INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS OF THE

HEART OF OTTAWA FAMILY HEALTH ORGANIZATION

 Welcome to the Heart of Ottawa Family Health Organization! Please take a moment to read the following information about our practices and policies.

 Help us avoid delays

  • Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time. This will give you enough time to register and also allow the nurse to do the intake assessment if required, which may include a brief history, questionnaire completion, vital signs measurement, and the collection of specimens for testing.
  • Please allow yourself extra time to find parking.
  • Please ensure we have your current address, telephone number and an emergency contact/next of kin on file and notify us immediately of any changes.

 What to bring to your appointments

  • Bring a valid health card to every visit. Patients without a valid health card will be asked for payment for services. Reimbursement is dependent on OHIP confirming coverage on the date of your appointment. 
  • Please bring all of your medications to each appointment, including prescription medications, holistic/natural medications, and any over-the-counter medications you take on a regular basis. 
  • If you do not speak English, please bring someone with you who can help with translation and schedule extra time for your appointment.
  • Remember your glasses and/or hearing aids!
  • Don’t forget to bring a record of your home blood pressure and/or blood sugar readings, if applicable.

 Accessing care

  • All visits are by appointment only. 
  • Appointments can be booked in person or over-the-phone Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm. 
  • It is highly preferable for you to try to see your regular family doctor to maintain continuity of care. 
  • Each doctor reserves some urgent same-day booking spots in his/her daily schedule.  Please call the clinic if you have an urgent issue that you feel needs to be seen quickly.  We will do our best to fit you in to avoid you needing to be seen by another doctor. If you do end up being seen at another clinic, please ask that they copy your family doctor on any tests ordered.  This will help to keep us aware of your health status and ensure that our medical records remain up-to-date.

Urgent After-Hours Care

  • As a rostered patient you have access to our after-hours care clinics for urgent medical issues. After-hours appointments are scheduled on the same day and are triaged according to medical urgency.  A limited number of timeslots are available from Monday to Friday between 5pm and 8pm.  All of our family health doctors take turns covering after-hours clinics, so you may not see your regular doctor at the time of your visit.  For non emergencies, you should always contact us first before proceeding to another clinic for non- treatment.
  • For very serious issues, please proceed immediately to your nearest Hospital Emergency Department!

 Appointment time allotment

  • Visit times are allocated according to reason for visit, so please let the receptionist know the reason you are wishing to see a doctor at the time of booking.  This helps everyone to stay on schedule!
  • Most regular appointments: 15 minutes
  • Same-day emergency visits: 5-10 minutes.
  • Pap tests alone: 15 minutes.
  • Mental health visits or visits for minor office procedures: 30 minutes.
  • Periodic health exams (previously known as "complete physicals" or "annual exams"): 30 minutes. 

-       Note: These extended visits are no longer required annually, with their frequency depending on your age and health status.  Please ask your doctor at your next visit when and how often you should have a periodic health exam.

-       Note: Your periodic health exam is dedicated to completing a comprehensive health review and physical exam, and to address and counsel you regarding your preventive care.  Please do not save problems or urgent issues for this appointment.  Make an appointment to be seen much sooner for specific or urgent concerns.

  • ** Please note - we try to keep to our appointment schedule as closely as possible.  However, urgent problems may arise that require your doctor’s time.  Please be understanding, as one day your urgent problem may require additional time and delay other patients.**

 Cancelling appointments

  • If you are unable to make your appointment please provide 1 business day’s notice to our front desk staff so we have the opportunity to offer your appointment time to another patient who needs it.
  • If it is suddenly impossible to make an appointment the day of an appointment, calling as soon as possible may help you to avoid a missed appointment charge.

 Late for appointment

  • It is recommended you arrive 10 minutes early for an appointment.
  • Patients arriving late may be refused to see the doctor and will be required to rebook the appointment.
  • If a patient arrives 15 or more minutes late for an appointment it is a ‘missed appointment’ and the patient will be billed a missed appointment fee.

 Missed appointment fees

  • Appointments missed without 24 hours cancellation notice, or without compassionate reasons, are subject to and will be billed directly to the patient:  $35 for regular appointments (15 minutes) and $70 for complete physicals/periodic health exams (30 minutes or more).  No-show bills must be paid prior to your next appointment with us.  Rates are subject to annual increases.

Test results

  • You will typically only be contacted by our office if your test results require discussion earlier than your next planned visit; otherwise they will be reviewed with you at your next scheduled appointment.  Please eliminate extra calls to our front desk by discussing your follow-up appointment requirements with your doctor.  Front desk staff do not release test results to patients!

 Referrals

  • We work hard to find excellent specialists for special tests you may require from time to time.  Making referrals can be a lengthy process and wait times can be long for certain tests or specialties. Each specialist has their own process for notifying patients of appointments – they will either contact you directly or notify our office and we will mail you a letter with your appointment details.  Please allow up to 1 (one) month to receive appointment times for routine referrals.
  • In either case, if you are unable to attend your appointment for a test or specialist consultation, please call the specialist to cancel or reschedule. This will enable them to offer your appointment slot to another patient and help to prevent you from being charged any "no-show" fees.
    • Referrals must be discussed with your doctor in person at the time of your visit.  Phone requests for referrals or requisitions will not be processed.

 Prescription Renewals

  • At each appointment, please ensure that you ask your doctor for refills of your medications to last until your next visit. Please do not allow your regular medications to run out. 
  • We do not accept medication renewal requests by phone.

 Narcotic and Benzodiazepine Medication Policy

  • Our doctors prescribe these medications cautiously and responsibly.  If you take narcotic medications (Morphine, Codeine, Hydromorphone, OxyNEO, Percocet, Oxycocet, Fentanyl, Tylenol #3, etc.) or benzodiazepines (Ativan/Lorazepam, Clonazepam, etc.), your doctor will assess whether these prescriptions are appropriate in the context of your condition.  Your doctor reserves the right to advise changes as deemed appropriate. If your doctor feels your dose needs to be decreased or discontinued, he/she will support you in doing this safely.
  • Your doctor may require you to sign a “Narcotic Contract” or “Benzodiazepine contract” if he/she believes it would be beneficial to your care.  If you are found to have breached the conditions of the contract, your doctor may cease prescribing you these medications.
  • You may be asked to submit to random urine or blood testing to verify compliance.

 Uninsured Services

  • Certain services are not covered by OHIP such as:  sick notes, completion of forms, driver's /
    pre-employment/insurance physicals, certain wart treatments depending on location, travel advice, immunizations for travel, and TB tests required for work.
  • Fees for these uninsured services are set based on the standard published guidelines of the Ontario Medical Association.
  • Charges are payable by you in person at the time of your visit via cash, debit, or credit.

Moving out of the Province

  • If you are an Ontario resident moving to Quebec or another province we regretfully inform you that you will no longer be able to remain as a patient with your doctor at the Heart of Ottawa Health Centre and will be required to find a new doctor.