Frequently asked questions from new patients

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Guest post by Stacie Ball, Receptionist

Patients who are seeing an orthopaedic surgeon for the first time often have a lot of questions about the process, insurance coverage, and more.

Here are some of the common questions we hear from new patients and some from existing patients.

How much will my insurance cover?

When you call to schedule an appointment, I’ll ask for your insurance information, including the insurance company, group number, and identification number. With that information, I can check your insurance coverage and confirm copay amount and whether a referral is needed. Most patients don’t require a referral to see Dr. Nolan, but some do.

How quickly can I get an appointment? Where can I get an appointment?

How quickly we can schedule an appointment varies due to several factors, but we’ll schedule your appointment as soon as possible. We have two office locations, one in Oklahoma City and one in Lawton, and some patients may choose an appointment time based on the location that’s most convenient for them. Other patients will want the first available appointment, which typically occurs in our Oklahoma City office. Your initial and follow-up visits can be done at either location. There are multiple options for hospitals where surgery can be done, if needed. Explore hospital options here.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Be sure to bring your insurance card and any previous imaging of your shoulder or elbow, such as x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. We have some new patient paperwork that needs to be filled out, so please arrive 20 to 30 minutes ahead of your appointment time to complete paperwork. You can also complete it online, or we can mail it to you prior to your appointment, if you prefer.

What will happen at the first appointment? How long will it take?

Your first appointment will include an exam by Dr. Nolan to assess your elbow or shoulder, including the level of pain, range of motion, and other details. X-rays may be taken in the office or Dr. Nolan may write orders for an MRI or other imaging tests.

After completing the exam, she will discuss treatment options, which may include surgery or non-surgical treatment based on your specific situation. The length of a new patient visit can vary based on the complexity of your issue, so please allow plenty of time for the appointment.

What do I need to know about pre-op or post-op instructions for surgery?

Your pre-op and post-op instructions for surgery will vary based on the specific surgical procedure and other factors. Dr. Nolan will discuss both pre-op and post-op instructions in detail when surgery is scheduled, and she will answer any questions you have. Most patients will need to complete pre-op blood work between three and 30 days prior to surgery, so be sure to factor that appointment in to your schedule when scheduling surgery.

If Dr. Nolan prescribes pain medication to treat my shoulder or elbow issue, how do I get refills?

While this is a question we hear from existing patients more often than new patients, it’s an important one to cover, especially for our patients in the Lawton clinic. Most pain medications are required by law to be submitted as a written prescription and can’t be refilled electronically or by phone or fax. If you expect to need a refill of your pain meds, be sure to plan ahead and contact us several days before you run out.

Have other questions about our new or existing patient processes? Call our office today, and I’ll be happy to help answer your questions.