UW Medicine Lopez Island Clinic Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

— From Jay Priebe, M.B.A., CSSGB, Director of Rural Primary Care Operations, UW Medicine

Welcome to UW Medicine. You’re now served by a 30,000-strong healthcare team whose singular mission is to improve the health of the public.

UW Medicine provides outstanding care to patients, educates the next generation of physicians and scientists, and supports one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive medical research programs.

We provide outpatient care for more than 1.3 million patients each year at 12 UW Neighborhood Clinics and many other primary and specialty care clinics. Our four hospitals admit more than 63,000 patients annually.

In other words, you’ll now benefit from the most advanced medical care available – all provided by an experienced local provider and backed by the research, training and resources of one of the nation’s premier healthcare organizations.

We recognize that you’re transitioning from familiar systems, processes and people from the clinic previously managed by Island Hospital.

We’ve also heard questions and concerns about a number of issues. To help clarify these issues, please review the Frequently Asked Questions below and let us know if there are others we can address.

Who will I speak with when I call the clinic phone numbers?

When you call the Lopez Clinic, you’ll speak with someone from our UW Medicine Contact Center team. This is an advantage because the Contact Center is open much longer hours than the clinic, and they are able to help with appointments across UW Medicine. If you have an immediate need, you will be transferred to the clinic during business hours, or to the 24/7 nurse triage line.

Why do I have to register as a new patient when I’ve been coming to the clinic for years?

The former clinic was an Island Hospital clinic, and no matter who came in to replace them, this would have been the case. It is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement that the first time a patient is seen by a new provider it must be treated as a new visit. We’ve worked hard to transfer  basic health record information to streamline the process, but each patient will need to register in the new system. If you have received care anywhere else across UW Medicine, this will be a little faster.

How do I get registered as a patient?

You can call the Contact Center at 360.468.2245 and they can help you get registered over the phone in  about 10 minutes and schedule an appointment if you like. Or, you can come into the clinic and the staff will help you register.

Do I have to pay to register?

No, registration does not cost anything.

Why am I being charged more as a new patient?

Because we are required to charge your first visit with the new UW Medicine Clinic as a new patient visit, your bill may be higher than usual, and depending on your insurance, your portion of that charge will vary. Again, this would have been true for any new health provider who took over the clinic, but it is a one-time occurrence.

Can I contact the clinic directly?

Yes, for urgent healthcare concerns. Call the clinic at 360.468.2245 and press option 2 to speak directly with clinic staff for urgent medical issues or same day appointment requests. If no one is available, you can leave a message and a member of the team will return your call. If you are returning a call from a nurse or other provider, you can also press option 2.

Can I get a same-day appointment?

Yes, same-day appointments are available to patients with serious, immediate medical issues such as lacerations, broken bones, medication reactions, persistent respiratory illness, fever, nausea/vomiting and acute symptoms of pain. The care team will assess the urgency of each concern, and there may be times when non-urgent requests are scheduled for a future date, based on other patient care demands at the time. This is important to ensure that resources are available to everyone in the community when the need arises. If you’re not sure what to do, our team is happy to talk with you about your condition and help develop a plan – please call us at 360.468.2245.

Why can’t I get an appointment right away for a routine issue?

With only a few months to transition the management of the clinic, it simply wasn’t possible to get our providers hired and credentialed before the clinic opened. We’ve not had as many providers as we’d like in the first couple of months, and access has been more difficult. The good news is we’ve been able to draw on the resources of UW Medicine and bring up some of our very experienced providers to cover the transition without closing the clinic, and we will have our regular provider team on board in just a few more weeks.

What happened to my Island Hospital medical records?

Your records are secure, protected and available to you and your UW Medicine provider when they’re needed.

UW Medicine can remotely access the computer systems at Island Hospital, which retains all patient records generated on or before Sept. 11, 2017. This system interconnectivity allows your UW Medicine providers to easily review your previous medical records, which will ensure continuity of care.

Can I access my own medical records?

Yes. You can request to receive printed copies of historical medical records from Island Hospital by calling 360.299.1326 or by visiting www.islandhospital.org/medicalrecords.

Any new hardcopy records generated by UW Medicine after Sept. 11, 2017 are available through your local clinic. Or, you can access them online through eCare, a free, secure and convenient way to review your health records any time you need them.

A Contact Center representative can help you set up an eCare account.

How do I renew a prescription for a regularly-prescribed medication that I’ve run out of?

If you run out of refills of a regularly prescribed medication, you may be asked to visit your doctor before a new prescription is ordered. For example, the new physicians on Lopez Island may wish to see you before   re-prescribing medicine.

This is not to inconvenience you. It’s simply that the new provider is now responsible for your care and will want to evaluate your health situation before re-issuing the medication. It also enables the prescription history to be added to your UW Medicine health records.

If you haven’t seen a physician in a while, you may also be asked to make an appointment before a prescription is re-issued.

How do I get a refill of an existing prescription?

Simply contact your local Island pharmacy. The UW Medicine computer systems that maintain your health records and the systems at all Island pharmacies are connected, so getting a prescription refill will be a seamless process.

To ensure that you don’t run out of medicine, please notify your provider when your medication supply is running low for a prescription that no longer has refills. The more advance notice you provide, the better chance your doctor has of ensuring an uninterrupted supply of the medication you need.

How long will it take to get a new prescription filled?

UW Medicine has implemented new workflows, a new electronic health records system, and additional quality standards – all to ensure that you receive thorough, accurate and timely health care. With this implementation, new prescriptions can take up to 72 hours to one week to fill.

What if I have no insurance and can’t afford care?

UW Medicine has a robust Charity Care policy that works to ensure that Washington state residents who are  at or near the federal poverty level receive care based on their ability to pay for services, up to and including care without charge.