“…How do I become a patient? Can I send partial records without registering? How long is the wait for surgery? Do you accept insurance? How much will my surgery cost? What are your financial policies? Do you do pro bono cases? How long is recovery? How long will I need to stay in Atlanta?..” Questions? We’ve got answers! We’ve compiled our most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help get you started; however, as always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information or have any additional questions. Dr. Albee, our sole Founder, began our programs many years ago because of the persistent nature of the disease and the failed treatments many patients were experiencing. Many experience same today. We’d like to help if we can, so please read on.
I NEED DIRECTIONS. WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
The Center for Endometriosis Care
6105 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Building B, Suite 230 Atlanta, GA 30328
*NOTE THIS IS A NEW MAILING ADDRESS. We haven't moved, but our mailbox has! We are still located in the Perimeter Town Center complex you may already be familiar with from previous visits; however, we have been re-zoned as per the city of Sandy Springs. GPS may not yet be updated to reflect these zone changes. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us anytime at 770.913.0001. See also: http://centerforendo.com/traveling.htm
HOW DO I CONTACT YOUR OFFICE?
Please visit our Contact Us page.
WHAT IS THE CEC’S LAPAROSCOPIC EXCISION – “LAPEX” – APPROACH TO ENDOMETRIOSIS?
“LAPEX” (coined by Dr. Albee in 1990) means “Laparoscopic Excision.” Surgical excision is the surgical cornerstone of any effective approach to this disease. Through high-quality, minimally invasive surgery, the disease can truly be removed – allowing the patient’s own adjuncts (e.g. physical therapy, diet/nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, etc.) to facilitate maximum outcomes. True recurrence is actually quite low when endometriosis is thoroughly and meticulously excised from all locations. Through the LAPEX approach, those struggling in all stages of disease have an excellent chance of being pain-free for the long-term, with minimal chance of recurrent or persistent symptoms. Read more in-depth information about LAPEX here. Our historical tracking data demonstrates that an average of 80%-85% of our patients continue to improve in pain levels, symptom and overall quality of life as compared to their pre-surgery status with us. The chance of recurrence of actual endometriosis following excision of the disease in our hands hovers around 7%-10% and the overall likelihood of one of patients requiring another surgery is typically around 12% – which includes surgeries for unrelated factors i.e. hysterectomy for fibroids or adenomyosis, for example, or adhesions and/or recurring non-endometriosis pain. Learn more about LAPEX here.
IS LAPEX A CURE?
What defines a "cure"? Medically speaking, "cure" in relation to disease or disorder simply means "to relieve a person of symptoms." Excision is the gold standard for treating endometriosis and is effective at removing the disease in the majority of those who undergo the procedure. Most patients following excision find their pain is significantly decreased or even completely resolved, for the long term. By that definition, then, excision is sometimes referred to as 'curative' - in the sense that the disease can be eradicated. It should be noted, however, that not all pain is from endometriosis; that even removing all disease may not solve underlying issues in some cases; and that removal of endometriosis alone will not necessarily address other conditions which lend themselves to pain or symptoms.
Perhaps more important than universal use of the word ‘cure' is addressing each patient’s concerns in a patient-centric, collaborative way to provide the best functional outcome for long-term relief and restoration of quality of life in that individual. We work with our patients to ensure we are addressing the 'big picture' of their individual situation and routinely engage in collaborative referrals to make sure a true multidisciplinary approach is used. We also strive every day to increase disease awareness, provide training and elevate endometriosis to a priority public platform in order to improve the time to diagnosis and effective, early - and proper - treatment for all those affected. Through timely intervention, individuals can be diagnosed and treated sooner, avoiding the vicious cycle of repeated drug therapies and ineffective surgeries that routinely characterize the disease. By educating society, legislators, insurers and the public, and by training tomorrow's providers, we can empower patients and remove the ubiquitous barriers to care that continue to exist - and one day, make endometriosis a preventable disorder.
In summary, though universal "cure" for every individual with the disease may remain elusive, LAPEX can offer the best chance for living disease-free in the majority of cases. Readers may also be interested in this article here: Was My Surgery a Failure?
DOES THE CEC HAVE ANY ORGANIZATIONAL OR MARKETING PARTNERSHIPS?
The CEC does NOT have ANY paid affiliations with any individuals, organizations, "group leaders," Facebook/social media/support groups, industry partners or associations. Our sole founder is Dr. Albee, and we remain an independent private practice run by Dr. Sinervo. While we are always very happy to be a constant collaborator in and supporter of various endeavors designed to achieve positive progress in the disease, we do not recommend or endorse any specific products, advocates, community leaders, foundations, individuals, companies, activists or otherwise, nor do we pay or compensate in any way, shape or form any organization or individual to be included on a referral list or marketing resource they may offer. Our referrals and recommendations come unsolicited from our patients, who have actually been treated at the CEC and gone through the patient processes firsthand – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. If you have any questions about the CEC, our staff, our operations, our stakeholders or any other aspect of our business, be sure to check with the only factual sources who actually have that information: our team.
HOW LONG HAS THE CEC BEEN IN BUSINESS?
The CEC (dba/Kenny R. Sinervo, MD FRCSC, LLC) was formed by Robert B. Albee, Jr., MD over two decades ago as a tertiary referral center, based around four guiding principles to assist those with (or who think they may have) endometriosis and pelvic pain. It is led by Medical Director, Ken Sinervo, MD, who joined the CEC in 2001 and has been at the head of our practice since 2011. Our surgeons are Board Certified, advanced gynecologic endoscopists who have each individually and as a practice earned the COEMIG designation as a Center of Excellence. We adhere to the following strict ethics:
– Recognizing subtle disease in all its manifestations;
– Removing all endometriosis while preserving an individual’s organs;
– Performing pathological examination on all excised tissue; and
– Treating our patients with respect and compassion as partners in their health care.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND OR COMMENT ON THE WORK OF OTHER SURGEONS?
No, but we’ll be happy to suggest some local resources to assist you if, where and when we can. We always try to help folks in the endometriosis community - even if that means connecting them with others. You can also check our resource list here for some suggestions to other caregivers associated with pelvic pain and infertility. Inclusion therein ≠ endorsement or affiliation; provided for informative purposes only.
BECOMING A CEC PATIENT/RECORDS REVIEWS/APPOINTMENTS:
ARE YOU ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS? DOES THE CEC ACCEPT PATIENTS FROM OUTSIDE ATLANTA, GA?
Yes, and yes! Our 5,000+ patients have traveled to us for more than 20 years from over 50 countries including the United States, Canada, Asia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Australia, Jamaica, Iceland, Egypt, South America, St. Thomas, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Russian Federation, New Zealand and beyond. If you are dealing with endometriosis – or think you might be – we would be honored to try and help you restore your quality of life through our compassionate, expert treatment. You don’t need a surgical diagnosis to be considered for care at the CEC. We are blessed to work with all individuals from the international pelvic pain community and would be very happy to lend our opinion to your case. Our Founder, Dr. Albee, is not accepting new surgical cases; however, he is more than happy to see you in the office and offer you his expertise anytime. Dr. Sinervo, our Medical Director, operates several days a week along with Dr. Kongoasa, and both will also gladly review your case. Our entire team is here to help – what can we do for you?
DO YOU OFFER FREE PHONE CONSULTS & RECORDS REVIEW?
Yes, absolutely! Please note a records review is NOT an office consult, for which there will be a charge. Please call 770-913-0001 to schedule an appointment to come see us in the office. Appointments are not made online. Read on for records review information.
Our team reviews over 1,200 cases a year from every corner of the globe, at no cost to the patient. The records review process starts here. Once registered, you will receive your instructions, links/etc. to undergo the review process. Those who do not register will not receive their instructional packet, and their records will not be reviewed. We appreciate your understanding. Please note, records must be translated into English before being sent to us, as we do not have the means to translate in-house. Thank you for understanding and helping us adhere to our process.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAR BACK FROM THE REVIEWING SURGEON AFTER MY RECORDS ARE RECEIVED? WHEN ARE SURGERIES BEING BOOKED?
Once your complete and entire case file is received, your records will be reviewed and you will be contacted directly by the reviewing surgeon within 2 weeks. To find out if your records have been received, please call 770-913-0001. We do not schedule callbacks or notify regarding records receipt; you will be contacted as the surgeon’s schedule permits by him directly. If you are accepted as a surgical patient, you will then be contacted by Anna Feiler or Jean Williams, our Surgical Coordinators, to review finances and insurance and obtain your surgical date. You can expect to hear from Jean or Anna after they process your file; this may take up to 3 weeks post-review. If all information is not complete on your registration form, this will delay your case significantly. We are currently booking surgeries approximately 8 weeks out. Please understand there is no ‘cancellation list’ per se and we may be otherwise unable to offer you specific dates. We do not process case reviews on a ‘rush’ basis, though every effort will be made to accommodate the nature of your case.
I’M GOING TO JUST SEND OFF MY RECORDS TO THE CENTER RIGHT NOW. IS THAT OKAY?
NO. Please register first. Unsolicited files will be destroyed. We MUST have registration data for you before we can review your case. Please see http://centerforendo.com/registration for details. Thank you for understanding our need to adhere to our specific process in order to best serve your needs and protect your healthcare information and privacy.
I’M FAXING/EMAILING PICTURES, RECORDS AND FORMS IN SCANNED, MULTIPLE ATTACHMENTS. WHERE SHOULD THEY BE EMAILED/FAXED?
RECORDS ARE ONLY ACCEPTED BY HARD COPY MAIL AND MUST BE COMPLETE SETS. We do not accept scanned/emailed/attached or faxed files (with specific, pre-arranged exception on case by case basis). We also do not accept incomplete/separate materials except where pre-arranged in specific circumstances. Records must be sent, complete (narrative, forms, records, insurance if applicable), in one envelope to our offices at 6105 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Building B, Suite 230, Atlanta, GA 30328. Please send hard copies – not disks or thumb drives. There are very limited exceptions to this procedure. If your physician will not release to anyone but us, or you are located out of the country, please let us know and we will direct you regarding your files transfer accordingly. No records will accepted by email without prior, specific discussion. Thank you for understanding and respecting the process so that we may best serve you.
HOW SHOULD I SEND MY CASE FOR REVIEW?
As outlined in your new patient packet, the best way to send us your records is via regular US postal mail. You can request “signature required.” FedEx, UPS, etc. may be utilized, but we do not recommend use of such express services. There have been many instances where patient records were attempted delivery on Saturdays, after hours, or completely mis-delivered to other offices in our complex, resulting in significant delays in the review process and at worse, lost case files. Sending your file ‘express’ does not speed the review process up at all, and may result in mishandling of your case by the delivery service.
WHY DO I NEED TO SEND RECORDS AND/OR A NARRATIVE?
We cannot evaluate your case accordingly and develop a potential treatment plan for you with no records. In very select cases, this requirement may be waived for certain individuals based on circumstances, but in general: we require medical records (a surgical diagnosis/prior surgery is not required, but we will need office records in lieu of surgical reports) as well as a completed copy of our “prospective new patient” packet, which you will be sent a link to at the time of your registration. The narrative summary is also a critical part of the evaluation process. It is your experience with the disease, told in a way no one else can tell your story – from your perspective, in your own words. While we understand it may difficult (but perhaps cathartic!) for some to compile this summary, it is required. It can be as simple as a chronological listing of your diagnoses and treatments to date (if any) and how you are feeling now, or it can be extensive and highly detailed. We do read every word.
I REGISTERED, BUT DIDN’T RECEIVE A PACKET. WHAT HAPPENED?
One of two things: the packet went to your spam (very common) file, or your registration was not received. If you’ve registered and received an email from one of our surgeons but not an email packet, that indicates your packet was either blocked or delivered to junk mail (you would not get a note from the surgeon if the packet had not been sent to you first). Please check your filter accordingly. If it is still not there, or you didn’t receive any email from our staff at all, please get in touch at Heather@CenterForEndo.com. We’ll be very happy to resend by email or postal mail.
ONCE MY RECORDS ARE REVIEWED, AM I CONSIDERED A PATIENT AND CAN I GET MEDICATION FROM THE CEC?
NO. The records review we offer is a courtesy. It is not intended to offer or replace medical advice in any way and should not be considered as party to any CEC doctor/patient relationship. We do not write any prescriptions until you are seen and physically examined in our office in person, under the law. We do not provide narcotic or any other prescriptions prior to seeing any patient in the office. We do not write prescriptions of any kind for non-patients.
I DON’T WANT A RECORDS REVIEW. HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO COME IN?
You are always welcome to make an in-office appointment and come see us anytime! Please call 770-913-0001 to schedule; appointments are not accepted by email or online. We do not accept walk-ins. Please also note again, unlike our free records review, standard fees apply to any office visits including your first consult. These charges, and any paperwork you will need to bring, will be discussed at the time of booking your appointment with Drs. Sinervo, Albee or Kongoasa.
PLEASE NOTE: 48 hours notice of cancellation of your appointment is required. If you cannot make your appointment for whatever reason, please call 770-913-0001 to let us know within this required time frame. Failure to notify us in advance will result in a standard non-cancellation fee.
PRESURGICAL PLANNING, COSTS & POST-OP - BEFORE & AFTER YOUR SURGERY:
HOW MUCH DOES SURGERY COST, AND IS IT ALL PAYABLE UPFRONT?
Lots of misinformation is posted on social media regarding costs at our Center, even by well-intentioned individuals. However, please know that no one other than the CEC can offer you actual specifics regarding your case with us. Please contact us directly to discuss your specific details, as it will likely not be the same as someone else and those not affiliated with our Center cannot comment on your case with any accuracy or authority; such individuals do not speak for us in any way. Please also understand our fee does not include hospital costs or any other surgeon/First Assistant/anesthesia costs, as they are separate and outside our control. You will be billed separately for those charges. We will, however, help you work with the hospital and others scheduled on your case to make it as affordable as possible. Once scheduled and your fee is contracted, you will be advised what your necessary upfront costs are. Again – each case is different, so please discuss this matter with our offices personally. We are unable to determine your specific fee prior to reviewing your case, as we need to know what is recommended for your specific treatment. Each individual’s situation is unique and thus is handled on private basis with the CEC’s Surgical Coordinator, Jean. Please know we strive very hard to make it a possibility for all patients to receive care with us to the extent we can, and thus fees can only be determined based on the specific patient’s review, her recommended procedures, her personal financial situation and insurance details. All patients are informed of their costs well before their surgery date. Thank you for understanding.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CEC SURGICAL DEPOSIT POLICY, EFFECTIVE AS OF DECEMBER 1, 2016:
*Surgical deposit due immediately at time of booking to hold your date: $500
--If you should cancel your surgery within 21 days, you will be refunded your deposit less a $100 administrative fee
--If you should reschedule your surgery at any time, you will be charged a $100 rescheduling fee in addition to the already-paid deposit
--If you should cancel your surgery later than 21 days before your scheduled procedure, you will forfeit your entire deposit
Thank you for your understanding and assistance in these matters.
WHY DON’T YOU TAKE INSURANCE?
We DO take insurance. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding the CEC. We are an Out of Network (OON) provider in private practice, as many specialist surgeons for endometriosis and countless other medical disciplines are. This does not mean we do not take insurance – we do, as an OON provider. We are not “cash only” as has been mistakenly suggested. Subscribers who do not have out of network coverage in their respective plan are considered self-pay (and thus eligible for a potential discount). This includes TriCare subscribers. Please understand there is no average “ballpark” figure which we can accurately offer you in advance, as out of pocket maximums will be based on the patient and her specific needs/case/coverage. All patients work with Jean and Anna in our offices individually and privately AFTER their initial free consult, and a surgical contract – including exact fees – is then established before scheduling any procedures and coming to Atlanta. Patients are notified about their exact out of pocket costs and sign a contract that to that effect along with their other paperwork well in advance. Credit cards and Care Credit are always accepted and we can certainly explore payment plans and potential discounts on a case by case basis. We DO help file and check your insurance, write appeals, file paperwork, etc. etc. We also strive to make it a possibility for every patient to come to our Center for treatment and will work with each patient individually based on her needs. Please do not base your decision to seek possible care with us on someone else’s costs and personal situation which you may have read about on the Internet or Facebook - each case is personalized and unique according to the individual's own circumstances and needs. For complete details, please visit this article here or call our offices to speak with Jean, Anna or Beth. See also: Low Payments for Excision Surgery Frustrates Physicians, Patients
DO YOU EVER DO ANY PRO BONO CASES?
Please discuss this directly with Jean and Anna after your case has been reviewed.
DO I HAVE TO MAKE MULTIPLE TRIPS TO YOUR OFFICE BEFORE ACTUALLY HAVING SURGERY?
No. We know this is a costly inconvenience for the majority of our patients and it is not a requirement to schedule your surgery. We recognize the significant burden it places on patients and their families both in terms of time and expense; thus, we do as much as possible upfront via mail, fax and phone prior to actually requiring you to come in. Northside Hospital approaches our patient’s cases the same way and will do as much as they can before you arrive in Atlanta as well. The same is true for our collaborating colleagues.
HOW LONG WILL I NEED TO STAY IN ATLANTA IF I COME FOR SURGERY?
Every case varies, but the average stay is approximately 1 week. Arrive in Atlanta, pre-op in our offices the next day, surgery the day after that, recuperation in your hotel or lodging for a couple more days, and then return home to fully recuperate (this is a simplistic approximation; you will be provided more specifics about your own case at the time of booking). Check our website for area hotels and travel tips, and remember to ask for medical discount rates when booking. Note that travel costs are the responsibility of the patient and are not part of our fee.
HOW MANY DAYS WILL I BE HOSPITALIZED AFTER MY SURGERY?
Again, this varies based on the individual, but in general, our surgeries (with the exception of bowel resection, hysterectomy or other major component to your surgery) typically require only a 23 hour hold – this is considered *outpatient.* An overnight stay allows us to treat your post-op pain and observe you before sending you home in the morning. All procedures are done Laparoscopically, but should you have a bowel resection, for example, you will be held longer; approximately 72 hours. Again, these are general averages – each case is unique.
HOW LONG IS RECOVERY?
Recovery is different for everyone, and it will largely depend on what you have done. Typically, you can expect around 2 weeks for acute post-op recovery; you may be able to return to light activities, work, school, etc. by then. Long-term, the internal healing process can take upwards of a month or even longer (first post-op period may be very painful!). Some patients will recuperate faster, others may take much longer. You may also be interested in our Post-Op "Constipation" article.
IS IT OKAY FOR ME TO BE DRIVEN HOME AFTER SURGERY? IT’S A 2/4/6/8/ETC. HOUR DRIVE.
Yes, you can be driven home once you are released, but remember: you will be in pain and we strongly suggest you to stop every 1.5-2 hrs to stretch your legs, use the facilities, etc. For travel tips post-operatively, see our website travel page. If you are flying or your ride is more than a couple hours, you may wish to postpone or consider other options.
WHAT BLOOD WORK WILL I NEED PRIOR TO SURGERY?
Unless you are specifically directed otherwise with regards to your own case, we merely perform a finger stick at your pre-op. Northside Hospital will advise you in your pre-op phone consult if there is anything they require.
I HAVE RELIGIOUS OR OTHER RESTRICTIONS I.E. REFUSAL OF TRANSFUSION WHICH I WANT HONORED DURING SURGERY. IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Not at all. We always gladly respect and uphold the wishes and beliefs of our very diverse patient population and always honor our patient’s religious and cultural needs.
CAN THE CEC HELP ME COMPLETE MY FMLA AND/OR DISABILITY PAPERWORK?
Yes, surely. There is a nominal fee of $35.00 (payable for each encounter/documentation) to the Center for Endometriosis Care/Kenny R. Sinervo, MD FRCSC, LLC for our assistance with and ongoing completion of all Family Medical Leave Act and/or Disability paperwork. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask by calling 770.913.0001. Please note: this fee applies to established patients who have their date of surgery scheduled and need their disability paperwork completed. It is not, and in no way relates to, a fee for our records review. As always, the records review is completely free.
I NEED A BABYSITTER/CAR SERVICE/RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION/OTHER RESOURCE WHILE IN ATLANTA. CAN YOU HELP?
We will always try our best to assist patients with their various needs while in the Atlanta area. However, please understand – we are a professional surgical practice focused on patient care and have limited time to research such inquiries. Do let us know what you are looking for well in advance of your trip to Georgia, however, and we will try to accommodate your needs if we can. You can also find information about the area on the Perimeter Center Chamber of Commerce website.
I DON’T HAVE BOWEL DISEASE, SO DO I STILL NEED TO BOWEL PREP?
As Dr. Albee says, ‘only if you want the surgery.’ CEC requires all patients to prep. Our prep typically involves a simple enema/oral laxative combination (click here for a copy of our Bowel Prep Instructions, but this will be addressed with you personally at the time of your booking. We know this isn’t pleasant, but we will try to help make it as quick and painless as possible. For helpful prep tips, please visit: http://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/how-to-survive-a-bowel-preparation
WILL I NEED PADS OR TAMPONS AFTER SURGERY? WHEN CAN I SWIM/HAVE INTERCOURSE/EXERCISE/GO BACK TO WORK/ETC.?
Panty liners for a few days following surgery are expected; discuss the specific needs/expectations of your case with your surgeon. All expectations and return to normal activity will be addressed with you personally at the time of your surgery. Typically, most individuals can expect a 2-3 week post-op return to normal activity but again, this will be discussed personally with you based on your own case.
DO I NEED TO STOP TAKING MEDS PRIOR TO SURGERY?
This will be discussed with each patient personally. There are a number of supplements and medications all patients must come off prior to surgery, however, not everyone will need to stop all their current therapies. This will be reviewed with you at the time of your surgical booking. A convenient list is provided in the aforementioned link but check with your surgeon to be certain about your case.
DOES NORTHSIDE HOSPITAL HAVE PRIVATE ROOMS?
Yes, all rooms with the exception of the post-op holding and recovery bay are private. You can learn more about the hospital here. Your surgery will be performed at the main Atlanta Campus.
CAN MY PARTNER/SPOUSE/FAMILY MEMBER STAY WITH ME OVERNIGHT?
Visitors can see you all day until approximately 9pm; partners/loved ones may be able to spend the night with you chair-side – always at the discretion of your nurse. For policy regarding children, see http://www.northside.com/atlanta.
DO I NEED TO MAKE A FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENT AFTER SURGERY?
If your desire is to come in and see your surgeon before you leave Atlanta, you are certainly welcome and encouraged to do so. However, it is not required to be discharged, as your surgeon will be seeing you in the hospital prior to your release.
CAN THE CEC SURGICAL STAFF COME TO MY LOCATION AND PERFORM SURGERY IN MY LOCAL HOSPITAL?
As much as we wish we could, our staff works in, has privileges at, and maintains our operating room only in Northside Hospital here in Atlanta. However – we do offer training and Fellowships. Professionals wishing to observe or train with us should visit our preceptorship page. We also frequently lecture, teach and present at medical schools, universities, nursing schools, hospitals, numerous professional and organizational events and more. If you would like to have us speak or present at your meeting, support group or other local resource, please just reach out and let us know! We’d be very happy to arrange a trip to your area.
I NEED MY SURGICAL RECORDS SENT FROM THE CEC TO ME OR ANOTHER PROVIDER POST-OPERATIVELY. HOW DO I OBTAIN THEM?
Patients are sent a complete copy of their post-op and pathology following their surgery with us. If you require another copy of your path/op notes, or need your CEC/additional records in your chart sent to another provider or back to you at a later time after your surgery with us, please call us at 770-913-0001. The release form is provided here. Please allow 10 business days to process your request. Costs if any will be discussed at the time of the request.
HOW DO I GET AFTERCARE OR PRESCRIPTIONS FILLED/RENEWED?
We do not fill prescription requests via email or fax. Requests must be made by the patient verbally via phone at 770-913-0001 during business hours. We will not write or refill any medications in any other way. There are no exceptions to this legal requirement.
WHAT IF I HAVE ONGOING PAIN OR ISSUES AFTER SURGERY?
OF CRITICAL NOTE: You need to call us and notify us as soon as possible. Email/posting on Facebook or Internet boards/etc. are not acceptable or effective means of communication regarding your personal healthcare** and you MUST *speak* with a medical team member as soon as your symptoms present following surgery by calling the office. Please also do not ask others (unless they are your parent and you are under 18, your legal partner, or your patient advocate/caregiver with written, notarized proof to confirm such status) to email, call or write us on your behalf. We will not discuss patient cases with anyone except the patient and/or her legal representative. Our phone number, monitored 24 hrs a day 7 days a week, is 770-913-0001. We cannot action cases we do not know about or that are publicly posted on social media (for us to do so would violate your privacy protection under the law and is not an appropriate means of communicating regarding health matters), so please contact us by phone. It can take upwards of one-three months post-excision to heal completely; possibly longer in some cases. Though you may return to normal activity within 7-14 days, internal healing takes much longer. Discuss with your surgeon realistic outlooks for your specific case.
Every attempt should be made to contact our offices with medical concerns or prescriptions requests during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. We understand, however, that of course needs cannot always be anticipated to take place during business days/hours. In such events, please call our service to be connected with the on-call surgeon, 24 hours a day, who will try and accommodate your urgent requests in any way possible. Please do not email or leave voicemails with urgent medical or prescription concerns; please also NEVER contact staff via social media** or by public postings, as we cannot protect your privacy via such means of contact and will not respond to public postings with information about your specific case. All requests regarding your care must be directly appropriately to our offices.
**About our social media policy: we recently we received a question from a patient who had seen on a certain social media group that the CEC implemented our social media policy in order to “censor patients.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s lot of confusing information out there, particularly on groups, so we’re glad the patient came to us and asked directly. We are always open and transparent, and happy to answer questions. You can read the policy for yourself here. To clarify in brief:
In accordance with recommendations from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), most responsible hospitals, physicians and health care organizations, including us, the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and many others, have all developed Social Media Policies. The policies are designed to guide proper patient-physician communication and interaction on social media, and above all, to “protect privacy and confidentiality of patients, avoid situations in which online medical advice is requested” and “to make patients aware that information they post online may be available to anyone and could be misconstrued.”
Specifically: “physicians are discouraged from interacting with current or past patients on personal social networking sites such as Facebook. Physicians should only have online interaction with patients when discussing the patient’s medical treatment within the physician-patient relationship, and these interactions should never occur on personal social networking or social media websites.”
As the FSMB recommendations to healthcare organizations and practices like ours evolve over time, so too does our own policy. However, to be certain: ours has never been intended as a directive preventing patients from sharing their own personal experiences – good or bad – with their own networks. Rather, it is intended to remind our patients about the importance of safety and communication issues. For example:
-Patients should not share photographs of sensitive medical data (records/photos) featuring their home address, billing information, phone number, etc. on social media - this does NOT mean you can't share your surgical photos and operative notes! They are yours to share. But before you do, make sure your DOB, phone number, social security number or other sensitive information that may appear is blocked out. This is for your own safety - not 'censorship'.
-Patients must call our office directly, instead of posting to Facebook or web groups requesting our attention on a personal medical situation. We do not respond to personal medical inquiries on the Internet.
-Patients must follow up with staff personally so we can try and help if issues arise; posting to a private social media group but not notifying our office about your issue does not enable us to offer any care or follow up.
-Individuals must never post or ‘inbox’ a third party’s medical information to us for any reason, with or without that third party’s permission. Patients must contact us directly.
-Patients must not ‘text’ or ‘Tweet’ for prescription refills (yes, this has happened). Please call the office.
-Patients should not post their personal financial information, such as that found within your surgical contract paperwork, on the world wide web. This is for your safety and privacy.
These are all real examples of situations that have actually occurred; our guidelines are about safety, not censorship. Again, nowhere in our policy does it say patients cannot share their personal experiences with others, and that is not what our guidelines convey (and never has been). Of course your medical information is yours to do with what you wish, but we use social media as a tool to augment our care, not as a replacement, and your safety is important to us. We merely request that our patients help us to help them by using best judgment regarding sensitive communications at all times. While we recognize patients and non-patients alike desire ease of communication with our staff, we must always be cognizant of not trading communication quantity for quality. As such, please be sure to call and/or contact us directly with your needs and be mindful of the personal data you share with the global internet audience.
I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Call us anytime at 770-913-0001 or email our Director at Heather@CenterForEndo.com. The best place to get answers is directly from the CEC. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and want to help you however we can!