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  1. What is an orthopedic surgeon?
  2. What is a physician assistant (PA)?
  3. Who is involved with helping me with my care?
  4. What is a physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician)?
  5. What is arthroscopic surgery?
  6. What does the term total joint replacement mean?
  7. What should I bring to my appointment?
  8. What happens if I need my physician after hours?
  9. How do I request medical records?
  10. What do I need to know for surgery?
  11. How do I refill a medication prescription?
  12. What are your office hours?

1. What is an orthopedic surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, muscles, and any related painful conditions.

2. What is a physician assistant (PA)?

Physician assistants are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of the physician/PA team, PAs diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. They deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in both rural and urban settings throughout the United States.Their focus is patient care, which may include education, research, and administrative activities. PAs can treat patients when the physician is away from the practice and can write prescriptions.

3. Who is involved with helping me with my care?

Secretarial Staff: The secretarial staff is usually the first members of the team you will meet at the practice. Upon entering the clinic you will be asked to update your information if you are a returning patient or complete several forms if you are a new patient. When you are done with your visit and exam with the physician, you will check out at the registration desk. If you need to schedule a procedure, diagnostic study, or surgery, you will be directed to a specific team member at that time.

Business Office: The business office can answer any questions regarding insurance, workers’ compensation, and billing.

Nurses: When it is time for your visit and examination with a physician, one of our nurses will escort you to a room. They will also be available via the phone to answer any questions you may have in regards to medications or prescription refills.

Athletic Trainers: There are several athletic trainers that can help you during a postsurgery visit, such as casting, splinting, or bracing. In addition, they will be available via the phone to answer any questions you may have about your treatment.

Here at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists we hope that your visit is positive, timely, and of the highest quality. Our staff is in place to provide a quality experience. We pride ourselves on patient care so please let us know if we do not meet your expectations.

4. What is a physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician)?

A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the nonsurgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including neurological studies.

5. What is arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic surgery is a modern method of performing surgery inside the joint through very small incisions. The incisions are usually about a quarter of an inch in length with two or three incisions per joint necessary. A video camera is attached to the end of a long, thin microscope, which is placed through the incision. Other long, thin, frequently motorized instruments are used to perform surgery inside joints. Knees and shoulders most commonly benefit from arthroscopic surgery, but other joints such as ankles, hips, and wrists may also be done.

6. What does the term total joint replacement mean?

Total joint replacement means replacing both sides of the weight-bearing surfaces of the affected joint. In the knee, it means replacing both the thin cartilage surface on the lower joint surface, which is the tibia, and the upper joint surface, which is the femur. Also, the joint surface under the kneecap is replaced. This requires removing the thin cartilage surface and a thin surface of bone for replacement with a metal and plastic surface. This allows all movement of the joint to occur between the metal and plastic parts rather than by the raw bone left by arthritis.

7. What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Your insurance card or other health coverage information. *Please be aware that many insurance carriers require you to have a referral (authorization from your primary care physician) before treatment is provided by a specialist, such as an orthopedist. Please check with your insurance carrier if you have any questions about your plan or coverage.
  • Referral form if required by your health insurance plan.
  • List of all medications (both over the counter and prescription) including doses and how often you take them.
  • Any X-rays or MRIs that have been taken (not older than six months) for this condition only.
  • Clinic notes or operative reports from your referring physician (that relate to the condition for which you are seeking medical consultation from our physician).

Should you have any general questions prior to your visit, please feel free to contact us at (800) 762-1177 and we will be happy to assist you.

8. What happens if I need my physician after hours?

Emergencies arise occasionally when our patients need to contact our physicians regarding pain or other symptoms. Our clinic always has physicians “on call” in case of after-hours emergencies. If you need to contact a Heartland Orthopedic Specialists physician when the clinic is closed (after-hours or on weekends), please call Douglas County Hospital Emergency Room at (320) 762-6480 and the hospital will notify the physician on call to contact you. For nonemergent prescriptions or prescription refills, please contact your pharmacy and they will contact us directly. Medications will not be refilled at night or on weekends. 

9. How do I request medical records?

If you need to request medical records from one of our offices, please be aware that it could take several business days for you to receive your records. We will make every effort to fulfill all medical record requests as quickly as possible. Please contact us at (800) 762-1177 to request a copy of your medical records or should you have any questions regarding your medical records.

10. What do I need to know for surgery?

Our physicians perform surgeries at Douglas County Hospital and hospitals in the area. Preparing for surgery is a very anxious time for anyone, whether you have had previous surgeries or not. In order to make the experience a better one for our patients, you will be provided with detailed information about when to arrive at the hospital and what to expect after your surgery has been completed. When packing your bags to go to the hospital, remember to pack the following:

  • Any specific, individualized instructions/information provided to you by your physician
  • A complete list of all prescribed and nonprescription medications that you are taking
  • Loose, comfortable clothing (including shorts)
  • Athletic or walking shoes
  • Insurance/Workers’ Compensation information
  • Picture I.D.

11. How do I refill a medication prescription?

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists providers will only refill medications they have originally prescribed. Please double check the name of the ordering provider before contacting our office for a refill. It is best to notify us at the time of your office appointment. If that is not possible, please contact your pharmacy and they will contact us directly. Medications will not be refilled at night or on weekends. Be aware that any request for a prescription or prescription refills prior to 3 p.m. on any business day will be answered in order of receipt on that same day. Any request for a prescription or prescription refills after 3 p.m. will be answered in order of receipt on the following business day. All requests will be addressed as quickly as possible.

12. What are your office hours?

Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Click here for a list of locations.