Frequently Asked Questions
Scheduling, Communication, & Visits
Scheduling & Cancellations
Life happens. Changing or canceling your visit is easy through our online scheduling. Please, though, give us at least 2 business days to cancel or change your appointment. We are a very small practice and alot large chunks of time for each visit, so they are difficult to fill at the last minute. So our cancellation policy for all appointments with Deena Neff, MD, health coach, or team member with less than two business days will result in a charge to the credit card on file of 50% of the cost of the visit. Please let us know what is going on with you and we’ll make every accomodation that we can.
No-shows: If you miss an appointment, whether it is a phone, video/telemedicine or in-person appointment without notifying Deena Neff, MD with either via email, Spruce text, or by rescheduling the appointment using the online scheduling tool on the patient portal, you will be charged 100% of the cost of the visit to the card on file.
Exception: We encourage you to stay home if you have a communicable disease, like influenza or a viral infection, rather than coming to the office, just please let us know.
What Are The Restrictions On Virtual Doctor's Visits?
You must be a California resident to have virtual visits with us. This includes phone, video, and email/secure portal visits.
Initial visits can now be via video within the state of California.
For all non-inperson visits, Dr. Neff will determine whether this type of visit is approapriate or if for your health, in-person is required.
For every type of visit, we must see you at least once a year to be able to treat you, which includes refilling medications.
Patients have unlimited secure email contact through the patient portal with their Deena Neff, MD team. This is free of charge if it is a clarification from you visit or if your provider initiates contact.
However, if you need help for a new issue, lab or imaging results, clinical advice, a new referral, order for labs or imaging, or a new prescription, you will be charged a fee.
If an email question or request is deemed (by one of our staff) to be too complicated or involved for a response via email, they may, at their discretion, require that the patient schedule a phone, telemedicine or in-person visit instead of responding via email.
Billing & Insurance
Can you be my primary care provider?
We are not a conventional primary care practice, but for many of our patients, we can be your primary care physician (with the exception of Medicare patients).
Because you can message us online during business hours, we are often able to take care of acute requests. For example, managing bladder infections.
We are available for same-day or next-day urgent appointments most days.
We do not have a 24-hour answering service, but can respond to urgent phone calls or Spruce texts most of the time. We can help you decide if you need to go to the ER or an urgent care facility, or if we can see you with the next available appointment.
If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.
How To Communicate With Us
We are available through multiple channels to help facilitate communication: secure on-line patient portal through Elation Passport, secure text through Spruce, and, of course, the phone.
Please use either the phone or Spruce text if you need to get ahold of us urgently, especially if you would like to be seen the same or next day.
Texting through Spruce is a good method to use for simple issues, including administrative issues, and ones that are more time sensitive.
Elation Passport is good for communicating more complex and clinical issues with your provider. Think of this as email that is secure and is part of your chart. We check this at least once a day during business hours.
About Lab Tests
- Most lab tests ordered by Deena Neff, MD will be billed directly to your insurance by the lab. We do not collect paymet for any labs from you.
- Some lab tests we offer as part of our functional medicine testing program may not be covered by insurance and, in these cases, you will be charged a fee for a particular test by the lab, not through Deena Neff, MD.
- The specific tests ordered will be personalized to you based on your initial evaluation by Dr. Neff and may include blood, saliva, urine, and/or stool testing.
- We will make every effort to make you fully aware of any additional lab fees that may be incurred and to give you the opportunity to choose which lab tests you feel comfortable paying for. However, we cannot always know the exact fee schedule for labs and are not responsible for that information, especially for reference labs like Labcorp or Quest.
- You may always ask a lab for “cash” or “insurance” based pricing if they send you a bill, which are almost always lower than retail costs. You may also appeal any bill sent to you by the lab.
- You are under no obligation to purchase any specialty testing and we do not profit from ordering any labs done outside of Deena Neff, MD (this is against the law in California).
- Should any lab results indicate you may need further testing, you will be notified and you may chose to follow up with us or other care team members.
- At home test kits are billed from the lab, not Deena Neff, MD.
- If your insurance company only pays for blood work done at a particular lab facility like LabCorp, you must inform us of this in advance of having blood work done. Most insurance plans cover labs done by major national labs, however, some insurance companies have contractual pricing with a particular lab and it will be less expensive for you to go to that lab. We may know which lab this is, but cannot be expected to keep up with all insurance company lab contracts. Please inform us of this arrangement.
Do you take insurance?
In a word, no. We are out-of-network for all insurance companies including Medicare. What this means is that the cost of any services provided by Deena Neff, MD will be billed to you directly and are due at the time of service. This includes supplements that we stock in the office.
Non-Deena Neff, MD medical expenses such as lab tests and prescription medications may be covered by a member’s health insurance plan per that plan’s rules. Most of the time, if you don’t have a HMO plan, labs and imaging studies will be covered by your insurance.
It is important to note the following however:
We are out-of-network for all insurances, including Medicare. You will need to know what that means for your plan, for instance, what your out-of-network deductible is and what the reimbursement rate for out-of-network providers is. Even if you see one of our providers on your list with your insurance company, the Deena Neff, MD practicioners are not part of their plan. We have sought to correct erroneous insurance plan lists, but are not responsible for insurance company errors.
Deena Neff, MD can submit a medical claim to insurance on your behalf. We cannot, however, assist you with claim resolution or appeal for our services.
We will provide you with a detailed billing summary that you may submit to your insurance for reimbursement. There may be procedures or lab tests that are not covered depending on your plan’s rules.
If You Have Medicare
This means that you must maintain a primary care provider that is not us.
We are also out-of-network for Medicare, which means that the cost of the visit is due at the time of service. We will send an electronic bill to Medicare, who will reimburse you if they approve of the charges. Mostly, Medicare pays for the services given at Deena Neff, MD, but they make that determination, not Deena Neff, MD.
We charge Medicare recipients Medicare rates. By law, we are unable to take payment for covered services outside of this fee schedule. If it is an uncover service (meaning Medicare doesn’t pay for it), and you would like this service, you will be bill our standard clinic rates.
If You Have MediCal (including MediCal Blue Cross or Alameda Alliance)
If you have Medicare plus MediCal (Medicaid), MediCal is your primary insurance and we will not be able to provide services to you due to their policies.
There are no exceptions to this given the strict fraud rules enforced by the state of California.