Billing & Insurance
There are two components to the billing services at Andrews Patel Hematology/Oncology.
- Careful review of your particular insurance benefits for services provided in our offices, which includes identifying out-of-pocket expenses and authorizations required.
- Submission of claims for those services provided.
Our insurance review includes determining out-of-pocket expenses your insurance requires. This may differ with each insurance plan and may change over time as claims are processed against your deductible and co-insurance amounts. Our billing staff will review your coverage, deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance percentage and will do their best to keep track of your progress toward meeting out-of-pocket expenses. When an out-of-pocket expense is identified for a service provided in our offices, this payment is collected at the time of service. Many insurance plans require an authorization for services. Our billing staff will do their best to be aware of these requirements and obtain any authorizations needed before service is provided.
Our in-house billing includes submitting claims to patients' insurance carriers, posting payments from insurance and patients, and communicating with insurance companies about claim discrepancies. Our on-site billing services enable us to process your claims quickly and accurately.
Care Coordinator Services
Over the past few years, insurance matters have become significantly more complex and patient deductibles and out-of-pocket financial responsibilities for both oral and intravenous chemotherapy have increased. Our care coordinators can help you understand your insurance plan, apply for financial assistance when needed, or complete any paperwork required to obtain your medications. In addition, their degrees in social work uniquely position them to assist in identifying community agencies to meet your related needs. Please feel free to contact one of our care coordinators by calling the main number at either office.
Our care coordinators are available to discuss your insurance plan and financial responsibility, and help develop a plan of action if your out-of-pocket responsibility is a hardship. They are up to date with community and other resources that may be of assistance.
We participate with most major medical insurances including Highmark Blue Shield, Medicare, Capital Blue Cross, Health America, Aetna, United Healthcare, CIGNA, Geisinger, and Medical Assistance as well as the Medical Assistance HMO, Gateway. Our billing staff is available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact one of our billing staff members by calling the main number at either office. If you do not have health insurance, our care coordinators are available to meet with you and help you navigate your options.
Your first visit
As a new patient at Andrews Patel, you may have questions about your health care journey with us. The physicians, nurses and staff want to make sure you have all of the resources and information you need before, during and after your treatment. Here is a summary of what to expect.
You are also welcome to call the office during business hours with any questions.
Our scheduling staff will mail you a New Patient Packet, or you may click the links below to download these documents for the office you will be visiting.
- New Patient Packet (PDF)
The packet includes the following:
- A welcome letter
- A New Patient Registration form - please complete this to the best of your ability and bring it with you to your first appointment
- The Pain Management Agreement - please review this at your convenience. You will be asked to sign it electronically during the registration process at your first appointment.
- A“See Your Chart” letter - this letter explains how we will register you for “SeeYourChart” so that you can access your medical record from home, or anywhere with an Internet connection. Some patients are registered when their new patient appointment is scheduled and others are registered for “SeeYourChart” during their first appointment.
- Our Financial Policy - please review this at your convenience. You will be asked to sign it electronically during the registration process.
If you have been referred to our office by another physician, we will ask the referring office to provide us with your medical records so our physician has an opportunity to review them prior to your visit. If you happen to have records that your referring provider does not have, or if you have made your appointment on your own, we request that records be sent to our office at least two days prior to your appointment.
The day before your appointment our office will call you with an appointment reminder and ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your appointment time. If your medical records have not been received, we’ll ask for your help in obtaining them so the staff is prepared for your visit.
When you arrive at our office for your “new patient appointment”, the front desk staff will ask for your completed New Patient Registration form, insurance and prescription cards, driver’s license and a list of your medications. Please bring these with you. They will also ask you to electronically sign the Pain Management Agreement, the Financial Policy, the Assignment of Benefits, and the Acknowledgement of HIPAA Privacy Practices. The assignment of benefits shows that you are allowing your insurance company to reimburse Andrews Patel for services provided. The HIPAA Privacy Practices acknowledgment shows that you are aware we have posted a summary of Andrews Patel Policy and that a full version of our Policy is available for your review.
After registration, most patients have blood drawn in the lab at our office. Some of the labs drawn will be immediately available to the physician you will see during this first visit and other labs may be sent out and results will be returned at a later date. After your time in the lab, you will meet with the physician for your appointment. In some cases, you may start your visit seeing a physician assistant or nurse practitioner who will gather some history and physical information, spend time getting to know you and answering any questions you may have. However, the doctor will always visit with you as well and decide your plan of care. Your initial visit is likely to take 1.5 - 2 hours.
Care Coordinator Services
Over the past few years, insurance matters become significantly more complex. Patient deductibles and out-of-pocket costs continue to rise. Our care coordinators can help you understand your insurance plan, applying for financial assistance when needed, or completing any paperwork required to obtain your medications. They have degrees in human services, which means they can help identify community agencies that can provide you with support services if needed. Please feel free to contact one of the care coordinators by calling the main number at either office.YMCA Programs
The Harrisburg Area YMCA offers several excellent programs available to our patients ranging from exercise and wellness to smoking cessation. The goal of the programs offered at the YMCA is to help bridge the gap between a doctor's care and everyday life. The YMCA isn't just a gym, it's a place where community members come together to lead healthy lives and better themselves. That's why the YMCA has jumped into the work of addressing and preventing chronic disease. Its goal is to build community, teach healthy habits, and make sure that everyone has the ability to thrive. You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to participate in these programs. Please see a care coordinator if you are interested in finding a program that is right for you.
Find links to programs and information to help you handle the many important aspects of your care.
- My Cancer Circle is an online tool that helps organize the efforts of those who want to help. From coordinating rides to appointments to easing the burden of daily chores, My Cancer lets caregivers focus on the patient facing cancer.
- ABC Breast Cancer Support Group
- Bladder Cancer Support Group (Bladder Advocacy Network)
- Brain Tumor Community Group
- Breast Cancer Moving Forward - Penn State Cancer Institute for those with newly diagnosed breast cancer
- Celebrating Hope In Cancer Survivors (CHICS)
- Pancreatic Support Group (National Pancreas Foundation)
- Pink Partners
- Prostate Cancer Support Group
- UPMC PinnacleHealth Young Cancer Survivor Group - Harrisburg Head, Neck, and Oral Cancers Support Group
- WellSpan Breast Cancer Support Group Lebanon
- Women's Cancer Center Support Group for Gynecological Cancers
Resources & Education
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Resources:
AndrewsPatel Provider Articles and Tips:
- 5.10.2017: Clinical Trials Myths - Renée Kessler, RN
- 6.4.2017: What is Cancer Survivorship? - Mona Patel, PA-C
- 6.12.2017: Prostate Cancer and Bone Health - Joshua Shipley, MD
- 7.10.2017: Quick Guide to Iron Deficiency - Kathleen Spadaro, CRNP
- 7.26.2017: Caregiver Stress - Amy Cleck, CRNP
- 9.28.17: Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy - Jihua Cheng, MD, PhD
- 10.1.2017: Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Lily Shah, MD
- 10.20.2017: Metastatic Colorectal Cancer - Margariga Gareis, MD
- 11.14.2017: Lung Cancer Immunotherapy - Saritha Ravella, MD
- 11.16.2017: Updates in Treatment Pancreatic Cancer - Kumudini Rao, MD
- 12.11.2017: Cancer and Grief During the Holidays - Elizabeth Jones, CRNP
- 1.31.2017: Causes and Treatment of Pain Associated with Cancer - Mary Simmonds, MD
- 2.13.2018: Cancer Prevention - Mona Patel, PA-C
Medical Marijuana Info
The Journal of American Medicine publishes Patient Pages in its weekly medical journal. Here are a few articles that we feel provide valuable education on topics related to our practice:
- Air Travel - Related Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
- Aspirin Therapy
- Bleeding Disorders
- Blood Transfusion
- Blood Thinners
- Breast Cancer and Axillary Lymph Nodes
- Caregiver Support
- FDA Approval of New Drugsm difficile Infection
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Hospice Care
- Lung Cancer Screening
- Neoadjuvant Therapy
- Proton Beam Therapy for Prostate Cancer
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Radiation Therapy
- Tamoxifen Update
Living Wills (Advance Directives)
At your doctor’s visit you may be asked about a living will also called and advance directive.
See additional information on living wills Advance Directives from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
- New Patient
- Diagnostic scans (CT, PET, MRI, etc.)
- Paperwork and FMLA
- Palliative Care and Hospice
Where will my first appointment be scheduled, how long will it take, and when should I arrive?
Your first appointment is called your new patient appointment. You may be scheduled in our Harrisburg office located at 4518 Union Deposit Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111 or our Camp Hill office located at 3912 Trindle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011. We will do our best to schedule you where you find it most convenient. Please plan on being in the office one to two hours for this first appointment. Depending on whether you have completed your new patient paperwork, we may ask that you arrive 20 minutes early.
Who will I see?
Our practice consists of medical doctors and advanced practice providers (APPs); which are nurse practitioners and physician assistant. On your initial visit, you may be seen by only a doctor or by APP will take some general health history, followed by a doctor who will explain the next steps in your care.
Which doctor should I see?
Our physicians all have specific areas of interest. Unless requested otherwise, we will schedule you with the physician who specializes in your specific concern. Learn more about our physicians.
Is there any paperwork to complete?
You will need to complete paperwork prior to your first visit including a demographics sheet and statement allowing us to bill your insurance. If time allows, we will send you the paperwork to complete in advance and bring to your first appointment.If your appointment is within a few days, you may be asked to arrive 20 minutes before your appointment time to complete the paperwork in the office.
What do I need to bring?
Please make sure you bring the following items:
- Driver's license or ID;
- Insurance cards;
- Prescription drug cards including PACE or PACENET;
- List of your current medications;
- Names and phone numbers of anyone who should receive information about your care;
- List of your physicians;
- A copy of your power of attorney and living will documents, if you have them. We will keep a copy in your chart so we are able to understand and follow your wishes. While these documents may not be applicable to your current situation, it is important to have them on file in order to provide you with high quality integrated health care, it is important that we have your wishes on file.
Do I need lab work?
Our office has an in-house laboratory for your convenience. If the doctor feels it is necessary, the front desk will direct you to the lab so blood work can be taken prior to your appointment. Your next stop will be to see a medical assistant who will check your vital signs and weight, and ask you some questions related to your health.
What do I ask the doctor?
You are welcome to formulate a list of questions prior to your appointment and bring that list with you. At your visit, the physician or APP will review your current health information with you and answer any questions you may have. Often, the physician may require additional information in order to make a decision about the best treatment option for your particular case.
What if the doctor needs scans or tests to provide more information?
After your appointment, you may meet with a medical assistant who will schedule any needed tests or scans ordered. Often, these tests need authorization from your insurance and cannot be scheduled immediately. We will obtain the authorization and schedule the test.
When do I come back?
At the end of your first appointment, you may be scheduled for a return appointment with the physician. Sometimes, the doctor will need your prior to seeing you again.In this case, our office will contact you once results are received to schedule this return appointment. At the end of your first visit, we will give you a general time frame for the next steps to occur. Please contact the office if you have not heard anything in the given time frame.
Diagnostic scans (CT, PET, MRI, etc.)
Where do I go for my tests/scans?
Where you go depends on what tests or scans have been ordered. You may request a certain location, but please be aware that not every test or scan is offered at every imaging center. However, your insurance may dictate where you go.
But I might have cancer! Can’t these tests happen any sooner?
We understand your concern. Our staff will do their best to ensure you are scheduled as quickly as possible. The medical assistant will determine if your insurance needs an authorization from your insurance company and make the request. It often takes the insurance company several days to agree to cover the test..
What if I want to reschedule my test?
Because Andrews Patel is responsible for the authorization, PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS APPOINTMENT WITHOUT COMMUNICATING WITH OUR STAFF. Authorizations are usually only given for a specific day or date range, and moving your appointment could result in it not being covered or the center not being able to complete the testing without the authorization.
What if my work schedule is tight/difficult?
Please let the scheduling staff know when you are available and where you prefer to go. We will do our very best to honor any requests you may have. Please note, we cannot guarantee that the testing center will be able to accommodate the requested day or time..
My testing showed that I have cancer…what now?
You will meet with the doctor and together you will agree on the next steps.
Paperwork and Family Medical Leave Act
What about work?
If the doctor recommends chemotherapy, we encourage you to talk with your employer to determine if you are eligible for short-term disability or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While you may not need to use them, it is helpful to know what benefits are potentially available to you. Some people feel good during treatment, and others prefer a modified work schedule for some of or the entire treatment course.
What about the paperwork?
If you need paperwork completed, simply supply our staff with the needed form(s). They will be completed as quickly as possible, but during busy times it could take seven to 10 days.
How do I get everything coordinated for my chemotherapy treatment?
The doctor may introduce you to the care coordinator. The care coordinator will look at your insurance to understand whether a pre-authorization is required in order for our office to supply chemotherapy. The care coordinator will then obtain any necessary authorizations.
How will I afford treatment?
Our care coordinators will also determine your financial responsibility for any needed care. If finances are an issue, they will work with you to determine if there are any specific charities or assistance programs that may be able to help with the cost of your medications.
How and when do I pay?
The front desk will collect your copayment and coinsurance at the time of service. Your financial responsibility for chemotherapy coinsurance is also required at time of service. Our office can accept cash, checks, MasterCard, VISA and Discover. We will be happy to provide a receipt.
How do I get started?
After the insurance is verified and the financial responsibility has been explained, the care coordinator will set up a meeting with an advanced practice provider (APP), which is a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The APP will go over all the information related to your specific treatment. This education session will cover risks and benefits of the medication, signing the consent for treatment, potential side effects and things to look out for, as well as when and how to contact the office. A physician is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What happens at my first visit?
During this visit, you will be given a start date for treatment. You will be assigned an oncology nurse who will be your primary nurse throughout your treatment. Please communicate with her early and often. Advocate for yourself and inform your nurse about any symptoms you may have. Should you have issues, please call early in the day. Depending on your issue, your nurse may ask that you come in to be evaluated by a practitioner. We are here to help in any way possible. We encourage patients to call us FIRST and to call us OFTEN. We can’t assist if we don’t know the problem exists.
What if I don’t feel well?
Please call your nurse and ask for direction. She will be able to talk with the doctor and determine if you should come into the office to be seen or receive hydration or if additional medication should be called in to your pharmacy. We recognize that there are times a hospital admission is needed, but our goal is to treat you at home whenever possible.
What can I bring for my treatment and what is it like?
- You are certainly welcome to bring someone with you to treatment to provide support.
- The office is Wi-Fi-enabled, and personal tablets are available for use during treatment. The password is Andrews1. You are welcome to use any electronic devices. Headphones are required for the comfort of others should you wish to watch a movie, play a game, etc. You are also welcome to bring your own reading material, knitting, crocheting, etc., to pass the time.
- A microwave and coffee stand are provided for your convenience. You are welcome to bring your own food and drinks as well. A loved one may also bring in lunch, if desired. Staying hydrated is important during treatment. Some people bring a water bottle.
- We have comfortable recliners to sit in during your treatment.
- Your IV pole will be portable, so you will be able to get up to use the restroom and move around as desired.
- Wear comfortable clothes. If you have a mediport, make sure the area is easily accessible. You may also want to wear layers or bring a blanket
What if I have questions about social services and emotional needs?
- First, recognize it is common to feel a range of emotions during the course of treatment.
- Talk to your physicians about any emotional concerns.
- Consider attending a support group.
What if I need help with transportation or basic needs?
Talk with the care coordinator in the office. Each office has a care coordinator who has a bachelor’s degree in human services and can provide you with information on local services.
What if I need help with medical equipment, such as a hospital bed, wheelchair or oxygen?
Simply tell your physician. Your physician will write a prescription for the needed item, and a member of our staff will make arrangements for a durable medical equipment company to provide it.
Palliative Care and Hospice
What is palliative care? How will it help me?
Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to providing specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and physical and mental stress caused by the serious illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and family.
Can I receive chemotherapy if I am receiving palliative care?
Yes. Palliative care is about helping with pain and symptom relief and reducing stress. It has nothing to do with whether you choose to receive treatment.
Who provides palliative care and where is it given?
Our office works with a number of agencies that provide palliative care. Often, palliative care agencies have a hospice “arm” of their organization, but they are not the same thing. Palliative care can be given in your home or a personal care facility or nursing home. We can even arrange for palliative care staff to meet you here in our office if that is more convenient.
What is hospice? Do I have to go somewhere?
Hospice is a service that provides care for people who are terminally ill. The purpose of hospice is to attend to the patient’s pain, symptoms and emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice does nothing to hasten death. Hospice can be provided in your home or a care facility.
Doesn’t hospice mean that I have given up?
In our 30-plus years of practice, we have found hospice services to be very beneficial for certain individuals. At times, the side effects of the medications can diminish the quality of one’s last days. Sometimes, people feel better and live longer when they choose to forgo treatment and pursue hospice care.
Andrews Patel Hematology/Oncology recognizes that we are all unique individuals with individual needs…and we welcome you to our extended family. We wish to provide you with a beacon of light during this time. Please know that we believe your outcome is everything!