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Navigating the Referral Process

Obtaining a referral for testing or specialty care may seem daunting when you are faced with a medical problem.

The process is multifold and may involve many people and organizations. Nevertheless, referrals protect the patient in terms of cost and organization of healthcare. You can help make the referral process easier with a better understanding and up-to-date information available to your provider.

A referral is basically a written order from your treating physician to see a specialty care provider or receive a necessary medical service such as imaging. Referrals are usually a requirement of insurance companies, allowing them to make certain patients are getting appropriate healthcare. This is why having your current healthcare insurance information on hand is important. Each insurance plan, including within the same insurance company, has its own rules and conditions for the referral process. You and your physician’s office can find out from your carrier if a referral is necessary. Failure to obtain a referral may result in denial of coverage. Those costs may ultimately be responsibility of the patient.

Once you know a referral is necessary, there are many ways your physician facilitate it. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems can electronically send referrals between providers on the same network. Many doctor’s offices send completed forms via fax or mail to the medical service provider depending on the urgency of the care needed. Finally, you may get hard copy of your referral to take directly to the specialty care provider.

Some physicians will provide you a referral you to a location they’ve used in the past or a facility that is part of the medical center’s location. You can ask your physician why they are recommending a certain provider or location. Remember that if you need a referral for testing such as diagnostic imaging, you are often given the choice of where to have this testing completed. Choosing the correct provided can save you money and result in better quality care.

Tell your physician that you would like to use Watson Imaging Center. Our center uses the latest available technology to provide you and your physician quality and comprehensive imaging. Avoid the big hospitals by visiting our central location in the heart of the St. Louis metropolitan region. Know that our caring staff is ready to make your imaging experience as seamless and comfortable as possible.

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St. Louis, MO - Hours
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3915 Watson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63109-1251