Patients Transferring To This Office
Patients transferring to this office should ask their previous doctor to forward a copy of their records. To help you in this process, we will supply you with a HIPAA-compliant record transfer request if you need one. Also, please make sure you have made any necessary changes with your insurance company.
Routine Health Care/Well Child Visits
We typically see children for well child care beginning at the age of about 1 week and at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months. Well child care includes routine assessments of child growth, development, a complete exam, immunizations and discussion of any questions you may have. Annual visits are recommended after age 2 until age 21. For children over the age of 2, well child visits are usually booked at least two months in advance. We generally see patients through age 21 (or until high school graduation).
Weekends, Evenings and Holiday Schedules
You may reach one of our health providers at any time after normal business hours. If an urgent issue or concern arises please call our main office number in Wilbraham (413) 599-1201 or in Belchertown (413) 323-1155, and our answering service will take the necessary information. The on-call provider should call you back within 30 minutes at most. If you do not hear back within this time, please recall our answering service to see if there was a problem. PLEASE make sure all phone blocks are disabled while awaiting a return call. Upon returning your call, the doctor will decide whether your child needs emergency room evaluation, can wait until the next day to be seen in our office, or if the concern can simply be managed over the phone.
One of our health providers comes to our Wilbraham office on weekends and holidays for urgent issues and a limited number of Well Child Visits (physical exams), usually in the morning for a few hours. If a concern arises and there is a possibility that your child may need to be seen for an urgent problem on the weekend or on a holiday, please call between 7 a.m.and 10 a.m., if possible. Otherwise, if the problem cannot be managed over the phone, the health provider may refer you to the emergency room.
Newborn Hospital Care
We care for newborn patients at Baystate Medical Center. Once you have informed the hospital that this office will be providing your child’s medical care, the maternity staff of the hospital will notify our office, and one of our healthcare providers will examine your baby and talk with you within 24 hours of birth, and then daily until you are discharged. While in the hospital, babies typically receive a Hepatitis B immunization, a hearing evaluation, and a newborn screening blood test which checks for certain rare diseases.
For mothers who are planning on breastfeeding, the nurses in Labor and Delivery are a valuable resource for general questions regarding nursing. Sometimes, problems or questions with breastfeeding do not arise until you are home from the hospital. If this is the case, just call our office to speak with your pediatrician or one of our nurses. We may refer you to a lactation consultant if non-routine breastfeeding problems arise. Our office is very committed to supporting nursing moms in any way possible.
Parents of newborns should be sure to notify the insurance company of the baby’s birth as soon as reasonably possible (within 3 days is preferable). Billing issues generally go more smoothly when the parent has made a call directly to the insurance company to be sure the baby is enrolled.
Other Hospitalized Patients
Patients admitted to the hospital for acute illnesses (such as asthma or dehydration) will receive their care at Baystate Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital. While at the hospital, patients will be cared for by a Pediatric Hospitalist. A Pediatric Hospitalist is a pediatrician who specializes in the care of the hospitalized patient. Our pediatricians will be sure to provide the hospitalist with all the medical information they will need about our patients so that they receive the best care possible while in the hospital. The hospitalist will communicate with our pediatricians during the hospitalization and at discharge to ensure good follow up care. Occasionally, pediatric specialist consultations will be required as well. For serious medical problems, pediatric and neonatal intensive care may be required.
School, Daycare and Camp Physical Exam Forms
Please plan ahead to allow 5 business days for forms to be completed, especially in the summer months. Due to the new HIPAA (patient privacy) regulations you will be required to pick the forms up or have them mailed directly to you in a stamped, self-addressed envelope. We cannot forward any forms to schools, daycares or camps.
Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine Vaccine Policy
We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.
We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines.
We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health promoting intervention we perform as health providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers.
Vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that most parents have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases. Unfortunately, such success can make us complacent about vaccinating. But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can lead to tragic results and the reemergence of preventable diseases.
We want to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one, and, for some parents, even controversial. We will do everything we can to convince you that vaccinating according to the schedule is the right thing to do. However, should you have doubts, please discuss these with your healthcare provider in advance of your visit. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that delaying or “breaking up vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, and can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice at Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Such additional visits will require additional co-pays on your part.
Please recognize that by not vaccinating you are putting your child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness and disability, and even death.
As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating children on schedule is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults. Thank you for your time in reading this policy, and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.