The vast majority of our existing patients do tell us that they are mostly happy with the office, our staff and the friendly, efficient service they receive here. We’ve put together this Frequently Asked Questions Section for the benefit of all of our patients in an effort to help answer some concerns we hear from our patient base and to make your visit to our offices run as smoothly as possible.
waiting time FOR AN APPOINTMENT
My main interest is getting in to see my doctor when I or a family member need to.
Our goal is for you to be able to see your doctor within 2 weeks for a planned appointment plus have at least 40 same day appointments available throughout each day for more time sensitive matters. Therefore, with our offices now open into the evening on weekdays and on Saturdays, our anticipation is that it should be rare when we won’t be able to squeeze you in for an emergency visit... so please call us first before going to a Walk-in Clinic
MORE SAME DAY APPOINTMENTS
Why can’t it be sooner than that ?
Please take into account that there are about 1,000,000 people in Ontario who do not have a family doctor. There is a severe doctor shortage in Canada, and the situation may not improve any time soon. The fact is that within our current system of healthcare, there are just too many patients and not enough doctors; we cannot realistically meet the demands of our patient base and provide a level of service that most people would desire without reducing our patient roster by more than 50%. Thanks in part to the support from our in-house pharmacy, Mesa’s Compounding Pharmacy, we were able to expand our premises and hire more doctors for our clinic. But we quickly filled up and again are no longer accepting new patients. We are trying our best to accommodate all of our patients in the community in a reasonable manner and ask for your patience, understanding and cooperation.
How do you accommodate the circumstances where I may need to see the doctor immediately? To ask us to wait 1 or 2 weeks to see a doctor when you have a flu, cold, infection or sprain isn’t realistic.
We added a Physician’s Assistant, Saskia Knol, to our staff for specifically this purpose. We now consistently have at least 40 ‘Emergency Appointments’ reserved each day to accommodate these types of urgent, daily requests. These are 5-10 minute slots scattered throughout the day and are booked on a first come, first served basis. This allows us to see almost all of our patients who call and need to see a doctor that day for a quick emergency visit. However, on the rare occasion, there may just not be enough available ‘Emergency Appointments’ to meet demand – and on those days where we cannot see you, you must decide whether you are able to wait another day to see if you can be seen by your doctor here or whether you should go to a Walk-In clinic or Emergency Room that day.
If you have difficulty meeting demand, then why not just add more of these emergency slots to the doctor’s schedule?
Adding more emergency slots means taking away planned appointment slots. Doing that would create a greater delay in getting in to see your doctor for planned appointments. We are trying to keep planned appointments to within a 2 week wait and having enough emergency slots to meet the demand of almost all of the morning callers. We feel this is an important level of service to maintain and also allows that the doctors can run their schedule on time and finish their day relatively on time, so they and our staff can get home to their families at a decent hour.
What is the difference between an emergency appointment and a planned appointment?
A planned appointment is something you should know about ahead of time. For example, prescription refills, a monthly blood pressure follow-up, an annual physical, insurance forms and paperwork and counselling follow-ups are all considered planned appointments. Emergency appointments are held for infections, fevers, coughs, colds, flues, diaper rashes, strains and sprains, back pain and migraines. It is important to note that prescription refills are NOT emergency appointments. They are considered planned appointments and it is the patient’s responsibility to know when they will run out of medication and book their appointments accordingly in advance.
Why do I always have to tell the reception staff the reason for my visit? Shouldn’t that just be between me and my doctor?
Please understand that we are not asking questions to be intrusive. In order keep appointment wait times to a minimum during the day, we do need to know approximately how long your appointment with the doctor will be. Asking for the reason for your visit allows us to determine the length of your appointment and where best to place you in the doctor’s schedule. If you prefer, you can state that it is a private matter and discuss the length of time required for your appointment with our receptionist.
When I’m late for my appointment, I am told I can’t see the doctor and must reschedule. Why; especially since the doctor is sometimes late to see me?
Once your appointment time has passed, it is gone. We cannot recreate it without inconveniencing other patients with booked appointments after you. Our doctors do their best to follow their schedule promptly, with minimum wait times to patients. Over the past few years, patients have been seen within 5 minutes of their scheduled appointment time over 90% of the time. We take pride in running such an efficient office. However, unforeseen health emergencies do occasionally arise that may cause the doctor to run late. In those cases, we truly appreciate your patience in waiting to see your doctor, and hope you understand and appreciate that it could be you someday that requires that little extra of your doctor’s time
In the instance where you are late for your appointment, even by just 10 or 15 minutes, we will ask you to rebook your appointment so as not to inconvenience other patients who have arrived on time. Although calling us on your way to notify us that you may be late is thoughtful, it will not make a difference. We simply can’t squeeze you back into the schedule once you’ve missed your appointment.
When I call your office, I would prefer to speak to a live person. Often, I only get voicemail and have to leave a message. Why is this?
We currently have over 12,000 patients at the clinic. Even though we have over 12 telephone lines and 7 staff answering telephones during our busiest times, there are just too many phone calls. Our staff does their best to answer as many phone calls in person as they can, but the reality is that most calls will go to voicemail. We ask you to leave a clear and detailed message, if your call doesn’t get answered by a receptionist. Every message that is left is written down in a message log book and returned as quickly as possible. The only messages that aren’t returned are the ones where we cannot understand the name and/or telephone number a person has left (and you’d be surprised how often that happens) so please make sure you leave your message in a slow, clear voice.
We also now have a web based patient portal, Health MySelf, to help patients with contacting our office. Through this secure, Internet application, you can book appointments, ask questions about lab results and referrals and even receive copies of lab results. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to sign up for the portal by clicking on the Health Myself icon.
Your office now charges for certain services such doctor’s notes, filling out various forms, etc. Why are you charging for these services now?
As you may know, while most medical services are covered under OHIP, there are some services are not. This means that the government does not compensate physicians for these types of time-consuming services.
In the past, we have generally not charged for these services. However, with the unilateral cuts the provincial government has imposed to doctor’s fees, we unfortunately had to change this policy. In order to maintain the highest possible standard of care, our office policy is to charge for these uninsured services in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).
PRESCRIPTIONS & Mesa's Compounding pharmacy
How are prescription refills handled? Can I call and get them over the telephone or do I have to come in person? Is there any extra charge?
Your doctor will give you enough refills of medication to last until he or she would like to see you again so you can be re-evaluated on dose, strength and your general well being; whether it is 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or more of medication. However, once those refills are finished, you will need to come back in to see the doctor, to be re-evaluated on the dose and strength of the medication and your general well-being. Thus, there are no telephone refills; Before you have run out of refills, please make an appointment to see your doctor for a prescription refill appointment. If you run out of medication and have not made an appointment with your doctor, then you can call us to make an appointment for the next available planned appointment slot, which we realize may be 2 weeks out.
Once you have an appointment date booked with our office, you should then call your pharmacy and ask them to dispense you enough medication to last until this appointment time. If your pharmacy will not do that without a signed authorization form from the doctor – then they can fax us an authorization form, which our staff will take that to the doctor, ensure it is reviewed, approved, signed and then faxed back to your pharmacy. There is a $20.00 fee for this service– to cover the administration costs of this process. In order to avoid paying this fee and ensure you don’t run out of refills, we suggest you make your follow-on appointment for prescription refills when you are here. As soon as you are finished seeing the doctor and have picked up your prescriptions, stop at the front desk and make an appointment with your doctor for when your prescription runs out. Please remember, it is your responsibility for knowing your medication timelines.
Do I have to use the in-house pharmacy, Mesa’s Compounding Pharmacy?
No, of course not. We are not trying to limit your choice. The prescription you receive is good at any pharmacy of your choice in Ontario.
Is there any advantage for me to use the pharmacy here at the clinic?
There are definite healthcare and convenience benefits for patients that use the in-house pharmacy at the clinic, primarily due to the close, physical proximity, and good working relationships between the pharmacists and doctors. For example, when questions arise about prescriptions, our pharmacists and/or staff are able to discuss changes in medication or dosage immediately and in person with the doctor, rather than having to phone or fax the doctor’s office and wait for an answer, thereby enabling the patient to get their prescription issues resolved faster and to get on with their day more quickly. Because of this close proximity, the pharmacists have developed a strong working relationship with our doctors, and in times when the doctor’s schedule will not permit you to make a same day appointment to discuss your medication questions, the pharmacist may be able to assist in answering your questions or, where time permits, take your question directly to the doctor.
It is always up to the patient though, to decide whether they want to take advantage of the in-house pharmacy or use any other pharmacy of their choice.
Again, the objective of having an in-house pharmacy is to give patients access to a superior, team-oriented healthcare model, where the pharmacists and doctors have the opportunity to discuss a patient’s concerns and treatment alternatives face to face for the patient’s benefit. You will find our in-house pharmacy staff to be excellent! They are efficient, friendly and caring and we encourage you to try them should you so desire.
I don’t have a drug plan that covers the costs of medication. I need to know I am getting the best price available.
Any questions about drug plans and costs should be handled directly with the pharmacy. Ela, Kim or Deb, our pharmacists, will be able to address your pricing concerns and can discuss with you your options for obtaining prescription drug coverage or prescription drugs at an affordable price. We will do our best to work with you to meet your individual needs.
I would like to take advantage of your healthcare model, but I don’t live close to the pharmacy and find it inconvenient to pick up my refills.
The pharmacy has a delivery service, so would be happy to arrange home delivery to make the refill process more convenient for you. We regularly deliver to patients in Oshawa, Courtice, Whitby, Ajax, Scarborough, Markham and Toronto at no additional charge. We’d only ask that you give us at least 2 days notice, whenever possible, if you require a delivery so that we can efficiently schedule them.
In addition to being a regular retail pharmacy, Mesa’s Compounding Pharmacy also prepares medications for unique patient requirements that are not commercially available in the marketplace. For example, enhanced flavouring of medication for children so it tastes better and makes it easier for parents to administer; Seniors who cannot take medication orally and need their medication in a different form, perhaps a gel or liquid; Bio-Identical Hormone Restoration Therapy (BRTH); Diclofenic Cream, a topical anti-inflammatory treatment by-passing the stomach and thus having fewer side effects than oral treatments; Commercially discontinued medications such as Phenazopyridiene; Custom medications for vegan patients whose lifestyle restricts certain ingredients; and veterinary medications, to name just a few.
We have a licensed Class 100,000 Clean Room facility which allows us to make these medications in a safe, clean and sterile environment. More Information is available at the pharmacy website
Important message - Treatment of our staff
Please treat all of our staff (pharmacy and medical) with respect, whether you are on the phone or here in person. We will not tolerate rudeness, threats, intimidation, yelling or cursing, and will not hesitate to dismiss patients from the clinic if we see that type of behaviour. Our staff work very hard to advocate on your behalf, and we will not allow them to be abused in any way.
What are my responsibilities as a patient? Is there anything I can do to keep things running as smoothly as possible?
First, please arrive on time for your appointment and check in with the receptionist when you arrive. Have your health card on hand.
Please stay on topic when meeting with the doctor, and discuss with him or her only the concerns that led you to booking the appointment.
Please do not add multiple issues that weren’t mentioned when you booked your appointment, or your appointment will run over schedule and patients booked after you will be inconvenienced.
Please do not bring additional family members into the appointment with you and ask the doctor to see them as well; each family member should have their own, separate appointment booked in the schedule.
In the event you cannot make your scheduled appointment, please call us to cancel the appointment so that we can make that time slot available to another patient. If there is a pattern of missed appointments without notification, you will be charged a fee before you will able to book future appointments.