normal office visits. For procedures, please check with your insurance plan or call our office to ensure that we participate with your insurance plan and to verify your coverage.

What is your payment policy?

We accept cash, checks, debit cards, and Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. We expect payment for any co-pays at the time the service is rendered. If you need special repayment arrangements, please speak with our staff.

What bills (fees) will I receive for my procedure?

You may receive up to four statements for different fees associated with your procedure:

  1. “Professional fee” from San Francisco Gastroenterology. This is the charge from the physician who performed your procedure.
  2. You will receive a “facility fee.” If your procedure is performed at Golden Gate Endoscopy Center, you will receive a bill from Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA). If your procedure is performed in the hospital, you will receive a bill from California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). This charge is for the use the endoscopy facility and includes the use of the endoscopy equipment, medications and nursing staff.
  3. “Laboratory fee” from California Pacific Medical Center. This fee applies only when biopsies are taken or polyps removed.
  4. “Anesthesia fee” from Medical Anesthesia Consultants (MAC). This fee applies only when an anesthesiologist is involved for your procedure.

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