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Updates and relevant information at NYUA

Pre-Authorization for Prescriptions

PRESCRIPTION PRE-AUTHORIZATION:

Note that many plans require authorization for prescriptions.  It seems that even commonly prescribed medications require it.  Unfortunately, this way your insurance makes the process of providing you with your needed medications most time consuming.  Insurance suggest that the doctor calls to obtain authorization.  However, it is a most time consuming process.  More often than not the doctors have several requests for pre-authorization at hand. Rather than making a call, our practice prefers to fill out a pre-authorization form.  These are normally provided by your insurance and contain all information and/or questions pertinent to your particular prescription.

For that reason, if needed we ask you to obtain the required PRE-AUTHORIZATION forms from your PRESCRIPTION INSURANCE and have them forwarded to our office for the doctor’s review and fulfillment.  This will allow the doctor to tend to the patients at the office as opposed to being held on the phone for several minutes a day jumping through insurance imposed processes.

Without the pre-authorization forms you will have to pay for your prescriptions out of pocket.  Also, some plans have no coverage for certain medications.  You’re welcome to have the insurance fax these to our main fax line:

212-734-7425

Thanks!

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Office Closed Today as the Winter Keeps Going!

In preparation for the forecasted blizzard, our office will be closed today.  The inclement weather makes it unsafe for some of our patients and our core staff members to commute.  We hope all of you stay safe, warm and cozy as this weather clears.  We shall be open tomorrow, at 9am as usual.  See you then.

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Kidney Stones: Is that what I have?

kidney stones

Kidney stones may present in various ways.  Most often, they present with intermittent radiating pain on one side and can be accompanied by waves of nausea and/or vomiting. Other, may lead to significant changes in voiding patterns, such as increased urgency and frequency of urination, intermittent flow, burning and/or blood in the urine.  Sometimes kidney stones are completely asymptomatic and may be picked up as an incidental finding when patients undergo imaging for other reasons.  Patients may have a “positive urine analysis” and be found to have microscopic blood or inflammatory markers in the urine.  Kidney stones may be diagnosed with medical imaging such as ultrasound, xray and/or CT scan of the Abdomen and Pelvis.  Once diagnosed, if a patient is asymptomatic, it is important to follow them to confirm passage of the stone, either with spontaneous passage or with some type of intervention.

Most often, stones that are found within the ureter (the tube that drains the kidney and connects to the bladder) or those that are obstructing the kidney (which means they are causing backup of urine, thereby putting pressure on the kidney) require treatment.  An “obstructing stone” prevents drainage of urine from the kidney and can lead to infection, sepsis and over an extended period of time, loss of renal function.  These could also lead to formation of ureteral strictures.  Kidney stones don’t always require immediate intervention. They may not need any treatment, other than making dietary and or medication changes to avoid an increase in stone size and number.

Management of stones depends on the location, size and number of stones.  It must be individualized to each patient and depends often depends on one’s overall medical health. For evaluation, a full dietary intake with a complete medical history and physical is required.   Though most stones are composed of calcium oxalate, the reason one forms stones will vary from patient to patient.  Issues may include poor hydration status, acidic urine, high salt intake, large meal sizes, too much animal protein (which is found in beef, chicken and fish).   Excessive intake of vitamins C, D, high dietary salt intake or calcium supplements can also contribute.  You should not make dietary or medication changes until a full evaluation has been completed. For example if you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis (i.e. bone loss), and have kidney stones, do not change your bone health medications without the proper medical advice.  Patients with gout or high blood levels of uric acid have a higher risk of forming stones. Interventions shown to decrease stone recurrence rates include drinking at least 2.5 liters of water per day, maintaining a normal calcium diet and adhering to a low salt diet.  Appropriate modifications can be made once a 24 hour urine collection is performed.

If  you feel you may have a kidney stone, please call our office (212-570-6800) for an appointment. We can offer same day evaluation and treatment as indicated.

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PATIENT RESPONSIBILITY DISCLOSURE

PATIENT RESPONSIBILITY DISCLOSURE

Dear Patients:

As the new year goes on, our patients are being confronted with subtle changes in their insurance plans. Patient responsibility is newly assigned.  Commonly, the new year means Deductibles reset and start again at zero.  Many of our patients who had no deductibles in the previous year have them now.  A large number of them are “not aware” of these changes and in turn it makes it more challenging to collect on these claims which are not paid by the plan since they represent patient’s responsibilities.

For that reason, we some time have to remind our patients that our participation with Insurance Plans does not imply you as our patient will not get a bill for services rendered during your visits or surgical procedures.  Note that your Insurance Policy may have multiple ways to assign the responsibility of our fees to you.  This is done through DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE and COPAY. It is important to be familiar with these aspects of your plan to avoid unexpected bills and be able to manage your medical costs efficiently and effectively.

DEDUCTIBLES are assigned as per your policy to ALL SERVICES or just to CERTAIN PROCEDURES.  Your insurance will not pay for your claims until the total of your deductible has been satisfied by assigning it to approved claims.  These DEDUCTIBLES may range anywhere from a total of $200.00 per year to a total of $5000.00 (or more).  Note, most often it will take several claims to satisfy a large deductible.  As an example, if one visit claim for a patient was around $350.00 and the total deductible is more than that, then your claim for $350.00 may be payable by you, as per your plan’s provisions.  Please be aware of this.

CO-INSURANCE is a percentage (%) of your total approved insurance claim which is billable to you as per your insurance policy.  This varies widely through the insurance companies.  A common CO-INSURANCE is 20% of the approved claim.  Normally coinsurance is due after DEDUCTIBLES have been satisfied.

Additionally, a COPAY is a set amount (anywhere from $5.00 to $75.00 or more) collected from the patient at the time of the visit.  This is usually stated on your insurance card.  Some plans will specify different amounts for your General Doctor and for Specialists.

We hope this helps keep things clear.

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Board Of Directors Honorary Membership awarded to Dr. Fracchia by AUA

John Fracchia MDThe Board of Directors of the American Urological Association (≥ 16,000 members worldwide) conferred Honorary Membership on John A. Fracchia, MD.  This will be effective May of 2017.

American Urological Association Logo

According to the AUA, this is an honor bestowed on the few (<100 living) whose diligence and commitment surpasses the AUA’s greatest expectations.  Honorary Membership is reserved for scientists who have achieved outstanding prominence in a field of medicine related to Urology, Officers of the Association, and/or distinguished Urologists.

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Technological woes, when it rains, it pours!

You would think that with today’s technology there would be fewer problems with those services we depend on.  Phone service, as ubiquitous as it is, it seems to fail more often than we’d like.  We’ve had phone problems in the past and have had repairs done multiple times.  However as the technology  it relies on ages, the problems just resurface.  Phone service providers at this point are putting most of their efforts in updating to new tech than maintaining and servicing old hardware.  Whenever there are phone problems, with the old hardware, its more difficult to get it repaired quickly and efficiently.   Today is one of those days.  We hope it sorts out shortly.  Kindly communicate with us by email whenever possible. We’ll be happy to address your concerns.

 

thanks!

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Happy holidays to all! Its been another amazing year.  2014 brought so many new challenges to the practice, new patients with numerous concerns.   Through the year we tackled all to keep providing you with good healthcare services.

We had multiple interesting and challenging health problems to help our patients with and are happy to say we were able to help in great measure.  From medical treatments to surgical procedures our patients were tended to through the year and even today we have new cases to add.

Thanks all for your support through the year.  We want to wish you all a belated Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year, 2015! We’re looking forward to leading the way in Urological care for our patients in this beautiful city New York and those who seek our care from all over the world.

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Kidney Stones: A Patient’s Perspective 3

Kidney Stones: A Patient’s Perspective 3

Kidney Stones in 2013

Thirty years later, I came down with yet another kidney stone.  Having experienced one back in ‘84 was enough for me to cringe at the possibilities.  However nowadays we have more advanced medications like alpha blockers which can help facilitate passage of small stones. We used Toradol for pain, which is non narcotic.  In the process of diagnostics, we used a CT scan, which are easier and quicker to perform and do not require IV contrast.  CT scans also provide more information to help with the treatment process. Once the stone was found treatment was decided.  We had some options.  One of which was ESWL (Extra-corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) which was not available back in 84.  This procedure is non invasive.

However for my stone, a urethral stone extraction was done.  Today’s instruments are more advanced and much smaller.  This helped reduce pain and trauma during the procedure. This was carried out at an out patient facility.  After the extraction was performed a stent was placed in.  This was a more tolerable experience due to the softness and flexibility of today’s Stents.  Additionally, the stent was removed in only 3 days.

 All in all, treatment for kidney stones has advanced vastly.  From medications to instrumentation we have great options to help you with this problem in an efficient and effective manner.

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Conversations with our Urologists

Conversations with our Urologists

We recently took some time to actually talk to some of our Urologists.

As a practice, we all spend a lot of time together.  Its that kind of family like relationship, where sometimes you cant stand your little brother, or get annoyed at your dad not letting you go out this or that night.  Oh, the memories!  After spending some time with our doctors, not interviewing them but just talking to them outside of their Doctor like environment we came to realize how much like you and me they are (yes behind the MD title there is a person too).  They are people with the same concerns we have and then some.  Namely, taking care of you as a patient and us as their employees.

In the last few months, we have talked to them for some time.   While you may think its just urology, its amazing how passionate they are about the cases they are working on and about their trade.  Urology, Medicine they’re trades too, also an art in some ways.  These require attention and keeping tabs on new techniques and/or medications to treat you know who?  You.  They sometimes get together over coffee and discuss some of their patients with the other Doctor’s in the practice.   They do so with the utmost concern and passion, which sometimes is very inspiring.  We as administrative staff may not know the medical lingo the way they do, but its kinda funny to hear them talk about some technique or the other for a surgical case.  They are excited about it, about the challenge that those surgical procedures entail and how they’re ready to help YOU beat what ails you.  On occasion we’ve asked them how did it go with this patient and his kidney stones, or the other with their bladder tumor? How did it go with that urethral repair? Its great to see them happy with each successful case.  As with every thing not all cases have a single treatment solution, but the doctors come back with more information to create the next step in treatment.  No, not all cases are surgery.  Some are office treatment courses, or studies that help them figure out problems.

On top of having the constant pressure of dealing with their day to day life, they are concerned about you their patient.  Besides this, many of our Urologists also lecture at teaching hospitals.  It had been our impression that their work day was mostly 9-5 when in the office and which ever surgery cases they had at the hospital.  Well, its not just that.  Many times they arrive at our office after teaching at the hospital, presenting some conference at 730am. When thinking about that, consider that some of the doctors in our practice come from Long Island or New Jersey!

Medicine is not all glamor.  Understanding all they do puts everything into perspective.  It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication, that not many people are willing to make.  After coming to this understanding about the doctors at our practice, we have new found respect for them.  We may complain sometimes about a stressful day at the office, and that’s fine, but now when we do, we also remember that these doctors we’re working for, never leave the proverbial office because they’re always available in some form to take care of their/our patients.

To ALL Urologists in our practice, and doctors everywhere we have to say thanks for letting us assist in the privilege of caring for your patients!

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Save time Register Online!

We’ve received great feedback with our online appointment requests.  Many of our existing patients have enjoyed the convenience.  If you want to avoid the phone, or being on hold and don’t have an urgent appointment, request it online.

If you are a NEW PATIENT, take advantage of our ONLINE PATIENT REGISTRATION FORM.  We need all your information in order to create your account and make your appointment.  If you register online, after requesting your appointment, we’ll be able to check your insurance for participation, have your information in our system and even make your appointment and just send you a confirmatory email. It will also save you some time at the office, all you will need to do is review and sign the forms, no more filling them out.

This also benefits new patients whom want to update their information.

Save time, register online!

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