Journal of the San Juan Islands


Got questions about new medical center? They have answers | Opinion

March 22, 2013 · 9:43 AM

— Editor's note: The FAQ's and responses listed below were submitted for publication by the communication department of Peace Island Medical Center.

Peace Island Medical Center has been keeping track of the most frequently asked questions raised by patients, customers and islanders. Below are answers by PIMC to many of those questions. But first, PIMC's Jim Barnhart, chief administrative officer, has this to say:

“We value the trust placed in us by Islanders to provide safe, compassionate and effective health care,” Barnhart said. “During transition from a familiar way of receiving health care to a new, expanded system of services, there may be challenges, however, when the transition is complete, I believe we will have earned that trust.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Saturday Clinic, Urgent Care, Free Care?

Q: Will Peace Island Medical Center (PIMC) institute a Saturday clinic?

Yes, we are recruiting for another primary care clinic physician and once we have one on board, we can add Saturday clinic hours. An additional clinic physician is scheduled to arrive in May, which will launch that process.

Q: What about after-clinic urgent care service?

We are exploring how to provide an urgent care level of service at PIMC. The regulatory, third party billing and patient care processes are complex – and distinct from those of emergency care – which requires time to work through. However, it is our intent to start that service, if possible.

Q: What if I have an urgent need and can’t get into my primary care provider?

There are now numerous same-day or open appointment slots each day at the PIMC clinic. Clinic schedulers will do everything possible to work you in for an appointment the same day you call, particularly if you are willing to be seen by any of our practitioners. It’s best to call as early as possible during the day to receive an appointment that same day.

Q: What should I do if I need a doctor appointment but don’t think an ED visit is appropriate?Call the clinic Monday-Friday and ask for an appointment.  Its helps if you are able to call as soon as you can after 8am, and if you are willing to be seen by any of our practitioners available on the day you call.

Q: Why can’t I get a free walk-in blood pressure check by an RN?

If you require blood pressure monitoring that needs to be documented in your medical record as prescribed by your doctor, you will need to schedule regular appointments. However, there is good news for those who were used to this medical service being provided “free.” Dedicated Peace Island volunteers are currently raising funds for a blood pressure monitoring system station that will be installed in the Emergency Department (ED) waiting room and will be accessible to the community 24/7, on-demand on a courtesy basis.  The station will require not a PIMC caregiver to operate it. This station will be easy to use, accurate and reliable, and will print your results if you want to share them with your health care provider or for your own personal record.


Q: How do I contact my clinic provider, or my provider’s nurse?

The process for contacting the clinic provider and nurse is different at PIMC then it was at InterIsland Medical Center (IIMC). Peace Island uses a more comprehensive clinical team approach.  This change is important to understand. Change is often difficult at first, but it is important to know that we are able to serve patients as carefully and compassionately as we always have.  It may help to know that RNs from IIMC are now staffing the Emergency Department and the inpatient units at Peace Island Medical Center. The process now is:

When calling in to PIMC (at 2141), ask to be connected to your doctor’s work station. After the greeting message, you will be asked to leave your full name, date of birth, telephone number and a brief message.  Please allow your caregiver team time to respond. Calls received between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. will be answered by the end of the business day. Calls received after 4 p.m. may not be returned until the next business day.  If you have an immediate need or your physician is out of the office ask to speak to the RN nurse team lead.

Q: How can I be sure my phone call to the clinic will be returned?

The process for answering questions during clinic hours is different than it was at IIMC because clinic caregivers have a different scope of practice. A single Registered Nurse (RN) lead in the clinic manages all the triage calls and assists patients and providers in meeting the daily needs of the clinic, while Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Medical Assistants are also monitoring calls while serving patients in the clinic.

Q: How do I get my imaging, X-ray or lab results?

Your physician or practitioner receives and reviews all results.  After completing a review, your provider will either have your nurse call or mail your results.

Q: What is the best approach for getting a prescription filled?

Our process in the new clinic is designed to get all refills processed in an orderly, timely fashion.  Since most medical conditions and medications require regular physician exams and lab work, usually every 6-12 months, we must review all requests to meet these protocols and to assure patient safety.

When you need a refill, please contact your pharmacy and ask the pharmacy to FAX your refill request to the clinic at 378-1785. (Be sure your pharmacy has our new fax number.) The staff at the clinic will review your refill request, noting whether you are due to come in for an exam visit or are due for necessary lab work, conferring with the physician as needed.  If you are in need of an exam or lab, we will give you enough medication to be able to schedule an appointment.  Then, at your appointment, you can obtain more refills directly from your provider. Your refill requests will be processed within 24-72 hours.

It is important to monitor your supply of medications to avoid running out of necessary medications. Additionally, if going out of town or on an extended vacation, please check your medication supply prior to your trip.You do not have to call in to the clinic to request your refills.  Calling to your pharmacy first should suffice to get the request to the clinic.  IF you have encountered a problem with obtaining the refill, then call and speak to, or leave a message with your physician’s nurse.

Q: Why do I have to come in to the clinic to pick up narcotic or benzodiazepine prescriptions?

By new law, the paper (hard copy) prescription is required when the pharmacy dispenses these medications. The pharmacy cannot dispense unless they have received a paper copy of the prescription from you.  You may pick up and sign for your hard copies at the front reception desk, between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The clinic and reception desk are closed over the weekend.

Q: How do I know what specialists are currently available at PIMC and how do I schedule an appointment with a visiting specialist?

Patients should continue to call the specialist’s office phone to schedule appointments for their Friday Harbor clinics.  PIMC publishes a Visiting Specialist monthly calendar which includes the various specialists’ office phone numbers. The calendar is available at the PIMC greeter’s desk and in the clinic nurses stations. Specialists generally schedule the same day of each month, but as schedules are always subject to change, we publish the calendar the last week of each month for the following month.  If you would like a cop of the visiting specialist calendar you can call the administrative assistant at 378-1704 and request a copy be emailed to you.


Q: What should I do if I have a question or concern about the care or service I received at Peace Island Medical Center?

We are here to serve your health care needs; please let us know if there are any problems by contacting Beth Williams-Gieger (BWilliams-Gieger@peacehealth.org) or Jim Barnhart (jbarnhart@peacehealth.org) or by calling 378-1704. It is our vision that every person will receive safe, compassionate care; every time, every touch.  We need to hear about any glitches that our patients have encountered, so that we might fix them. The very best way to help us continually improve our services is to let us know directly what has caused you some concern.

Q: Who should I contact if I have a question about my bill?

For clinic billing questions please call 1-877-202-3597.  For hospital or emergency department billing questions please call 1-800-873-8253.



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