If you have a life threatening medical emergency, CALL 911.
If you have a non-life threatening medical emergency after hours, call the office number. (During office hours the GPAM advice nurses will answer your concerns.) After hours you will be connected with our answering service. Most insurance companies have a toll-free advice line to offer non-emergency advice. The answering service has a list of after hour advice lines offered by the major insurance companies. The number can also be found on your insurance card. If you do not have access to the advice from one of the major insurance companies, the answering service will arrange for you to speak with a pediatric phone advice nurse from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta(CHOA). To do this, you will need to give the answering service a phone number where you can be reached. It may take up to one hour for the CHOA nurse to call you. If you feel unable to wait, you should take your child to the closest pediatric emergency room. You may be charged $15.00 for your after-hours call to the pediatrician on call.
The pediatric advice nurses are very well trained to handle after hour emergency calls. If the CHOA nurse has any concerns about your child, he/she will arrange through our answering service to have the GPAM on call pediatrician paged. It may take up to one hour for the pediatrician to call you back. Again, if you feel unable to wait, then you should take your child to the closest pediatric emergency room.
If you have caller ID block on your phone, it MUST be disabled in order to get a return call from the on call pediatrician. If you do not disable the caller ID block on your phone, you will not be able to speak with the pediatrician. At times, the on call pediatrician may call you from a number that is not blocked. It is NOT acceptable to call the pediatrician back at that number. If you need to speak with the pediatrician again, call the office number and notify the answering service. Due to the fact that GPAM is charged a fee for every call our patients make to the CHOA advice service, we may charge you a $15.00 non-emergency fee for any non-emergent after hours call. Remember: We have advice nurses in the office as a courtesy to you during office hours.
The GPAM pediatricians rotate being the on call pediatrician. Thus, the on call pediatrician is unlikely to be the same pediatrician you may have seen in the office. The on call pediatrician is not at the office or hospital. The on call pediatrician is at home and has a pager on which he/she receives messages from the answering service. The answering service sends a page to the pediatrician with your child's name, phone number, and a brief statement about what your call is regarding. The CHOA nurse with whom you initially speak does not relay any information to the on call pediatrician. The on call pediatrician does not have access to your child's medical record. As the pediatrician receives many pages, it is important to present your reason for calling clearly and succinctly. The pediatrician will ask you questions. Your child should be with you at the time of the call. You should inform the pediatrician if your child has any chronic medical problems (i.e. diabetes, congenital heart disease). The on call pediatrician cannot make a medical diagnosis over the phone. He/she can only provide limited advice. The pediatrician may advise that your child be seen at a pediatric emergency room.
The on call pediatrician will NOT call in medications. There are NO exceptions. If you feel you child needs a prescription medication after hours, then your child must be seen. We do NOT call in refills of any medications after hours. There are NO exceptions. You must call the office during normal business hours for medication refills.