Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Family Physician?
A Family Physician is a doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who has graduated from an accredited residency training program in Family Medicine. All of our Family Physicians are Board Certified (or Board Eligible pending certification) in Family Medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.
What is a Primary Care Physician?
Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) are physicians trained to be the point of first contact for most non-emergent health care needs. PCPs form a unique bond with their patients because of the breadth and comprehensiveness of their care. While Pediatricians and General Internists are also Primary Care Physicians, only Family Physicians can provide primary care to family members of all ages.
Will I always see my Family Physician when I come to the Family Medicine Department?
We are committed to ensuring care for you 365 days a year. In order to provide this comprehensive care, we have created Health Care Teams to meet your needs when your Family Physician is not available. Each Health Care Team is comprised of Family Physicians, associate providers (Nurse Practitioners and/or Physicians assistants), nurses (RNs and LPNs), medical assistants, and receptionists. Some very specific health care services can be provided through our Nurse Clinic. We are also fortunate to have the expertise of a clinical psychologist who provides evaluative and supportive services.
What is a Nurse Practitioner?
A Nurse Practitioner (A.R.N.P.) is a registered nurse (RN) with additional education, clinical training, and certification. Nurse Practitioners are licensed to diagnose illness and prescribe treatment. While they are trained to work independently, our Nurse practitioners work hand in hand with our Family Physicians to ensure continuity of your care.
What is a Physician Assistant?
Physician Assistants (PA-Cs) are certified health care professionals, educated in the medical model, who diagnose illness and prescribe treatment under the supervision of a physician. Within the physician-PA model, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.
What is Nurse Clinic?
Our Nurse Clinic is staffed and operated Monday through Friday by some of the most experienced nurses in our department. Our Nurse Clinic nurses provide disease specific education, monitoring (e.g. blood pressure, etc.) and medication administration as prescribed by our physicians.
How do I schedule an appointment?
We are committed to providing you access to care when you need it. Our regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm. We also offer early evening and Saturday morning office hours for sudden or unexpected illness. While we do schedule same day appointments for urgent problems, we encourage you to call in advance to schedule an appointment at a convenient time with your personal physician. Please refer to the contact information below for telephone numbers.
What can I expect during a visit to the Family Medicine Department?
You will be warmly greeted by our Receptionist, and if your provider is not quite ready to see you, asked to relax in our reception area. We maintain a selection of current magazines for you to browse, as well as a tidy play area for your children. Soon your Patient Flow Nurse, will meet you, put you at ease, and guide you to your examination room. They will ask pertinent questions about your visit, and also check your pulse and blood pressure, and briefly review your medical history, medication history, and allergy history. At the conclusion of your visit, you may need to stop at the reception desk if you need to schedule blood tests, X-Rays, specialty consultations, or follow up appointments.
How do I get my prescriptions refilled?
For patients receiving care in our department on a regular basis, many prescriptions can be refilled without visiting the office. Each Team in the Family Medicine Department has a prescription refill message line, which you may call 24 hours a day. We ask that you call at least two business days in advance to allow for appropriate review and turn around of your request. Please note, we are unable to refill routine prescriptions on weekends.
What if I or a family member is sick when the office is closed?
During weekend days and holidays, a physician will be on call and available to answer any concerns you may have about sudden or unexpected illness or concerns. After 9:00pm, our phones are answered by a network of highly qualified telephone triage nurses. Together, you and the on-call physician or the triage nurse can decide what care is needed. You may be provided reassurance, reliable advice, advised on a plan for follow up, or referred to the Emergency Department.
What if I require specialty care?
If the care you need is beyond the expertise of your Family Physician, you may be referred to a specialist. We provide 18 areas of specialty care, which means that your Family Physician can refer you to a highly qualified specialist right here in Keene. This ensures that your care will be coordinated and that important health information can be shared quickly between your Family Physician and your treating specialist.
Are there offices outside of the main Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock-Keene campus?
For those who live or work outside of Keene, we would be delighted to care for you from one of our satellite offices in Walpole, NH or Winchester, NH. We also have a separate branch office right here in Keene, the Family Medicine Center, located on Island Street just across from the Colony Mill Market Place.