Centers of ExcellenceSpine Total Joint Sports Medicine Hip & Knee Pediatric Hand Shoulder & Elbow Foot & Ankle

FAQ

General Questions

How do I make an appointment? You can schedule an appointment by either calling ORA Orthopedics at (563) 322-0971 or request an appointment online Here.

How soon can I get an appointment? There is usually an appointment available within one week if you are willing to see any physician. Appointment requests for a specific physician and/or clinic location may be further out depending on each physician’s schedule. Urgent concerns may be seen sooner. Information regarding your injury will be collected by a triage nurse, who will determine the appropriate appointment time. On some occasions this means that a physician assistant will perform your initial evaluation and present the information to a physician in the clinic or to the physician on call.

Does it matter which physician I see? If you are unsure about which physician you should see, please call our office at (563) 322-0971, and our appointment specialists will assist you in scheduling with a physician with expertise in your specific condition.

Is my physician board certified and what does that mean? All the physicians at ORA Orthopedics are either board certified or in the 2-year process to become board certified. Certification is a rigorous process of testing and peer evaluation that is designed and administered by specialists in a specific area of medicine.

What does “fellowship trained” mean? To be “fellowship trained” a physician must complete one additional year of in-depth specialty training after orthopedic residency. The specialty training is in one specific area in which the physician will specialize under the guidance of top orthopedic specialists. ORA Orthopedics has physicians fellowship trained in Sports, Total Joint, Hand & Upper Extremity, Spine, Pediatrics, and Trauma.

What is the difference between M.D. and D.O? There are two types of medical schools: Allopathic (M.D.) and Osteopathic (D.O.). Both have the same educational background and length of study and must pass state licensure requirements and examinations to practice medicine. Both M.D.s and D.O.s are certified, have equal privileges and responsibilities, and use the same orthopedic surgical treatments and techniques.

What does a physician assistant (PA) do? Physician assistants are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat conditions, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions, and assist our orthopedic surgeons in surgery. In our team approach to delivering orthopedic care, our PAs work very closely with our physicians to ensure that we provide the access and quality that you have come to expect at ORA Orthopedics.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • For your first appointment you will be asked to complete a medical history form, which can be completed either online or at your appointment. If completing at your appointment, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
  • Driver’s license or picture ID.
  • Your insurance card or other health coverage information.
  • Copay (Your insurance card will indicate your copay amount).
  • Referral form (authorization from your primary care physician), if required by your health insurance plan.
  • List of all medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) including doses and how often you take them.

Are there wheelchairs available at your clinic locations? We have wheelchairs for patient use at all of our physician clinic locations.

Can a minor child come to an appointment alone? All minors are required to have a parent or legal guardian at their first visit. A parent may sign our minor release form that states a minor may be seen in our office without a parent only for follow-up visits.

What happens if I need my physician after hours? Emergencies arise occasionally when you may need to contact our physicians regarding pain or other symptoms. Our clinic always has a physician on call to handle after-hour emergencies. If you need to contact us when the clinic is closed (after-hours or on weekends), please call (563) 322-0971 and the on-call provider will contact you.

How do I refill a medication prescription? ORA Orthopedics’ providers will only refill medications they have originally prescribed. Please double-check the name of the ordering provider before contacting our office for a refill. It is best to notify us at the time of your office appointment. If that is not possible, please contact your pharmacy and they will contact us directly. Medications will not be refilled at night or on weekends.

How can I obtain my medical records? You will need to complete and sign a medical records release form. Please call the office at (563) 322-0971 and they can fax or mail you the form. There will be no charge if your records are being released to another medical provider, otherwise there will be small processing charge. X-rays and MRIs will be burned to a CD.

Orthopedic Medical Questions

What is arthroscopic surgery? Arthroscopic surgery is one of the most common orthopedic procedures performed today. Through the use of small instruments and cameras, an orthopedic surgeon can visualize, diagnose, and treat problems within the joints. One or more small incisions are made around the joint to be viewed. The surgeon inserts an instrument called an arthoscope into the joint. The arthoscope contains a fiber optic light source and small television camera that allows the surgeon to view the joint on a television monitor and diagnose the problem, determine the extent of injury, and make any necessary repairs.

Do your surgeons perform “minimally invasive” surgery? Depending on the type of condition or injury our orthopedic surgeons perform both minimally invasive and open surgical procedures. Minimally invasive surgery is a less invasive approach than open surgery to treat several types of orthopedic conditions. Arthroscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgical procedure. The advantage of minimally invasive orthopedic surgery over traditional open surgery is that the joint or affected area does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, only two or three small incisions are made – one for the endoscope and one or two for other surgical instruments. This reduces recovery time, results in only a small scar, and decreases the trauma to the connective tissue. However, in certain circumstances, an open surgery may be necessary in order to best repair the damage or injury and obtain the best surgical outcome.

What does “total joint replacement” mean? Joint replacement surgery is performed to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with a new, artificial joint called a prosthesis. The knee and hip are the most commonly replaced joints, although shoulders, elbows and ankles can also be replaced. The bone ends of a joint are covered with a smooth layer called cartilage. Normal cartilage allows frictionless and pain-free movement. When the cartilage is damaged or diseased by arthritis, joints become stiff and painful. Most people have joint replacement surgery when they can no longer control the pain in their hip or knee with medication and other treatments, and the pain is significantly interfering with their lives.

How long does an artificial joint last? Most artificial hip and knee joints will last for 10 to 20 years or longer. Longevity of the artificial joint varies from patient to patient depending on many factors, including patient’s physical condition, activity level and weight. Over time, the components may wear down and loosen and may need to be replaced.

What is the difference between X-Ray, MRI and CT scans? All three are imaging studies used by your provider in diagnosing orthopedic conditions and injuries. X-Ray is the most common technique and provides a two dimensional image of the interior of the body. Images appear on the x-ray based on the various densities of the body structures. Air and gases appear black, whereas more dense structures such as bones appear white. X-rays are good at detecting bone fractures. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) uses magnetic waves to produce images rather than ionizing radiation like x-rays and CT scans. The images are three dimensional, which enhances the provider’s ability to diagnose problems. MRIs are best for imaging soft tissue, showing very fine soft tissue details in the shoulder and knee. However because of the magnetic field, people with surgical clips, metallic fragments, cardiac monitors or pacemakers cannot have a MRI scan. CT (Computerized Tomography) uses x-rays that move in an arch around the body part being imaged, creating a three dimensional image of it. CT scans are an advanced form of x-ray technology used in detecting diseases in the soft body tissues and can provide images of internal organs. CT scans help diagnose bone fractures, bone tumors, and internal injuries and bleeding.

What is a cortisone shot? Cortisone shots are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. Cortisone shots are most commonly given in joints — such as your ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine and wrist. Even the small joints in your hands and feet may benefit from cortisone shots. They will typically include a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic. Cortisone shots are most commonly administered in the physician’s clinic.

What are NSAIDs and what do they do? Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are available over-the-counter in low doses or and in prescription form in higher potencies fight pain associated with swelling. They include pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. They are popular treatments for muscular aches and pains, as well as arthritis.

Billing and Insurance Questions

Which insurances do you participate with? Click on the following link to get a listing of the insurance companies and plans that ORA Orthopedics participates with – Participating Insurance Plans.

What if I do not have insurance? We have financial counselors available for patients without insurance. The counselors will discuss and explain the billing and payment process before your first appointment. If necessary, they will work with you to set up a payment plan for the anticipated charges. At a minimum, a $100 payment is requested before being seen by an ORA Orthopedics’ provider.

Do I have to pay a co-pay? A co-pay for an office visit is determined by your insurance company and is your portion of the payment for the visit. Co-pays are due at the time of your appointment. We have signed an agreement with the insurance companies we participate with to collect a co-pay for any charges incurred during your visit.

What is my deductible? The deductible portion of your insurance coverage requires that you pay a certain amount yourself before your insurance will begin paying claims. Once you have paid the total amount of your deductible (whether to one or more providers), your insurance will begin paying on claims. Deductibles vary by insurance company, so you should consult your policy to determine your deductible amount.

What are the ways that I can pay my bill? We accept almost all forms of payment including cash, check or credit card. We accept VISA, Mastercard, Discover and American Express credit cards. You can either make a credit card payment online, over the phone by calling our business office at (563) 322-0971, or simply writing your credit card information on the remittance portion of your billing statement.

How much will the clinic visit and/or surgery cost? The charges you incur will depend on the level of service completed by your provider, the type of procedure that will be done, and the diagnostic tests that are necessary. Please call our business office at (563) 322-0971 to get an approximate quote or estimate for the office visit or surgical procedure that will be done. It is important to note that this estimate will only be for ORA Orthopedics’ services performed and will not include hospital or surgery center charges or other professional services such as anesthesia or radiology.

Do you preauthorize surgical procedures? In most cases, we will prior authorize or verify insurance coverage for the surgical procedures that our surgeons will be performing. However, it is strongly recommended that you are familiar with your insurance plan and the extent of coverage that is available under your specific insurance plan. If you are not familiar with your insurance coverage, we suggest you discuss your policy with your employer or insurance company before your incur any charges.

Who do I talk to about questions on my billing statement? Our insurance and business office specialists can assist you with any questions you have about your bill or account. They can be reached at (563) 322-0971, select the Insurance or Billing menu option.