Office Policies | Westwood Mansfield Pediatrics

Emergency room & urgent care center policy

Urgent Care Centers (UCCs) have recently started opening in our area. While visits to Urgent Care Centers do not cost as much as emergency room visits, they do not operate the same as emergency rooms. In most cases, Urgent Care Centers offer the same basic services as your primary care provider. In many cases they are not staffed with pediatricians. Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics is open for patient visits 363 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days). We accommodate urgent, same day visits from 9:00am – 8:00 pm on Monday through Thursday as well as weekends and holidays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. We also are pleased to provide 24 hour physician coverage for phone calls.

Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics will NOT honor a request for a back-dated referral to an Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center for anything other than an acute life-threatening emergency. Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics requires a telephone call to our triage nursing staff (available 24/7) who, along with our clinicians, will help decide whether the medical situation requires services other than what our office can provide. If we feel the medical situation requires more than we can offer, we are happy to refer. Otherwise, it is our belief that with our knowledge of our patients, we are in the best position to give the ideal care to your children.

Office no-show & late policies

Physical exam and consultation time slots are precious and very much in demand. In an effort to serve you better, we ask for proper notice for any cancellation. Patients failing to provide at least a 24-hour notice will be charged $50 for any missed appointment.

We make every effort to be on time for all our appointments. Unfortunately, when even one patient arrives late, it can throw off the entire schedule for that session. In addition, rushing or “squeezing in” an appointment shortchanges the patient and contributes to decreased quality of care (and increases medical errors). In light of this, patients arriving more than 15 minutes after their appointment time will be asked to reschedule. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.

Any child requiring emergency care will be seen as soon as possible.

Teen transition

Dear Families,

Congratulations on being the parent of an almost-teenager!

Over the past decade, we have worked together with you to help keep your child safe and healthy. As your child approaches adolescence, this collaboration begins to change in order to allow your teenager to assume more responsibility for his or her own healthcare. As part of this transition, starting at your child’s 13 year-old check up, your child will be encouraged to meet with the clinician without a parent present for the majority of the visit.

In order to facilitate this transition parents will be asked to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire about their teenager and will have an opportunity to discuss major concerns with the provider, however the majority of the visit will be conducted without the parent present. Based on a specific child’s needs, on occasion, there may be an exception to this plan. Additionally, teenagers will always have the option of requesting a nurse to be in the room as a “chaperone.”

We at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics are committed to empowering our adolescent patients to know and to understand their own pertinent medical and family history. We encourage you to inform and educate them about their chronic medical conditions, any medications (including vitamins and supplements) they are taking, and any allergies they may have. Being able to manage one’s own health care as an adolescent is an important step in the process of eventually transferring to adult-centered care.

Gradually shifting responsibility for health-related tasks at this developmentally appropriate time gives adolescents the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to become independent, and eventually manage their own health conditions. We can help our teenagers become informed and empowered young adults.

Please help your child with this process by making him or her aware of our patient portal and how to use it to contact us with questions. Additionally, we recommend all teens and young adults program the following information into their phone (consider password protecting):

  1. Any health issues (asthma, ADHD, allergic rhinitis, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc…)
  2. Any allergies to medications
  3. Date of the last tetanus shot
  4. Any current medications (including over the counter medicines, vitamins and supplements) including the dosage and frequency of administration
  5. Our office number as well as the names and phone numbers of any specialists they have seen

The early teenage years can be very exciting and challenging as your child strives to develop a sense of individuality. We look forward to our new collaboration with you AND your teen!

Sincerely,
Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics

Recommended Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Caring For Your Teenager: The American Academy of Pediatrics

Vaccine

We at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics firmly believe that immunizations are one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the last century. Vaccines are important for your child. Vaccines save lives.We are a Pro-Vaccine Practice. We expect parents to immunize their children according to the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children according to the Massachusetts School Immunization Requirements are not a good fit for our practice and will be asked to leave.

The AAP and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both recommend administering multiple immunizations at each visit and not “splitting” vaccines. Multiple shots and combination vaccines are utilized for three main reasons:

  1. to provide broad immunologic protection to children when they are young and most vulnerable
  2. to minimize the absolute number of shots needed
  3. to minimize the number of office visits, and thus the likelihood of medical error and the cost to the health care system

Administration of simultaneous immunizations has been extensively studied and determined to be safe and efficacious. There is no negative effect on the normal childhood immune system. There is no medical benefit to splitting shots (and there is increased potential for harm by doing so).

We at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics strongly support these recommendations. Splitting vaccines leads to medical errors and increases risk to the undervaccinated child, In addition, it poses a risk to other children in our practice who may come into contact with your child.Parents who insist on diverging from the recommended vaccine schedule will be asked to sign a waiver stating that they are aware of the potential risks inherent in doing so (including, but not limited to, decreased immunity to potential life-threatening infections), as well as the lack of medical benefit from splitting shots. In addition, the parents will be asked provide (in writing) their proposed vaccine schedule for provider approval. Families who fail to adhere to this alternate schedule (once agreed upon) or parents unwilling to sign the waiver will be asked to leave the practice.

We are happy to provide you with literature and websites on vaccines, as well as to answer any and all questions you may have.

Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your children.

Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics
Proactive in Your Child’s Care!

(for more information: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines)