Frequently Asked Questions
What information will the receptionist need to schedule an appointment?
When you call to schedule an initial appointment, please have the following patient information ready:
- Full name and middle initial
- Your current phone number
- Your birthdate
- Your social security number
- Your physician’s name
- The nature or reason for your call/appointment
- Medical insurance information
It is very important that you let the scheduler know about all the concerns you would like addressed during your appointment. This helps us make sure an appropriate amount of time is scheduled.
Coverage Reminder: If you are scheduling a regular well exam and additional care is provided, other than what is normally covered in routine well exams, your insurance may require additional co-pay or deny payment and you will be billed for these services. Please check with your insurance provider for detailed information about your coverage.
Can I schedule more than one person for an appointment at a time?
We only see one patient per appointment. To allow enough time with each patient, we schedule a separate appointment time for each family member. You may schedule a maximum of two consecutive appointments. Please schedule any additional family members separately.
What should I bring to my appointment?
- Your current insurance card and/or medical coupon
- Shot records
- Payment for any outstanding balance on your account
- Any prescription medication you are currently taking. Bring in your medications or write them down and bring a complete up-to-date list.
- Change of address or phone number(s) if you’ve recently moved or made a change.
Please arrive 10-15 minutes early for your appointment. If this is your first appointment, please arrive 20 minutes early to complete paperwork.
Will I be reminded of my appointment?
We use an automated appointment reminder system that will call you one day before your appointment. If you schedule your appointment online, we will send you an email appointment confirmation and reminder a couple of days before the appointment.
What if I can’t make my appointment or I need to reschedule?
Please call our office as soon as you realize you won’t be able to make your appointment. We request that cancellations be made as early as possible, a minimum of 24 hours in advance so that we are able to rebook the time. If you scheduled the appointment online, just log in and cancel your appointment.
Failure to arrive to the scheduled appointment will be recorded in the patient’s chart as a “no show.” We understand that there are legitimate reasons for a missed appointment; however, if there is an ongoing pattern we may ask you to find a new provider.
What if I’m late for an appointment?
If you are late we will make our best attempt to see you, however it is up to your provider’s discretion whether his/her schedule will allow you to be seen or if you will need to reschedule for a different time.
What types of diagnostic services do you offer?
We perform blood draws, adult immunizations, and a variety of medical tests. Please note that fees associated with our lab are separate from your office visit. Tests done in-house at SFM will be billed either to you or your insurance company. Tests sent out to third-party laboratories will be billed separately by them.
If you have been instructed to fast for your blood work, drink nothing but water for 10-12 hours prior to your blood draw. You may take medication with a glass of water during this time.
If you are not seeing your provider on the day of your lab services, please check in at the front reception counter prior to coming to the lab.
When can I expect my lab results?
For most tests, you should expect results by letter, phone call or through an email directing you to log on to mySFM, within ten (10) days. If you do not get results in 10 days, please call our office at 253-848-5951. Exceptions to this timeframe include pathology (tissue biopsies) and PAP results, which may take up to 2-3 weeks for final results.
X-ray, ultrasound, CT (computed tomography imaging) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) results are usually received at our office within five (5) working days after the test is performed. We will contact you by letter, phone call or mySFM with these results within ten (10) working days after the test is performed.
Results of testing performed at Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Department are usually received at our office within five (5) working days.
Out-of-town ER visits, hospital or outside lab results are less predictable in reaching our office. Please advise us if there are tests you want us to review with you so that we can request them prior to your visit.
Can I get my test results online?
We offer lab and test results via our secure patient portal. mySFM lets you access your lab test results online, generally faster and easier than by phone or mail. mySFM has a high level of security and privacy, above and beyond what ordinary e-mail offers, and is HIPAA-compliant.
For patients registered with mySFM, when lab test results, imaging tests, or other information is available, you will receive an email notifying you that you have a message from your provider at SFM. This message will contain a link to the secure mySFM site. There you can log on using your user name and password, or if it is your first visit, you can register and select a username and password. Then select “Messages” from the menu to view the message from your provider. We will only send messages this way when we feel we can adequately explain the results and give appropriate advice online. If more detailed information needs to be conveyed we will call you to discuss the results.
Will I always be able to see my own doctor?
In most cases you can expect to see your own doctor. However, there may be occasions when your doctor is at the hospital delivering babies or handling an emergency. If this occurs, we will call to reschedule your appointment or ask if you would be willing to see another provider at your scheduled appointment time.
What if I have a medical question?
Our providers are with patients throughout the day, so they do not immediately answer individual phone calls unless it is an emergency. We have consulting nurses on staff that are able to return your calls within one business day. If you have a mySFM account, you can log on and submit your question via secure email to your provider team.
What if I have a question for a doctor after hours?
In the event you suspect a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack, a stroke, or other emergency, you should call 911 for transportation to an emergency room. If you have questions for a provider that should not wait until the office is open, you may contact the doctor on call at 253-848-5951.
Americall is Sound Family Medicine’s partner in helping to connect our after-hours callers with our on-call providers. Once connected, you’ll have a couple of options to choose from before speaking with a non-medical Americall agent. They will obtain your contact information, document your concern and route the information to the on-call provider before connecting you to them by phone. This may take a bit of time if the provider is at the hospital or otherwise occupied, but will help prepare the provider with important information before speaking with you.
If you have a non-emergent issue and also have a mySFM account, you can log on and submit your question via secure email.
We refill prescriptions for controlled substances during weekday business hours only. Other refills may be managed using the on-call physician if an emergency need occurs.
What if I need to be seen right away?
Our providers keep a few times open each day for their patients who need to be seen that day. You can either log on to mySFM to or call us to book one of these appointments. If they are filled, you can walk in to be seen right away at our Puyallup and Bonney Lake Sound walk-in clinics.
When I use mySFM for online services, can anyone access my information?
MySFM is a secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging solution that offers you a full range of convenient online services. Simply log in to:
- Make or view your appointments
- Get your test results
- View your prescriptions and order refills
- Send and receive messages to/from your doctor
- Access secure online bill pay
How do I register for mySFM?
To protect your privacy, we ask that you call us at 253-848-5951 or speak with one of our staff members to get registered. Registration is quick and easy and will provide you with 24/7 access to your health information.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you are uninsured, you may participate in Prompt Pay, a discounted medical program. All fees for your visit must be paid at time of service. The driver’s licenses of all patients who are being seen without insurance or Prompt Pay will be scanned into the computer. Patients must leave a minimum deposit of $85 (cash or credit/debit) before seeing a doctor. For more information, please visit our Payment Services page.
Why did I receive a separate lab processing bill for my tests?
If you are insured with United Health Care (UHC), your lab test(s) will be processed at a UHC-contracted laboratory. In addition to the Sound Family Medicine charges for the testing, you will receive a separate bill from the processing laboratory. Please talk with our lab staff to obtain contact information for billing questions pertaining to these tests.
How do I request my medical records?
To release your medical records, we must have a signed Authorization for the Release of Medical Records form. Medical records can never be released to anyone other than the patient if they are over 13 years of age. This includes child to parent, husband to wife and vice versa unless we have a current Authorization For The Release Of Medical Records form. Please allow 7-14 business days to process your medical records request.
For medical records over ten pages, we charge a fee of $0.20 per page, unless the records are being sent directly to another healthcare provider.