Frequently Asked Questions
"What is Internal Medicine?"
Internal Medicine is a medical specialty dealing with primary care in a variety of settings. Internal Medicine physicians, "Internists", are doctors who specialize in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases.
"What is Family Medicine?"
Family Medicine (Family Practice) is a medical specialty dealing with primary care; in the outpatient/office, nursing home, or inpatient/hospital setting, of both pediatric and adult patients. A Family Physician or "Family Doctor" are doctors who specialize in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric and adult diseases across a patient's lifespan.
"How often should I get a physical?"
You should be sure to see your physician regularly for a physical exam. These visits are important to be done, even if you are well, in order to discuss and screen for various conditions, to focus on routine health maintenance, and for wellness and prevention. At these visits, your doctor will assess your lifestyle and other risk factors which could cause issues later in life. At this visit, you may also be screened for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, issues with your liver or kidneys, and high cholesterol. Additionally, these visits may focus on cancer screenings (colonoscopy, mammogram, pap smears, imaging, etc) as well as provide an opportunity to assess immunization records and provide any needed vaccinations.
"How do I reach my doctor in an Emergency AFTER HOURS?"
In all cases of a true, time-sensitive emergency, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest Emergency Room BEFORE notifying the doctor.
At Westside Internal Medicine, one of our physicians is always "on-call" in case of an urgent medical issue. They can be reached by leaving a message on our after-hours Emergency line. This can be accessed by dialing your individual physician's regular phone number, and following the prompts to page the doctor on call. When leaving messages, please state your full name clearly and repeat your call-back number twice. If you do not receive a call-back, please be sure to call again, as the page may not have gone through.
"Why is my first visit to a doctor at Westside Internal Medicine so comprehensive? I just want to be seen for a minor complaint"
In order to provide effective and comprehensive care; it is very important for you and your doctor to review your past medical history, lifestyle, and medications at your first visit. All of your past history can impact your current health status, and can change the way your doctor may view your particular issue, no matter how big or small. This type of careful history-taking takes time and good reporting--so please be sure to bring any old records or medications you may need to help jog your memory.
"AT WHICH hospital are the doctors on staff?"
All of the WIM doctors are on staff at Providence Saint John's Hospital, a nationally-renowned health center which has been serving the local community since 1942. It is located just a few blocks from our office, at 2121 Santa Monica Boulevard, in Santa Monica. For more information, please visit their website at http://california.providence.org/saint-johns
"Why can't I find a central phone number for Westside Internal Medicine?"
To better address your specific health needs, each of the WIM physicians has their own office, staff, and phone number. This helps to keep your care personal and provides a more comfortable environment for our patients. To reach your individual physician's office, please call their office number located on their individual physician page.
"Why don't you accept my insurance?"
Westside Internal Medicine is an out-of-network provider (not contracted) with all private insurance companies. We are contracted with Medicare and will electronically submit your claims. In order to allow for more comprehensive and personal care, our office policy is for patients to pay for their medical services at the time of their visit. Our office will provide you with a completed claims form ("superbill") which you may submit to your individual insurance company for reimbursement, based on your specific plan's benefits. This helps us to provide you with more access, longer appointment times, extended hours, and weekend availability.
"It's the weekend and I need to see a doctor. What do I do?"
Not to worry! We offer weekend office visits (Saturday and Sunday) for urgent issues, by appointment. You can make an appointment by calling your individual doctor's phone number starting at 9am on weekends, and you will be automatically transferred to the office of the doctor on call, and our staff will be glad to assist you. As we determine our weekend hours based on demand, it is best to call early in the day if you would like to be seen.
"I need a medication refill--but it's the weekend, what do I do?"
In order to provide better care, we ask that you only request medication refills from your individual provider. This ensures that the physician that knows you and your health history best is monitoring your medications, and provides for safer care. If you find that you are without medications and it is not during normal business hours, you may contact the office of the doctor on call.
Need more help?
If you don't see an answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to call us. Our staff will be happy to assist you.