Your primary care physician may ask you to see a gastroenterologist for many reasons. Gastroenterologists are experts in diagnosing and treating patients for symptoms that arise from the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, large and small bowels, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Examples of such symptoms could include diarrhea, constipation, trouble swallowing, heartburn, or abdominal pain. They also perform screening or surveillance colonoscopy for patients with a family history of colon cancer or personal history of colon polyps. SWGA physicians have taken at least three years of training in Internal Medicine, have passed board examinations, and have taken at least two additional years of training in digestive disease.
Your first visit to Southwest Gastroenterology will allow your gastroenterologist to evaluate your symptoms. As part of that consultation, your gastroenterologist may request additional tests or procedures such as blood tests, imaging studies, or endoscopic examinations for diagnosis or treatment. A treatment plan may also be prescribed along with a follow-up plan of care. Sometimes, follow-up may be through your primary care physician.
You may schedule an appointment for any of the SWGA physicians by calling (505) 999-1600.
Your first visit will be an office visit only. No procedures will be done at this time.
Please provide us with 24-hour notice if you are unable to keep an appointment. We have a long wait for appointments, and this courtesy allows other patients who are waiting for an appointment to be scheduled sooner.
You will be asked to complete a SWGA registration form and a personal/social history form and return them at the time of your first visit. This will help expedite the registration process.
It is also important that you bring the following items with you:
- Insurance card/Referral documents
- A list of all medications you are currently taking
- Recent blood work and x-rays ( upper GI series, barium enema, ultrasound, or CT scans of the abdomen or pelvis)
- Copies of past medical records
Note: If medical records are to be sent by your doctor(s), please call us to verify that we have received them prior to your visit. Lack of these items can result in delays and/or your appointment being rescheduled.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, Dial 911 on your telephone immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Follow-up care is an important part of your treatment plan. SWGA has a system designed to notify you when you are due for follow-up care such as an office visit or a procedure. When you receive your notification, please contact our office at (505) 999-1600 to schedule your next appointment.
Southwest Gastroenterology Associates, P.C. works with Lovelace hospital, among others. If you need to be hospitalized, this is the facility that will be utilized. A SWGA gastroenterologist will usually see you on a daily basis.
Every effort is made to collect the correct copay/deductible at the time of service. Physicians services for procedures are billed to the patient after insurance pays. Please note you will receive only one statement for any patient balance due. If not paid within 30 days, the account will be considered for collections unless arrangements have been made with our office.
Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
Patient share or co-pays will be collected at the time of service. SWGA is prohibited by law from waiving or discounting co-pays, coinsurance or deductible payments required to be made by the patient under their health insurance plan. This prohibition includes so-called “professional courtesy” discounts.
If you have circumstances where financial arrangements need further discussion, please contact our business office prior to your appointment time at (505) 999-1600
SWGA will file Medicare or other insurance claim forms as a courtesy for you. The patient is responsible for deductibles, co-payments and any remaining balances after insurance payment at the time of service.
Should your SWGA physician schedule you for an outpatient procedure such as an endoscopy or colonoscopy, you can expect to incur charges from possibly three sources:
- Physician professional fee, processed through our office
- Hospital or ambulatory surgery center fee, processed where the procedure will be performed
- Pathologist, processed through the lab used to examine biopsy specimens, if any are obtained
Please be prepared to pay your co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible on the day of your procedure. We will file the physician and hospital charges with your insurance company. We encourage you to speak with our billing office should you have questions or concerns.
When you call for prescription refills, you will be transferred to a medical assistant’s voice mail. Prescription refills can best be handled during office hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) when your chart is available and the gastroenterologist who knows you best can be contacted. When you call for a refill, please have the name of your medication, the dose, the dosing schedule, the prescription number, the phone number and name of the pharmacy at which you want the prescription to be refilled.
We rarely schedule patients for endoscopies or biopsies without consultation first. We believe a thoughtful consideration of your problem and full discussion of the risks and benefits of any test are mandatory before setting up a procedure. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
Most insurance plans require an authorized referral prior to each visit. You will need to contact your primary care physician prior to making an appointment to obtain a referral for your appointment. Referrals must be validated by your insurance company and be in their system in order to be valid. Referrals can be mailed, faxed or called into our office. Keep in mind referrals can take up to 10 working days to be processed. It is the patient’s responsibility to have the proper referral at the time of their visit. If you arrive at our office without a referral, you will have to either pay in full at the time of service or reschedule your appointment.