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FAQs

How do I schedule an appointment?

We see all patients by appointment whenever possible and request you call in advance to make an appointment or use our online appointment request form. Please remember because of the popularity of many of our doctors you should book well in advance appointments for routine exams such as physicals, pap smears, school exams or immunizations. 

What if I need to be seen the same day?

When an unexpected illness occurs we will make every effort to provide you with a same day appointment with either your regular physician or one of his or her colleagues. We also operate two Urgent Care Centers for evening and weekend hours.

One is located at 2424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, Ca 90403 and the other is located at 4560 Admiralty Way, Ste. 100, Marina Del Rey, Ca. 

Why does it seem that physicians are always running behind schedule?

We want to provide the best care to our patients and sometimes patients end up having to wait longer than they expected to see their doctor.  Sometimes patients bring extra problems and questions not mentioned when making their appointment which results in doctors spending more time with the patient and we make every effort to accommodate our patients who need to be seen for acute injuries and or illnesses.  Therefore, when a doctor is running late for your appointment, please remember he or she is trying to deal with a situation fairly and compassionately, and one day it may be you who needs a little extra attention. Thank you for your understanding.

What happens if I don't cancel an appointment or don't show up for my appointment?

Because we reserve the appointment time specifically for your appointment and we cannot use it for another patient if you don't cancel the appointment in advance, we have had to institute a cancellation fee for appointments cancelled without sufficient notice. There is no charge if you call at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment to cancel. However, failure to cancel an appointment at least 24 hours in advance will result in a charge.

What if I need to reach my doctor by telephone?

During regular office hours: All patients are encouraged to call with any questions they may have about the care we provide. In order to minimize the interruption to patients who are in the office for a scheduled appointment, we try not to interrupt physicians, except for true medical emergencies. Our staff has been trained to answer many of the questions you may have, and for those that need to be answered by your physician, the staff will relay the information to the doctor and your call will be returned at his or her earliest opportunity.

For simple medical questions, such as a medication clarification, questions about lab results, whether you should be concerned about a particular symptom, etc., your doctor or the staff will most likely be able to answer your question over the phone. However, for more complex medical issues, your doctor may request that you set an appointment and come in to the office, as he or she may feel that you need to be seen in person for proper diagnosis and care. If there is an issue that requires the physician's medical expertise to discuss with you over the telephone, a fee may be charged.

Email Communication and Secure Messaging: myUCLAhealth

Whether you're at work, on the road or at home, you can now actively manage your appointments, communicate securely with your care team, view lab results, and much more. Ask about registration for myUCLAhealth during your office visit today. 
Current Patients: Visit myUCLAhealth to learn more » 
New Patients: Request an appointment »

What if I get sick after the office is closed, after hours?

If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.  Otherwise, call your doctor's office and get the doctor on-call, or call one of our two Urgent Care facilities.

Santa Monica office is located at 2424 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, Ca., phone number is (310) 828-4530. 
Playa Marina office is located at 4560 Admiralty Way, Suite 100, Marina Del Rey, Ca., phone number is (310) 827-3700.

What is the best way to get my prescription refilled?

Prescription refills often frustrate patients because the process doesn't seem to happen fast enough. In order to help streamline the process we have upgraded our process and incorporated the use of electronic prescribing. Below is the process in order for a prescription refill to occur.

  • A patient notifies the pharmacy and the pharmacy may take some time before notifying our office of the refill request.
  • The pharmacy calls or faxes the office to request a refill.
  • The physician must review each request to be sure that the interval since the last prescription refill is appropriate, in other words that the drug is not being misused or abused, that the dose and strength are appropriate, that there are no other ongoing or outstanding unresolved problems for the patient that need follow-up at the time of the prescription refill. Also, the physician must assure that the patient has been seen recently. The Medical Board and the Drug Enforcement Agency require physicians to have made an examination of the patient periodically, particularly if medications have an abuse potential. Despite our best efforts, it can take a little while to do this process properly. We therefore ask that you call us at least 3 business days in advance to get the refill done.
  • Ask your doctor at the time of your visit to write the maximum number of refills possible on the original prescription to cut down on the number of times you or the pharmacy will have to call to get the refill.

If I need to be hospitalized, where will I be sent? If I need to go to the Emergency Room, which hospital should I go to?

All the doctors of Santa Monica Bay Physicians are affiliated with both Saint John's Hospital and Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. Your insurance company may only have a contract with one or the other of these hospitals, or with both. (It is important for you to know which hospitals your insurance is contracted with, in case you need to go to the emergency room.) If your insurance allows you to go to either hospital, your doctor will admit you to the hospital that he or she feels is most appropriate, based on specialty services, bed availability, etc. If you have a preference for one hospital over the other (and your insurance allows you to go to either), your doctor will make every effort to accommodate your preferences. Once you have been admitted to the hospital, we work with a group of specialists who have been trained specifically for patients in the hospital.  These doctors are called Hospitalists.  They are in constant communication with the patient's primary care physician during the course of their hospital care.  

In the case of a true life-threatening medical emergency, you should call 911, and you should go to whatever emergency room they direct you to (see Medical Emergencies).

What if I need specialty care?

Your primary care physician will assist you in obtaining specialty care by referring you to a specialist he or she feels is medically appropriate for your condition and coordinated with your insurance carrier.

Will you bill my insurance directly?

Santa Monica Bay Physicians is contracted with most major health plans, and we will submit claim forms to your insurance company on your behalf.

How do I contact billing with a question about my bill?

We have a special web form for billing requests. Please use the online billing request form.

What about my privacy rights? Who will you and won't you release my medical information to?

We take patient privacy and confidentiality of records very seriously. Santa Monica Bay Physicians has very aggressive policies in place to protect patient confidentiality since long before there were the federal HIPAA regulations governing patient privacy.

Detailed information about our privacy policies can be found under Privacy Practices page.