Frequently Asked Questions
Adolescent-Young Adult Medicine is a unique medical specialty. Its very nature and the effort we make to practice it with the utmost care, often require more time than a brief office visit.
How is the first visit appointment set up?
Simply call us at 212-987-1414. For adolescents still in high school or under age 18, this call is generally made by a parent. A parent may also call to set up an appointment for a young adult patient. One of our front desk coordinators will ask you for general contact information, who referred you or how you learned of our practice, and whether the first visit is for primary care or to address a more complex or serious health issue. A first visit will then be scheduled with one of our physicians, who will become your “primary doctor.” Your primary doctor is the one who will get to know you best and whom you will see for annual checkups and other non-urgent visits. After this call, patients and families receive a mailing from our office to confirm your appointment and that contains materials with useful information about our practice.
How long is the first visit?
First visits are scheduled for one hour for patients joining our practice for primary care or for one and a half hours for patients coming to see us initially because of a more complex or serious concern. A parent(s) is requested to attend the first visit if their child is under age 18 or still in high school. The goal of the first visit is to begin to get to know you, and to review current health concerns, past medical history, family medical history, and social history (school/work, family and peer group relationships and other activities). A complete physical examination will be done and any relevant laboratory tests.
Do parents get to talk with the doctor at the first visit?
Yes! For patients under 18 or still in high school, we have found that it works best for the doctor to first speak alone with a parent (or parents) to review the patient’s medical and family history, and then to speak alone to the adolescent about current day health issues. At the very end of the visit, parent(s) and the adolescent will meet all together with the doctor to summarize the visit, answer questions and plan for follow-up. We are flexible about this format, especially for some of our youngest pre-teen patients who may not feel ready to meet alone with the doctor. Young adult patients often come alone to the first visit, but we are happy to meet their parents if they accompany them to the office.
How do you address the issues of privacy and confidentiality?
Our approach to our patients and their families recognizes the increasing maturity and autonomy of pre-teens and adolescents over time and therefore fosters a gradual shift of responsibility for a young person’s health from parents to self. In order to encourage openness, which ultimately enhances the quality of their healthcare, we respect the privacy and right to confidentiality of all of our patients. At the same time, there must be limits to confidentiality for patients under 18 if a serious matter arises which requires a parent’s knowledge and involvement. We make every effort to talk with our patient first about any situation that we feel strongly must involve a parent. For patients over 18, we also welcome parental involvement, when appropriate, but we must obtain prior consent from a young adult patient before talking with a parent.
Should we also have a doctor near our home if we live a considerable distance away?
Yes! We would love to provide all of the primary and specialty care for all of our patients, and for those who live within a reasonable distance, we do so. However, some patients come to us from outside NYC, or are away at college, or have moved away but still return to see us when they are in New York. It is important to have a doctor near to where you live (or to utilize your college health service) so you can be seen promptly if you get sick (e.g. sore throat or abdominal pain) and it is impractical or impossible to get to our office . We are always happy to consult with another of your healthcare providers if you ask us to.