Frequently asked questions

Why a care coordinator?

If you have been assigned a care coordinator, he or she will follow up with you after a hospital stay if your recovery at home seems at risk. He or she helps answer questions and provides support as needed.

If you have multiple chronic conditions, your care coordinator will help you learn to manage them more effectively by working with you to develop a care plan focused on what matters most to you.

What is a primary care provider?

A primary care provider is a medical professional who takes care of people with common medical problems. Primary care providers are often doctors, but they may also be nurse practitioners or physician assistants. They are responsible for monitoring your overall health care needs. They partner with other members of the team in caring for you.

Some patients receive care from medical residents. These residents have completed four years of college, four years of medical school and often one to three years of postgraduate training. They are licensed physicians who work in close partnership with your other care team members.

Why do I need to see the clinic pharmacist?

The clinic pharmacist is a key member of the care team. On occasion, we may ask that you stop and talk with the pharmacist at your clinic rather than going to your usual pharmacy.

Your clinic pharmacist is in close communication with your care team, and he or she helps you manage medications, identify and resolve safety issues, and make cost-effective decisions.

Who will see me at my next appointment?

The providers you see at an appointment will depend on the needs you have that day. Your team is committed to giving you exactly the care you need, in the most supportive and convenient way possible. You may need a nurse visit for vaccinations, a session with a dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan, or an exam with a doctor or nurse practitioner to diagnose and treat an illness.

What are the benefits of seeing our RN for an annual wellness visit?

Medicare launched a new program that provides a comprehensive review of your wellness needs by a registered nurse. This is of great help to your primary care provider in making your visit efficient. Nurse visits are also used to follow up with you about chronic, stable conditions and to address some of your preventive care needs.

Do I really need an annual examination?

Maybe not. Whether you need an exam depends on your age, health status and health history, among other factors. You and your care team will determine the preventive health schedule that's best for you.

And if you have health issues you are concerned about, don't wait for an annual exam. Call your care team to determine what kind of care is right for you.

Should I expect to receive a reminder each year about my need for preventive services or an annual examination?

If you are unsure whether you are due for a preventive exam, and this was not addressed at a previous visit, we encourage you to call and discuss this with a care team member.

What are the benefits of having a care team instead of seeing my own provider every time?

A care team improves your care in several ways. Instead of depending on just one provider, you now have an entire team supporting you. When you need to see a specialist, your care team will connect you to the right person. Your team will remind you when it's time for a preventive exam or wellness screening. Often, you'll be able to receive care more quickly than in the past because now you have more people prepared to meet your needs.

How can I refill a prescription?

If you filled your prescription at another pharmacy, you'll need to make the request to that pharmacy directly. If your pharmacist needs more information or a renewal from your provider, he or she will contact Mayo Clinic directly to complete the refill process. Please allow at least seven to 10 days to receive your prescription.

Why should I contact my primary care team first for specialty issues instead of going directly to the specialty area?

Your primary care team is your first point of contact for all your health care needs. On some occasions, it may be more convenient for you to call dermatology, ophthalmology and other specialists as determined by their policy. But in most cases, your health history is best known by your primary care team members, and they desire to work with you to coordinate any specialty care you may need.

Who can help me figure out what care option is appropriate?

If you're uncertain about your symptoms, your care team appointment line can help guide you to the right level of care. If you're certain that you need to make an appointment (such as a well-child appointment or a follow-up visit), the staff on the appointment line will help you schedule one. You may also reach a triage nurse or a member of your care team through Patient Online Services secure messaging.

You scheduled me for an appointment with a social worker. How does this benefit me?

Efforts have been made to more closely integrate Mayo Clinic social workers into day-to-day practice. Social workers are trained to assist with a large number of problems, including counseling people on stress-related concerns and connecting them with the right social service.