Thomas Ficho, M.D., Ph.D.

Thomas Ficho

Videsha Kulkarni, M.D.      Robert Maslo, M.D.

Videsha Kulkarni

Scott Meyer, M.D.

Scott Meyer

Frequently Asked Questions

We try to anticipate questions you might have about our practice and provide the answers here. If you need additional information, call the office at 847-998-0010.

1.

If I am sick or have an acute health issue, can I be seen the same day?

Yes. We leave time slots open for these urgent/acute visits, so if you are sick, we will make time for you. We also have office hours most Saturdays. It never made sense that sick patients would call the doctor’s office and be advised that they could not be seen for days or weeks. If you are sick, we will make the time for you and your illness. You might not have an appointment at the perfect time for you or with your regular doctor, but we will make sure that you are seen if you want to be.


2.

Is there a fee for appointment cancellations within 24 hours or for failure to keep a scheduled appointment?

For a physical exam, we request 24 hours notice for cancellations or there is a $150 charge. For regular 15-minute office visits, we ask for 6 hours notice for cancellations or there is a $50 charge. However, we are reasonable, and understand that sometimes emergencies happen. Please call the office as soon as you know you need to cancel and speak to someone about your situation.

The reason we can see you the same day you are ill is because we make sure we have the time for you. If you make an appointment, even on the same day, and we hold that appointment closed, and then you cancel it an hour before, we still must pay the overhead to maintain our staff and another patient may have been unnecessarily inconvenienced. Repetitive “no shows” or late cancellations will be managed with dismissal from the practice.


3.

I need labs done. Do I always need to see a doctor?

Not always; the decision is at your physician’s discretion. If they tell you to come in for a lab-only visit, the staff will gladly book that for you. But most of the time, if you are due for lab work, you are also due for a visit with a physician. If your physician does tell you to come in just for labs, this visit involves a lab visit with the technician for a blood draw, but the doctor still has the responsibility of interpretation of the results, reporting the results to you, adjusting the treatment plan, and writing prescriptions. Typical frequencies for monitoring are as follows, once you have an established treatment plan in place:

Diabetes: Every 3-6 months
Cholesterol: Every 6 months
Hypertension: Every 6 months
Thyroid: Generally yearly
Atrial Fibrillation (Coumadin): Every 4-6 weeks
Topamax and weight loss drug management: Monthly until you achieve target weight
Anxiety and depression: Every 3-6 months


4.

How do I find out my results for tests that were performed in the office?

Studies performed in the office, such as routine blood tests and X-ray studies, usually take 2-3 days to return. Special studies may take 3-7 days to return. For those of you who are using NorthShoreConnect, we will release the results directly to your inbox which can be viewed at your convenience. If you have not yet signed up for NorthShoreConnect, we will either call, mail a copy, or send a brief e-mail with the results.

If you have not received notice of your test results within 7 business days of your test, please contact us.

Never assume that because we did not communicate your results that the test was normal. Insist on hearing the result, because no result means no result; it does not mean that it is normal. This applies to every test you have by any doctor, anywhere, anytime. KNOW THE RESULT!


5.

How do I find out the results of tests performed at the hospital or in another doctor's office?

Studies that we order will be sent to us. A test ordered by another doctor will be sent first to them. Mammogram results are sent directly to you by the hospital. Studies performed at the hospital take longer to return, generally about 3-5 business days.

If you have not received notice of your test results within 7 business days of your test, please send us an email via NorthShoreConnect.


6.

Why won't you treat me over the phone?

We do not like to diagnose or prescribe therapy blindly. This poses risks for you that are not necessary. There are clearly unique circumstances that require phone management but it is with the understanding that you accept responsibility for any adverse outcome and you agree to come into the office the next day. This is like asking an attorney to make recommendations for you but not giving him full access to all of the facts.

The most common request we receive is to prescribe antibiotics for a common cold or for what is perceived as a "sinus infection". The majority of respiratory infections including coughs, sore throats, and "sinus infections" are caused by viruses, and no amount of antibiotics will do anything for a viral infection except expose you to the potential of an allergic reaction, give you diarrhea, or a yeast infection. In addition, a misused antibiotic aids in the development of resistant microorganisms that can actually cause significant harm. Antibiotics do not make a cold get better any faster. If you are sick, and think it is more than a cold, please make an appointment so we can treat you properly. If it is a cold, over the counter remedies, rest, and fluids are the proper treatment.


7.

Why do I have to come in for an office visit to get a prescription refill?

Most medical conditions require monitoring and the best way to let you know the frequency of monitoring is by prescribing enough medication to get you to your next monitoring date.

So when we give you a prescription that only last 6 months, it does not mean it is time to call for refill at the end of 6 months. It means it is time to make an appointment. Also realize that many medications can only be written legally for 6 months. Drugs provide benefits, but they also have toxicities and that is why we have you follow up.


8.

Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

No, you cannot. The new vaccines are made up of killed portions of the virus, and there is no infectious virus. In general, anyone older than 6 months of age, pregnant women, and especially those with any chronic medical diagnosis should consider vaccination in the fall.

Immunity to Influenza A takes 3-6 weeks to develop and then persists at an effective level for a few weeks. For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Influenza (Flu) website http://www.flu.gov/.


9.

Am I able to get other vaccinations at Glen Medical Associates?

Yes. We are a federally-certified Yellow Fever vaccination site and we carry most vaccinations required for travel as well as for your general health. Dr. Maslo is also certified in Travel Medicine in addition to Family Medicine, so you can schedule pre-travel visits with him.


10.

How do I get a copy of my medical records?

If you need a copy of your medical records, we will need a HIPAA-compliant authorization with your signature (or a parent or guardian's signature if under 18) stating your name, date of birth, and where you would like your records to be sent. There is a $25.00 charge for each patient chart to cover the cost of copying.


11.

Why is there a charge for prior authorizations of medications?

Insurance companies have significantly increased demands on physicians, especially primary care doctors, to obtain prior authorizations on medications that have been prescribed for patients. Even some generic medications may now require a prior authorization before they will allow your pharmacist to fill your prescription.  Also, many Medicare plans and commercial insurance plans restrict patients to a very limited formulary for medications despite what your physician thinks is best for your health. This process can take a lot of time and effort to complete.

This waste of time takes us away from what is really important, which is doing the best job we can for you. To cover the cost of this time and effort, we have placed a nominal fee of $15 for each prior authorization. This needs to be paid before we will initiate the request. We cannot guarantee that your medication will be approved, but we will definitely do our best to get it approved.


12.

What is the difference between the Welcome to Medicare Visit, the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit and an annual physical examination?

Medicare does not cover a comprehensive physical examination. There is a substantial difference between the physical examination that the physicians of Glen Medical Associates spend an hour doing with each patient and Medicare’s Welcome to Medicare Visit/Annual Wellness Visit. Here are the differences between the three examinations:

The "Welcome to Medicare Visit" is allowed in the first 12 months after you enroll with Medicare. During that visit, your medical history is taken, and your height, weight, blood pressure, and body mass index are assessed. You get a simple vision test and you get a checklist of preventive tests to be performed in the future. Immunizations, family history, and current prescriptions are updated. There is no physical examination or evaluation of medical problems.

The "Annual Wellness Visit" is allowed every 12 months after the Welcome to Medicare visit. It basically updates the Welcome to Medicare Visit. There is no physical examination or laboratory testing included.

The comprehensive physical examination takes an hour total time for your doctor. There is a thorough evaluation of your medical history, planning for preventative studies, a comprehensive physical examination, and a laboratory profile. An assessment is provided, along with recommendations, and this serves as the essential annual assessment your doctor needs to provide you with good healthcare. This is something that does cost extra out-of-pocket.

Here is a link to an excellent info sheet written by the Cleveland Clinic: Medicare Wellness Visits FAQ


13.

What are Advance Directives? Where can I find them?

An advance directive is a written statement you prepare that expresses how you want medical decisions made in the future should you not be able to make them yourself. Some examples include a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Living Will. 

More information, as well as links to the forms for the state of Illinois can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care-regulation/nursing-homes/advance-directives. If you live outside of Illinois, check with your state's Department of Public Health to find the forms that are legally binding in your state.