We strongly support the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) schedule for vaccination. This schedule was developed after many years of rigorous scientific research. This scientific research provides evidence that vaccines are highly effective and safe. There is no doubt that vaccines prevent disease and save lives.
Vaccination is one of the most important things that we do to promote the health of our patients. We strongly recommend vaccinating your children according the CDC/AAP schedule.
We are happy to answer any questions that you have about vaccines. The following websites are also very helpful resources.
- CDC: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/resources/index.html
- Immunization Action Coalition: www.immunize.org
- Vaccine Education Center: www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center
CHA Adolescent Confidentiality Policy
At Child Health Associates we want to recognize and support our teenage patients’ evolving maturity and independence. Adolescence is a time of transition toward adulthood, and we believe that we should support this healthy transition in our office. As your child approaches adolescence, the pediatric model where parents make most of the decisions begins to change to allow your teenager to assume more responsibility for his or her own healthcare.
It is important for our adolescent patients to know and understand their own pertinent medical and family history. We encourage you to discuss with them their chronic medical conditions, any medications (including vitamins and supplements) they are taking, and any allergies they may have. Being knowledgeable about one’s own health care, as an adolescent, is an important step in the process of eventually transferring to an adult provider.
Please see the following attachment regarding Adolescent Consent and Confidentiality Laws/Resources.
Most sports require some type of physical fitness certification from your child's PCP. Please understand that we are unable to complete these forms on the same day. If the sport your child wishes to participate in requires a specific form to be filled out, please bring the form into one of our office locations to be completed well in advance of your child beginning their sport.
The CHA phone system records all incoming phone calls. All recorded calls are monitored and reviewed for purposes of quality assurance, verification of communications, training, compliance, and security. Each time you call CHA, you will be reminded that your call is being recorded. If you continue the conversation after being notified that it will be recorded, you have consented to be recorded. CHA will keep most call recordings for 7 years, unless CHA elects or is required to keep call recordings for a different amount of time.
It is a policy at CHA to book appointments in order. We may not book an appointment for the afternoon hours if we still have appointment availability in the morning.
Our evening and weekend hours are only booked on an as-needed basis for Sick/Urgent Care visits. Our Sick/Urgent Care hours are intended to address the medical needs of our patients who need immediate care that cannot wait until our next regularly scheduled office hours.
Appointments during any of our Sick/Urgent Care hours will NOT be booked in advance.
During the weekend days, in order to treat the largest number of patients we can in a limited timeframe, appointments are only available by calling on Saturday or Sunday morning beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Telehealth services are available, if circumstances warrant use, and determined by the provider.
Requests for prescription refills
Child Health Associates requires at least a 48-hour notice for any prescription refill requests. All requests for prescription refills need to be approved by a physician and are reviewed at the end of the business day. Please avoid waiting until you are out of your prescription before you request a refill.
Evening and weekend hours
Child Health Associates is open in the evenings and on the weekends only if there is a need. We see Urgent Care visits in the evenings and on the weekends and will only utilize those hours if we are booked throughout the day. During our expanded hours, we will do our best to accommodate acute patients who need to be seen but we have a limited amount of providers and staff available during that time.
Adolescent health and transition to Adult Medicine
Child Health Associates is committed to helping our patients make a smooth transition from pediatric to adult health care. During teen well visits, providers will spend some of the visit time with teens without a parent present to help teens set their own health priorities and to support teens to become more independent with their own health care decisions. Certain health information is, by Massachusetts law, confidential. That means that if your teen talks with us about certain issues, we need their permission to talk to you about it. At age 18, youth legally become adults. We respect that many of our young adult patients choose to continue to involve their families in health care decisions. Only with the young adult’s consent will we be able to discuss any personal health information with family members. We provide routine preventative medical care from birth through college as long as they are seen yearly for a well visit. We recommend beginning the process of finding a new primary care provider 6 to 12 months prior to this.
Divorce, separation & custody agreements
We believe that such matters should not enter into a child's medical treatment. The individual who is requesting the medical treatment is totally responsible for the payment of the medical bills. We will collect co-pays and deductibles from the attending parent.
"Joint Custody" means that each parent has equal access to the child's medical record. Without a court order, we will not stop either parent from looking at their child's chart or obtaining their child's test results. We will not call the other parent for consent prior to treatment. We will discuss with the accompanying parent, information pertinent to the child's history and/or present exam.
We reserve the right to charge an administrative fee for copying records. Should the issue that come between parents become disruptive to our organization, we will take appropriate measures.
Use of emergency departments and admissions
UMass Memorial Healthcare is our admitting hospital of choice and is our preference for any of our patients who require medical attention outside of our normal business hours. If a patient of Child Health Associates requires emergency medical treatment, he/she will be referred to an UMass Memorial Healthcare Emergency Department. UMass Memorial Healthcare has the most comprehensive staff of pediatric specialists in the area. We feel that our patients will receive the most appropriate care there. We understand that various insurance plans are tiering hospitals based on their cost and in some circumstances the physicians at Child Health may feel comfortable referring a patient to St. Vincent Hospital.
It is our policy at Child Health Associates to see a patient in the office before prescribing antibiotics. Due to the increasing frequency of antibiotic resistance it is important to treat specific bacterial infections with an appropriate antibiotic; this decision can only be made by examining the patient and cannot be decided over the telephone.
External medical records
Upon joining our practice, you need to provide CHA with medical records from your previous practice. We ask that you provide us with a copy only and maintain the originals for your own personal records. It is also the expectation that existing patients send medical records if seen at an outside organization.
Self-Pay Discount (only applies to patients without medical coverage)
Child Health Associates provides patients the opportunity to receive discounts on medical services if payment is made the same day as the visit.
Prompt Pay Discounts
Discounts are available to patients who pay within 30 days of receiving their first bill; this excludes copayments. Please contact our billing office for details, 508-832-9691, option 4.
Urgent care/walk-in clinic referrals
During our regular office hours, it is in your child’s best interest that they receive their medical care in our office. This ensures that your child has access to a provider with their full medical history. Referrals to any other provider during our regular office hours will not be processed.
Referrals to Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinics will be recommended following these guidelines:
- Any child that requires medical attention outside of our normal business hours and is over the age of 2 years, depending on the severity of the illness/symptoms, will be referred to an Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinic; these referrals will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Any child that requires medical attention outside of our normal business hours and is under the age of 2 years, will be referred to the ER. This decision was made after an evaluation of Urgent Care/Walk-In Clinic services and it is due to the lack of sufficient Pediatric care at these facilities.
- We have sufficient appointment availability for physical exams at CHA. In most cases, we have availability within a few days for physical exams with one of our Nurse Practitioners. We ask that you contact our office for an appointment.
Audio, video and photography
Child Health Associates does not permit audiotape, videotape, or photographic recording of staff providing care to our patients. We understand that parents may wish to record special events in their child's life, such as the child's first visit to the pediatrician, but these recordings can be distracting to our staff and therefore cannot be made while care is being provided.