Why do I need a Follow Up Visit?

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about Follow Up Visits

When you have an illness or injury the follow up visit can be a valuable part of of your medical care. Many follow up visits can be done by telemedicine with safety and confidence. If you have a condition that is worsening or not improving as planned, then a follow up visit is important next step.

How do I know if I need a follow up visit?

Generally, most people do not like to go to Doctors, let alone be seen a second time for a follow up visit.  However, do not underestimate the importance. The ability to watch a medical condition over time is very valuable. A follow up visit is a Doctor’s visit made as a follow-up to an initial visit or after an urgent care visit, emergency room visit or hospitalization. If you are not improving or you condition is not going as expected then the follow up evaluation can be one of the most important things you can do.

Some reasons to follow up:

  • You have a chance to check the progress and be more confident in the diagnosis
  • You get a chance to review not only progress but maybe tests that were done after the first visit
  • You gain more information about your condition. It is common to forget what the Doctor said at the first time.
  • You get a chance to ask questions about your medications. Occasionally, there are unexpected results, complications or side effects.
  • You get a chance to build a good working relationship with your Doctor.
  • You get a chance to bring up a second problem that you need advice about.

Will I be billed for a follow up?

Quite often the billing of a follow up visit is bundled into the first visit or billed at a reduced rate. If the follow up visit is for the same condition and essential to confirming the diagnosis then many Doctor’s will ask you to come back to let them know how you are doing. In these instances, it is fair to ask if there will be a charge. If you are initiating the follow up visit of an ongoing condition then you may be charged at the full rate. For example, follow up visits for ongoing care of chronic conditions are usually billed for as a new visit, each time. Follow up visits of Urgent Care, Emergency Room visits or hospital stays are usually charged as a new visit for a new condition since the Doctor is seeing you for this condition without prior treatment of that condition.

Follow up visit tips:

  • Bring a list of your medicine(s) and any questions you might have about the dosage, frequency, side effects etc.
  • Tell your Doctor how you are doing and make a list if you have concern that you won’t remember to cover everything
  • If you have limitations and need a note for work, this is a use of a follow up visit.
  • Don’t be afraid to say; “I didn’t want to ask but my spouse asked me to check about this”


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