Frequently Asked Questions

General

Are you accepting new patients?

Yes, please contact our office at (503) 297-3384 option 4, to schedule your first appointment.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Please bring the following to your appointment:

1. Photo ID
2.  Current insurance card(s) including prescription cards.
3.  Co-payment(s) if required.
4. If you have Medicare, please bring your pharmacy insurance drug card.

When will my co-pay be collected?

Your co-pay is due at the time of service.

What are the office hours of NWRA?

Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Is the office closed for lunch?

The office is not closed for lunch.

What should I do if your office is closed and I need medical care?

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 or go to the closest Hospital Emergency Department.  To page the on-call physician after hours for urgent matters, please call the main number at (503) 297-3384 and follow the prompts.  After you leave your message, the physician will be paged.

What are your lab hours and do I need an appointment?

Lab hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and closed for lunch from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary; however a signed lab order is required.

May I have a relative or friend accompany me into the appointment?

Absolutely, however if your guest is late they will be asked not to interrupt your appointment with the physician and will be asked to wait until your appointment has been completed.

May I bring my children?

Yes, however we find that the appointment process generally goes more smoothly without the distraction of children present.  Providence St. Vincent’s does offer daycare at the “My Little Waiting Room” which is located in the lobby of the East pavilion (our office is also in the East Pavilion).  Your child needs to be registered prior to drop off.  Information on this service can be found at:  http://oregon.providence.org/patients/programs/my-little-waiting-room.

Services

What are you billing requirements?

Patients must pay their co-payments at the time of their visit.  It is the patient’s responsibility to pay any amounts, such as deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance that their insurance company has designated as their responsibility.

What should I do if my prescription runs out over the weekend?

No routine prescriptions will be available for refill until Monday morning.  Please check your supply before the weekend.

What insurance carriers does Northwest Rheumatology Associates accept?

Please see our insurance list.  If you don’t see your insurance carrier on the list, call for more information.

Is a bone scan the same as a bone density?

No, the bone density test is ordered to determine if you are at risk for osteoporosis.

Rheumatology

What is a Rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis (detection) and treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. Also called “rheumatic” diseases, these diseases affect the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists also conduct research to find the cause of and better treatment for these disabling diseases.

Who Do Rheumatologists Treat?

Rheumatologists treat patients with all types of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of such diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that should be diagnosed and treated early.

What Kind of Training Do Rheumatologists Have?

Rheumatologists must first complete four years of medical school and three years of residency training in primary care (either internal medicine or pediatrics). After taking a national exam to become board certified, rheumatologists devote two to three years to specialized training in an accredited rheumatology fellowship program.

Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified in rheumatology after their fellowship training. If the doctor has trained in internal medicine, the subspecialty exam and certification are by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Rheumatologists who are certified by these boards after 1990 must complete an extensive recertification process every 10 years. This process shows they have kept their medical skills and knowledge up to date.  All of our physicians are board certified.

When Should You See a Rheumatologist?

If pain in the joints, muscles or bones is severe or persists for more than a few days you should see a physician. The importance of early diagnosis in arthritic conditions, particularly rheumatoid arthritis has been proven, but often symptoms are difficult for non-rheumatologists to diagnose.

What Will Happen When I See the Rheumatologist?

Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of your symptoms. He or she will usually ask you to explain the history of the problem and will undertake a physical examination. Additional investigations such as blood tests, x-rays and scans may also be needed.

Once a diagnosis is made, your rheumatologist will explain the nature of your illness and what you might expect in the future. This is an important step, particularly for illnesses that might affect you over a long period.

With an accurate diagnosis and a shared understanding of your illness, you and your rheumatologist can work together to design a treatment program aimed at managing pain, reducing inflammation and ensuring your quality of life.

Depending on the nature of your illness, you may need to see your rheumatologist regularly for ongoing management. Alternatively your primary physician may treat you, with the rheumatologist on hand for specialist advice.

How Does the Rheumatologist Work With Other Health Care Professionals?

The role the rheumatologist plays in health care depends on many factors and the patient’s needs. Most often, the rheumatologist works with other physicians.

Sometimes the rheumatologist acts as a consultant to advise another doctor about a diagnosis and treatment plan. In other cases, the rheumatologist acts as a manager and relies on the help of many skilled professionals. This team may include nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers. Teamwork is important, since musculoskeletal disorders often last a long time. Health care providers can help patients and their families cope with the changes these chronic diseases cause in their lives.

So How Will My Condition Be Treated?

As your rheumatologist will explain there are a number of treatment options available including:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Medications
  • General Supportive Care
  • Surgery

He or she will select the best treatment combination for you, depending on the exact nature of your illness and your other individual needs. In treating and managing your illness, your rheumatologist will work closely with your primary physician as well as other skilled professionals to ensure you get the best possible care.

Is Specialty Care More Expensive?

You may be surprised to learn that specialized care may save time and money and reduce the severity of the disease. A rheumatologist has special training to spot clues in the history and physical exam. The proper tests done early may save money in the long run. Prompt diagnosis and specially tailored treatment often save money and minimize the long-term effects of rheumatic diseases.