Ear Center : Office Information & Policies

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Office Hours   |   Office Location  |   Map & Directions  |   Initial Visit   |   Our Physicians   |   Audiology Services  
Health Plans  |   Financial Information  |     Forms/Medical Records   |   HSA's  |   Minors   |   Correspondence  
Email Policy  |  SmartPhone Policy | Missed Appointments  |   Prescription Refills  |   Telephone Policies  |   On-Call Arrangements   

EMERGENCIES

Forms:  Registration  |  Medical History for Adults  |  Medical History for Children < 12 yrs.

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Welcome

Welcome to The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A. We have been committed to providing the best ear care and hearing restoration possible to our patients since 1989. We care for problems such as:

  • hearing loss
  • ear infections
  • balance problems
  • ear, nose & throat problems in children (for instance Ear Tube Surgery, Tonsillectomies & Adenoidectomies, etc.)

We treat both children and adults. Our highly qualified surgeon and audiologists are dedicated to comprehensive hearing restoration through medicine, surgery, digital hearing aids, and cutting edge hearing implant technologies.

Click here to see a comprehensive list of Our Services.
Click here to read our Mission Statement.
Click here to read our Privacy Policy.

Office Hours

Hours: Our Business Office hours are from 9:00am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. We do not have Saturday or evening hours. The office is closed daily from 12:00pm - 1:00pm for lunch. The office is closed on Easter Friday, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (and the day after Thanksgiving), Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Office Location

Our office, The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A. along with our Hearing Aid and Hearing Implant Center, is located on the second floor of the "Church Street Medical Building", 1126 N. Church Street, Suite 201. The "Church Street Medical Building" is located directly across the street from the Cone Day Surgery Center. A large, free, convenient parking garage is located directly behind our building. The entrance to the building is on the parking garage side. All access is handicap accessible and wheel chair friendly. A drive-up, covered portico is available for your convenience during inclement weather.

Map & Directions


Click here for a map and directions to The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A.

Initial Visit

During your initial visit, you or your child will have a thorough review of your medical history and a complete head & neck examination. To facilitate the visit, we request that you complete our Registration Form and either our Medical History Form for Adults  or our Medical History Form for Children < 12 years and bring them with you to your appointment. You may fax them to us at (336) 273-9936 or mail them to us. At this time, there is not an option to email them to us.

  • If you or your child wear hearing aids, please bring them with you to your appointment, even if they are not operational and are not being worn.
  • Please remember to bring a list of your current medications and your current insurance card. Other specific information is provided below.
  • We look forward to meeting you soon. Please call us at (336) 273-9932 if you have any questions that are not answered on our web site.

Our Physician

Our physician, Eric M. Kraus, M.D., M.S., is an otologist (physician who cares for the ear and performs ear surgery). He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. Dr. Kraus is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and a past Fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His knowledge, experience, and research enables him to offer you highly specialized treatment for your ear problem(s).

Learn more about our physician:

 

Audiology Services & Special Tests

We maintain a full service audiology department complete with audiometric test equipment, sound rooms, and a large field speaker configuration. We perform:

  • basic comprehensive audiometry
  • tympanometry
  • acoustic reflex and decay testing
  • distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE's)
  • auditory brainstem response and auditory steady state response testing
  • electronystagmography (balance testing)
  • central auditory processing testing in adults
  • digital hearing aid fitting and programming
  • cochlear implant fitting and mapping
  • BAHA & Ponto fitting and adjustments
  • computer programming of the Envoy Esteem® totally implantable hearing device.

We even have a hearing aid repair laboratory on site in order to provide minor hearing aid repair services.
Occasionally, special tests are needed to make a diagnosis. By maintaining sophisticated laboratory equipment within our office, we can often provide a diagnosis for our patients with a minimum of inconvenience.

Health Plan Participation

The Ear Center of Greensboro, P.A. participates in the following Health Plans:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Great Western
  • Medicaid Children
  • Medicare
  • MedCost
  • United Healthcare

At this time, we do not participate with BCBS Partners, Cigna, Champus, Partners Medicare.

Primary Care Prior Authorization

Depending on your plan, you may require prior authorization from your primary care doctor. It is the patient's responsibility to obtain the prior authorization. If you are unable to obtain the prior authorization, please notify us in advance at (336) 273-9932 so that we may reschedule your appointment.

Financial & Payment Information

Payment at the time of service

Due to ever increasing medical costs, we request payment for office services at the time that the services are rendered, unless you are covered by an insurance plan with which we participate (see section above entitled "Health Plan Participation" for a list of plans). Accepted methods of payment are: cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, or Care Credit (See next paragraph concerning Care Credit.)

Care Credit

Payment plans are offered through a third company called "Care Credit". You may apply to Care Credit on-line at www.carecredit.com or fill out a Care Credit application at our office.

Referrals

If you belong to a managed care or HMO program that requires a referral, you must present a valid written or verbal authorization before being seen by our doctors.

Participating plans

As specified by your insurance company, co-payment and deductibles are due at the time of your office visit. We will file a claim form with your insurance company for you.

Non-participating plans

If you are covered by an insurance plan that we do not participate with, we require payment in full at the time of service. We will give you a claim form to file with your insurance company so that you may be reimbursed by your plan. If you can not supply us with insurance information, you may be seen as a personal pay patient, and we will collect in full at the time of your visit.

Surgery

Prior to your surgical procedure, our office will contact your insurance company to verify benefits and check notification requirements. Any copays, coinsurance, or deductibles will be the patient’s responsibility. Payment of these will be handled through our surgery coordinator.

Billing

Statements are mailed monthly. Payments are due within 15 days of the statement date.

Medicaid

A current Medicaid card must be presented at each visit. If your Medicaid is Carolina Access, we must have an authorization number from your primary provider (that is listed on the card) in order to see you. If your card has the wrong provider listed, the proper number must be available prior to your visit. If a patient is expecting to receive Medicaid benefits, does not have current coverage, and wishes to be seen as a personal pay patient, we will be glad to see you. However, we do not do retroactive filing to Medicaid. Once you receive your Medicaid coverage, we will file all future claims for you. However, we do not refile old dates of service.

Forms & Medical Records

Our office charges a minimal fee for the copying of medical records and for filling out forms. The fee will be determined at the time of the request and is based on number of pages copied or length of time to complete the forms. All requests for medical records must be accompanied by a release of information form signed by the patient or legal guardian.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)

Due to the high deductibles often associated with HSA's, we do ask that all visits be paid in full at the time of service. If you have met your deductible, please bring your latest "explanation of benefits" (EOB) from your insurance company to your visit. If your deductible has not been met, please be prepared to pay in full at the time of check-out. To make payment easier for you, we do accept Visa and Master Card.

Minor Children

Due to North Carolina state law, we require that a patient, who is a minor (defined in NC as a child who is under the age of 18 years), be accompanied to all appointments by a parent or legal guardian. This is necessary before any evaluation or treatment can be performed by our physicians. A 17 year old child, who is able to drive, still needs to have a parent or legal guardian in attendance or non-emergent care cannot be provided.

Correspondence

Following a new patient visit, we will send a consultation letter to your referring doctor. The letter will summarize your diagnosis and treatment plan, unless we are directed otherwise.

If you request special letters that may require additional time or data (letters for disability or communications with insurance carriers, employers, public agencies, attorneys, etc,) or copies of your medical records, there will be an additional fee for preparation and copying. A fee list for special communications and records may be obtained from our business office. We do require a written request from you and/or a signed "release of medical records form" prior to sending the information. Please let us know about any specific questions that need to be addressed or any additional instructions that you might have.

Email Policy

We recognize that email may provide benefits for communicating with patients by facilitating ease, quickness, and efficiency. At this time, our use of email is limited to non-urgent and non-emergent communications that are not concerned with timeliness. Due to the complexities of appointment and surgery scheduling, office appointments and surgical operations are not scheduled by email.

Because we are committed to maintaining strict patient confidentiality and timeliness, the Ear Center has developed an "Email Policy" to permit the judicious use of email. By signing our "Email Policy", you acknowledge that you have read and understand the policy and agree to its terms.

Click HERE to obtain a copy of our Email Policy in .pdf format.
Please read the policy, sign, and return to us in person, by mail/fax/email.
A copy will be scanned into your electronic medical record.

 

SmartPhone & Mobile Communications Devices Policy

Smartphone/Mobile Communication device use in the office:

Use of a smartphones, mobile communication devices, and any type of imaging/recording equipment (electronic or conventional, audio or visual) in any part of the office is strictly prohibited for all persons, including patients. The only exception is for physician staff who may use photographic equipment for documentation. Particularly, employees and patients are prohibited from using smartphones/mobile communication devices or other audio recording/photographic equipment around patients, medical records, proprietary materials and processes, and in areas of the workplace devoted to patient care, research, and development. All images or recordings taken with smartphones or other photographic equipment in the office are subject to review at any time.

The reason for this policy is to protect:

  • All persons who enter or work in the office
  • Patient and medical record privacy
  • Confidential business information

During office visits, patients are prohibited from using smartphones/mobile communication devices to make any audio or video recordings such as to record consent discussions, medication orders, or follow-up instructions. Such recordings breach the confidentiality rights of other patients and infringe on the privacy rights of surgeons and their employees.

If a patient is discovered to be recording conversations, it is our policy to politely ask them to discontinue the activity immediately. Patients and/or their caregivers may takes notes duing office visits to help them remember important information and emphasize that all office conversations will be documented in the medical record.

 

Missed Appointment Policy

Because of an increase in missed appointments for both new and return patients, a $30.00 fee will be billed for missed appointments for which we have not been notified within 24 hours. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment for any reason, please contact us at (336) 273-9932 so that we may make that appointment time available to another patient.

Prescription Refills

If you need to have your prescription(s) refilled, the most efficient way is to give your pharmacist the prescription number from the bottle label. We recommend having your prescriptions refilled 1-2 days before the refill is needed in order to avoid missing a dose of your medication. If you do not have your bottle, please call our nurses at (336) 273-9932, during regular business hours, to request a refill. It is our policy not to refill prescriptions after hours or during the weekend. Patients who are on long term medications, such as water pills (diuretics), will be required to see their physician intermittently even though they may be doing well. We require this is in order to update any changes in history and/or physical examination. The interval may be 6 months for some patients and one year for others depending on the patient's individual needs. Our policy is not only good medical practice but is required by North Carolina state law to avoid inadvertent problems.

Telephone Policies

To schedule an appointment, inquire about your billing, or to obtain information not available on our web site, please call us at
(336) 273-9932 during regular business hours. Questions that require a physician's reply may be directed to a nurse and will be answered by return phone call in a reasonable time period.

Telephone consultation services (referred to as "telephone care") have been assigned codes by the CPT. When telephone consultations are initiated by a patient or a patient's representative and are unrelated to ongoing care issues, telephone services provided by our physicians may be billed in ten minute intervals.

On-Call Policy

Our physician shares on-call responsibilities with other otolaryngologists-head & neck surgeons who practice in the Greensboro community. A physician is always available on-call 24/7 to provide consultation or care. To reach the on-call physician after hours, please call (336) 273-9932.

Emergencies

In cases of EMERGENCY, please call (336) 273-9932. Our telephone line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are unable to connect, please hang up and dial "911".

Thank you for choosing us for your specialty medical and surgical care of your ear and hearing problems. Our entire staff looks forward to seeing you soon! You may call us at (336) 273-9932 for any questions.

Last revised March 16, 2016