Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please use this page to find answers to frequently asked questions at Genesis Pediatric Medicine. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please call us at (815) 899-0001. We want to be your source of good information.
Q1: Who do I contact for questions about my child’s health?
Q2: Who do I contact if I need assistance after office hours?
An on-call provider is available after hours to address your urgent questions, concerns, or problems. For less pressing needs, please contact the office during our traditional telephone hours. If you are looking for quick facts or home care advice, please reference Dr. Barton-Schmidt’s “Is Your Child Sick?”. You can find dosages of common over the counter (OTC) medications or look up information related to general symptoms or specific conditions.
After hours care is available 365 days a year. It starts at the end of our regular telephone hours. By calling our office at (815) 899-0001, you will be given the option to reach an on call provider. Please disable “call-blocking” features on your phone system in anticipation of our call. We want to respond to your needs as quickly as possible. Our goal is to return your call within 15 minutes. If you have not received a call back within 30 minutes, please call us again. Most importantly, if your child has developed new or worsening symptoms, please call back immediately or seek emergency care.
Q3: What should I do in the case of a medical emergency?
If you believe something emergent is happening to your child, call 911 immediately. Please do not second guess yourself. Respect what you are seeing, feeling or thinking. Your job is to act in that moment. If you believe something is just not right about your child however it does not appear to be life threatening, you may call us, seek care at the nearest emergency room or again call 911.
Q5: What is HIPAA and how does it affect me?
HIPAA is an acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. It is a federal law focused on keeping your health information private and defining how it can be used and disclosed. With few exceptions, all health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses must follow the rules of this law. HIPAA ensures that your protected health information cannot be used or disclosed for any purpose other than treatment, payment or health care operations (business/administration). Please click here for expanded details of our privacy policies: Notice of Privacy Policies.
Q1: How do I schedule an appointment?
Please call us at (815) 899-0001 to schedule your child/adolescent’s appointment.
Q2: What is the recommended schedule for well child checkups?
Health promotion and maintenance is an important aspect of pediatric medical care. We follow the well child check up schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Patients are seen at:
- 2-3 days after birth
- 1-2 weeks
- 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 & 18 months
- 2 years and then annually
Q3: What is a sick visit?
An encounter with your health care provider to address new symptoms or problems, or a change in an ongoing condition.
Q4: What is a recheck?
A focused encounter with your health care provider to follow up on the status of symptoms, problems or conditions addressed at a past sick visit.
Q5: What is a consultation?
An expanded encounter with your health care provider in which more time is scheduled to address complex new or ongoing symptoms, problems or conditions.
Q6: How far in advance can I make an appointment?
Well child checks can be scheduled up to 1 year in advance. Sick visits, rechecks and consultations are scheduled on an as needed basis.
Q7: Can someone other than a legal guardian accompany a patient to an appointment?
Yes. We know that you can’t be in two places at the same time. Minors unaccompanied by a legal representative (parent/guardian) must have a completed Medical Authorization form in order to be seen. You can download it from here: Medical Authorization Form.
Q8: Can a teenager attend an appointment without being accompanied by a legal guardian?
We want our adolescent patients (11-21 years of age) to be actively involved in their healthcare decisions. While any adolescent can make an appointment request, those under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian or have a Medical Authorization Form completed by their guardian in order to be seen. You can download it from here: Medical Authorization Form.
Q9: What is your policy about missed or cancelled appointments?
Please call us as soon as possible if you are not able to make your appointment. We require a 24 hour notice. A fee may be assessed for missed appointments.
Q1: How do I request a prescription refill?
You may also request a prescription refill by:
- having your pharmacy forward us a refill request electronically
- leaving a message on the Prescription Refill Line (select 3 on the telephone tree)
Q2: How long does it take to process prescription refill requests?
Please allow 24 hours for us to review your request, make a determination and forward it to your preferred pharmacy.
Q3: Can you send a prescription refill directly to the pharmacy?
Yes. We can send new prescriptions or refill requests directly to the pharmacy through our electronic health record.
Q4: Which medications cannot be sent directly to the pharmacy?
We do not send prescriptions for controlled substances electronically. This would apply to both narcotic pain medications and stimulants used in the treatment of ADHD.
Q5: How do I refill my child’s ADHD medication(s)?
You may request an ADHD medication refill by leaving a message on the Prescription Refill Line (select 3 on the telephone tree).
Please allow 24 hours for us to review your request and make a determination. Once approved, a computer generated prescription will be signed by your physician and placed in an envelope at the reception desk. You may pick it up at your convenience unless other arrangements have been made. Unfortunately, by law, most of the medications used to treat ADHD cannot be refilled electronically.
Q6: What is the school medication form and how is it used?
This form provides nurses, teachers and coaches with important information about medications that your child may receive while at school. Many schools have their own versions of this form while all require it to administer any type of medication.
Q7: Can I get a refill of a prescription written by a non-Genesis Pediatric Medicine provider?
On a case-by-case basis, an existing prescription (written by a non-Genesis Pediatric Medicine provider) may be refilled one time prior to a scheduled, upcoming appointment. Documentation or confirmation of the prescription by the prescribing provider or pharmacist is required. This applies only to current patients at Genesis Pediatric Medicine.
Q8: Can you call my child’s prescription in to the pharmacy so it’s ready when I pick it up?
Pharmacists repeatedly assure us that calling in a prescription results in it being filled and ready for your pick up no quicker than any other means. To that end, we will forward your prescription to the pharmacy electronically whenever possible.
Q9: Will you prescribe a medication without seeing a patient first?
We want to make informed decisions. Most situations require a physical exam and/or testing to determine if a prescription medication is needed. With few exceptions, we need to see your child before we feel comfortable prescribing a medication.
Q1: What is the Illinois Certificate of Child Health Examination form and how is it used?
This Illinois Certificate of Child Health Examination form is used to document important health information about your child. It is required for entrance by every school in Illinois and most child care centers. We will routinely complete this form as part of a kindergarten, 6th and 9th grade well child check up and as requested.
Q2: What is the IHSA Preparticipation Examination form and how is it used?
This IHSA Preparticipation Examination form is used to document important health information about your athlete. It is required for participation in high school athletics. We will routinely complete this form as part of your child’s “sports physical” or at annual well check-ups as requested.
Q3: How much does it cost to have my child’s form(s) filled out?
There is no charge for the Illinois Certificate of Child Health Exam form completed at the time of your visit. Additional school, camp, or sports forms may be subject to an additional form fee depending on their complexity.
Q1: How do I transfer my child’s medical records?
A formal, written request is required to obtain a copy of the health information contained in your child’s medical record. You will need to contact your past health care provider(s) to determine what steps you will need to follow. While we want to be able to help facilitate this process if needed, we are limited in what we can do. Ultimately, obtaining a copy of your child’s medical record is a transaction that takes place between you and your past health care provider. To request health information from Genesis Pediatric Medicine, the following form is provided for your convenience: Authorization to Release Health Information.
Q2: How will the information contained in my child’s medical record be used?
The health information contained in your child’s medical record will be entered into our system. A partial list includes past growth data/growth charts, the immunization history, relevant labs and radiology reports, correspondence from specialists and recent sick/well visits. If you provided us with a personal copy of your child’s medical records, we will return them (if you choose) once we have reviewed them. We do not return records received directly from other healthcare providers.
Q3: What health information is absolutely necessary prior to my child’s first appointment?
We take requests for well child care only after your child’s medical records have been received and reviewed. Sick patients will be seen as needed pending confirmation of a medical record request.
Ideally, your child’s medical records should include past well and sick visits, correspondence notes from all specialists, therapists and ancillary healthcare providers actively involved in your child’s care, a copy of all supporting test results and your child’s immunization records and growth chart.
Q1: Is it really important that my child receives all of the recommended vaccines?
Yes. We administer all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published annually by the American Academy of Pediatrics. For detailed information on how that schedule is determined, please read the following: The Childhood Immunization Schedule: Why Is It Like That?. To view our vaccine schedule, click on the following link: Our Vaccine Schedule.
Q2: I am concerned that vaccinating my child may be harmful. Are vaccines safe?
Yes. Vaccines are safe. They are well studied and monitored. In fact, vaccines are the most scientifically scrutinized medications used or prescribed in a pediatric medical office. Safe however does not mean without know risks. Deciding to vaccinate a child against preventable diseases must be measured against the risks and chance of catching the diseases themselves.
We strongly believe the benefits of vaccination far outweigh its rare, know risks. Please read about each vaccine-preventable disease and its vaccine by selecting your child’s age on our Immunization Information web page. For an overview of vaccine safety topics, please read Facts for Parents About Vaccine Safety. Please prepare to act by being informed.
Q3: How do I find reputable information about vaccination?
Q4: I’ve heard that vaccines are no longer necessary. Is that true?
Unfortunately not. Vaccines will remain necessary until vaccine-preventable diseases are eliminated from the world. This was true for smallpox in 1977. Today, after 2 decades of declining vaccination rates, they are more necessary than ever. We must increase the percentage of our total population that is adequately vaccinated. This not only protects those who are vaccinated, but also those who cannot be (for medical reasons) or those few who do not develop adequate protection after being appropriately vaccinated. Individuals who choose not to be vaccinated place themselves and others at risk. The decision to vaccinate is a personal choice framed in social responsibility. The following data demonstrates how effective vaccines have been in the past and how necessary they will continue to be into the future: Vaccines Work! The CDC Statistics.
Q5: What if I don’t follow the recommended vaccination schedule?
The current vaccine schedule is the end product of over half a century of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians. It is no accident nor is it random or variable.While we believe the current vaccine schedule is the optimal model to protect our patients against vaccine-preventable diseases, we understand that some caregivers may not, or remain uncertain. Regardless of our beliefs about vaccination, each of us shares a commitment to advocate for our child/patient’s health and well-being.
As pediatric health care providers, we are committed to care for the whole of each patient in the context of their family. While we understand for some, our differences may remain irreconcilable, our advocacy and commitment to caring for our patient will not change. We highly recommend that our patients receive their vaccinations according to the schedules released annually by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, and can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice. Such additional visits may require additional co-pays on your part as dictated by your insurance company. Furthermore, please realize that you will be required to sign a “Refusal to Vaccinate” acknowledgement in the event of lengthy delays.
Lastly, a few caregivers continue to elect not to vaccinate in part or in total. As of October 16, 2015, Illinois state law no longer recognizes personal or philosophical reasons as viable exemptions to vaccination. Accordingly, this law allows only for religious-based exemptions. To make such a request, the Illinois Certificate of Religious Exemption form must be completed. It requires a statement of religious belief(s) supporting EACH vaccine being considered for an exemption. Once completed, the law also requires the signature of the child’s health care provider. Ultimately, the local school authority determines the legitimacy of the request.
Q1: Do children and adolescents need to take vitamin supplements?
Many children who eat a good variety or all food groups in sufficient amounts can get all of the vitamins they need from their food. However, if your child is not getting sufficient amounts of a particular food group, they may need to take a vitamin to meet their daily requirements. All infants and children need a minimum of 400 I.U./day of vitamin D to prevent vitamin D deficiency and rickets. If your child is exclusively breastfed or taking in less than 32 ounces of formula per day, they should be supplemented with vitamin D daily. Toddlers and older children who do not obtain 400 I.U./day of vitamin D either through vitamin D fortified milk (100 I.U. per 8 ounce serving of skim, 1%, 2% and whole milk) and vitamin D fortified foods (such as egg yolks, fortified cereal, yogurt, pudding) should also get a vitamin D supplement daily. You can also get vitamin D through sun exposure, however a child’s time in the sun may be variable and sunscreens interfere with your body’s ability to produce vitamin D.
In addition to vitamin D for bone health, calcium is very important. Most infants get enough from either breast milk or formula. Toddlers through 8 year olds should get a minimum of two servings of either 8 ounces of low fat (skim or 1%) milk or consume the equivalent from other sources of calcium, such as yogurt, cheese or calcium fortified orange juice. Children 9 years and older need a minimum of 3 cups of milk or consume the equivalent from sources of calcium mentioned above. If your child is taking in less calcium than the recommended amounts, then your child may need a calcium supplement.If your infant or toddler is not taking in enough iron enriched foods, your child may need and iron supplement to prevent iron deficiency and possibly anemia, both of which can have adverse effects on growth and development. The prevalence of iron deficiency can be reduced by starting your infant on solid foods including cereals and pureed meats by 6 months of age, by waiting until your child is 12 months old before offering them cow’s milk, by offering toddlers no more than 16-24 ounces a day of cow’s milk, and by encouraging the consumption of iron rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, cereals, beans and eggs. Foods that contain vitamin C, like fruits and vegetables, can enhance iron absorption.If you feel your child may be deficient in any particular nutrient, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Q2: Is there a health benefit in using “organic” products?
There might be. The following article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2011 cites good facts and raises even more questions: Organic Foods: Worth the Price?
Think Twice Act Once
Q1: Should I circumcise my son?
The current, prevailing medical answer is it’s up to you. Many factors influence the decision to circumcise a male infant or child. Over the last decade, traditional medicine has scrutinized the medical benefits of this procedure. While there are some, they are not great enough to universally recommend circumcision. With that said, the decision to circumcise you male infant or child should be individualized based on personal preference, cultural norms, religious beliefs and tradition. Please read the following by the American Academy of Pediatrics for more information to help you with your decision: Circumcision- Information for Parents.
Q2: Should I breast or formula feed my infant?
Choosing whether to feed an infant formula or breast milk is a very important decision. Breast milk is the ideal food source for infants during their first year of life. However, for a variety of reasons, we know that infant formula may be the right choice for your baby. We want to support you in whatever decision you make. Please let us know how we can help.
Q3: What can I do to teach my family about fire safety and burn prevention?
Education, prevention and practice are key elements. The following is an excellent resource written by the American Academy of Pediatrics that addresses each piece: Fire Safety & Burn Prevention.
Q4: How do I keep my family safe on the Internet?
The internet has become a way of life. Like anything, our children must learn to balance fun and moderation while being ever mindful of potential risks. Please read the following resource written by the American Academy of Pediatrics highlighting important internet safety tips: Internet Safety.
Q5: What are the current seat belt recommendations and laws in Illinois?
Few would question the safety benefit of seat belts. Interestingly, they have been required to be installed in cars only since 1968 and Illinois adopted its first seat belt law in 1988. This law has evolved as knowledge and technology have advanced. The following resources provide detailed information about car seat safety, product information and Illinois state law: Car Safety Seats: Safety Information (2015), Car Safety Seats: Product Information (2015), and the Illinois Child Safety Seat Laws.
Q6: What can I do to keep my home a safe place for my family?
You can keep your home a safe place for your child to live and play by using standardized home safety check lists at least twice a year. The following is one example written by the American Academy of Pediatrics: Home Safety Checklist.