Getting your first appointment

Posted by amkaloha @amkaloha, Dec 29, 2016

I have so many questions about this. Do I have to have a PCP referral to make an appointment? How about health records? I have many problems, the most prevalent right now is swollen legs and feet and have been seeing a few doctors in my area but no one seems to be able to help. I have had sonogram tests (blood movement is fine with no clots), an echocardiogram (heart is working well), but my legs stay swollen and stiff. I also have terrible pain in my knees due to osteoarthritis and neuropathy in both legs (I have to use a walker). Must I diagnose myself? – how do i know which department at Mayo to start with? This is in addition to if they will take my Medicare and BCBS. Mayo has such a great reputation that I just feel they could help me get my life back. Thanks to anyone with any answers or ideas.

Hello @amkaloha, Great questions! Thank you for posting them here on Mayo Clinic Connect.

You can start with a referral from your Primary Care Provider or you can refer yourself, called a self-referral.

Your first interaction with Mayo Clinic will start with our Central appointment desk. See the number to call or request an appointment online here http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63.
Here the Appointment coordinators will introduce you to how the Mayo system works. Our Appointment schedulers use decision trees to determine where you will start with your Mayo experience. For example, if General Internal Medicine happens to be where you need to start, they will then request your medical records and schedule the appointment for you.

It has been in my experience that some referring facilities don’t follow up with sending patient medical records from other facilities. It would be in your best interest to gather your records and have them with you when you attend your appointment so possible testing requested by your Mayo provider doesn’t have to be repeated.

I will also connect you with members @v1crew @sauvee @coastalgirl @pbo2016 @rosemarya and @kdubois who have also had experience visiting Mayo Clinic. They may have more insight on navigating the facility as a patient and getting the most out of your Mayo Clinic experience.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Best of luck to you!

I started by applying to internal medicine clinic. I answered some questions that were emailed to me. Then they accepted me for internal medicine. Then i said i would be on cancellation list where they call when somebody cancels. I got appointment quickly. Then its a physical and they make you catch up on preventives. Had first mammogram ever. But then they make appointments for consultations depending on your physical. I went to endocrinology, sleep medicine, gynecology, and had my hearing and vision checked. They are very through at Mayo Clinic. But you do have to get accepted as a patient.

Last January, I started to have really excruciating pain in my upper right leg (10 on a scale of 1-10). I went to the local ER and doctors thought it was muscle cramps caused by a statin I was taking for cholesterol. They prescribed a painkiller and steroids but those didn’t really help. I was in a wheelchair for close to six weeks. Finally I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back that was hitting a nerve and referred to a local orthopedic surgeon who told me I would need spinal surgery immediately and yelled at me because the MRI images he received were not complete. In despair, I called the Mayo Clinic in Rochester without being referred by any doctor. I did have to gather my medical records (MRIs, X-Rays, etc) but I did get an appointment with the Orthopedics Dept. scheduled for a date six weeks after I made the initial call. Everyone at the Mayo Clinic treated me with compassion and respect. My diagnosis: severe spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis and I will eventually need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I cannot imagine going anywhere else but the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery. Physical therapy helped immensely.

@amkaloha, I was referred to Mayo Clinic by my local healthcare specialist when they could not perform the necessary diagnostic tests needed for my treatment. As I recall, I received a packet of introductory information and paperwork. I received an itinerary in advance of my visit. I have been going to Mayo Rochester for 7 years for follow-up, and I can assure you that if there is any need to add or remove tests or procedures, then they will do it with the highest efficiency. One thing I have learned is that many of the smaller area clinics do not have the technology for electronic records. So it would be helpful to check into this before you go.
I hope that this all works out for you.
Rosemary

@jamienolson

Hello @amkaloha, Great questions! Thank you for posting them here on Mayo Clinic Connect.

You can start with a referral from your Primary Care Provider or you can refer yourself, called a self-referral.

Your first interaction with Mayo Clinic will start with our Central appointment desk. See the number to call or request an appointment online here http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63.
Here the Appointment coordinators will introduce you to how the Mayo system works. Our Appointment schedulers use decision trees to determine where you will start with your Mayo experience. For example, if General Internal Medicine happens to be where you need to start, they will then request your medical records and schedule the appointment for you.

It has been in my experience that some referring facilities don’t follow up with sending patient medical records from other facilities. It would be in your best interest to gather your records and have them with you when you attend your appointment so possible testing requested by your Mayo provider doesn’t have to be repeated.

I will also connect you with members @v1crew @sauvee @coastalgirl @pbo2016 @rosemarya and @kdubois who have also had experience visiting Mayo Clinic. They may have more insight on navigating the facility as a patient and getting the most out of your Mayo Clinic experience.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Best of luck to you!

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Thanks for your response. I am at the stage of collecting information and perhaps will take the plunge in 2017.

@ihatediabetes

I started by applying to internal medicine clinic. I answered some questions that were emailed to me. Then they accepted me for internal medicine. Then i said i would be on cancellation list where they call when somebody cancels. I got appointment quickly. Then its a physical and they make you catch up on preventives. Had first mammogram ever. But then they make appointments for consultations depending on your physical. I went to endocrinology, sleep medicine, gynecology, and had my hearing and vision checked. They are very through at Mayo Clinic. But you do have to get accepted as a patient.

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Thanks for your response. It is helpful.

@bernese53

Last January, I started to have really excruciating pain in my upper right leg (10 on a scale of 1-10). I went to the local ER and doctors thought it was muscle cramps caused by a statin I was taking for cholesterol. They prescribed a painkiller and steroids but those didn’t really help. I was in a wheelchair for close to six weeks. Finally I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back that was hitting a nerve and referred to a local orthopedic surgeon who told me I would need spinal surgery immediately and yelled at me because the MRI images he received were not complete. In despair, I called the Mayo Clinic in Rochester without being referred by any doctor. I did have to gather my medical records (MRIs, X-Rays, etc) but I did get an appointment with the Orthopedics Dept. scheduled for a date six weeks after I made the initial call. Everyone at the Mayo Clinic treated me with compassion and respect. My diagnosis: severe spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis and I will eventually need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I cannot imagine going anywhere else but the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery. Physical therapy helped immensely.

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Thank you for your reply. I know the pain of arthritis and nerve damage. I wish you well when you go for your spinal fusion surgery.

@rosemarya

@amkaloha, I was referred to Mayo Clinic by my local healthcare specialist when they could not perform the necessary diagnostic tests needed for my treatment. As I recall, I received a packet of introductory information and paperwork. I received an itinerary in advance of my visit. I have been going to Mayo Rochester for 7 years for follow-up, and I can assure you that if there is any need to add or remove tests or procedures, then they will do it with the highest efficiency. One thing I have learned is that many of the smaller area clinics do not have the technology for electronic records. So it would be helpful to check into this before you go.
I hope that this all works out for you.
Rosemary

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Thank you Rosemary. This was helpful.

@bernese53

Last January, I started to have really excruciating pain in my upper right leg (10 on a scale of 1-10). I went to the local ER and doctors thought it was muscle cramps caused by a statin I was taking for cholesterol. They prescribed a painkiller and steroids but those didn’t really help. I was in a wheelchair for close to six weeks. Finally I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back that was hitting a nerve and referred to a local orthopedic surgeon who told me I would need spinal surgery immediately and yelled at me because the MRI images he received were not complete. In despair, I called the Mayo Clinic in Rochester without being referred by any doctor. I did have to gather my medical records (MRIs, X-Rays, etc) but I did get an appointment with the Orthopedics Dept. scheduled for a date six weeks after I made the initial call. Everyone at the Mayo Clinic treated me with compassion and respect. My diagnosis: severe spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis and I will eventually need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I cannot imagine going anywhere else but the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery. Physical therapy helped immensely.

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Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect @bernese53. Thank you for your reply!

Your kind words and testimony to Mayo will help others who are considering care at Mayo Clinic.

I’m glad to hear physical therapy has helped you so much.
On Connect you will be able to talk with other members who have also had spinal fusion surgery. Here is a conversation taking place on Spinal surgery https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-to-expect/

My husband and two of my other family members have recently had extensive fusion surgery all done by our Spine Center care team at Mayo. All three of them have had excellent care from the time of diagnosis all the way through post surgical follow up to Physical therapy. We all feel blessed to have access to such wonderful healthcare.

Did your physician say how long it would be before you would need to have your surgery done?

@bernese53

Last January, I started to have really excruciating pain in my upper right leg (10 on a scale of 1-10). I went to the local ER and doctors thought it was muscle cramps caused by a statin I was taking for cholesterol. They prescribed a painkiller and steroids but those didn’t really help. I was in a wheelchair for close to six weeks. Finally I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back that was hitting a nerve and referred to a local orthopedic surgeon who told me I would need spinal surgery immediately and yelled at me because the MRI images he received were not complete. In despair, I called the Mayo Clinic in Rochester without being referred by any doctor. I did have to gather my medical records (MRIs, X-Rays, etc) but I did get an appointment with the Orthopedics Dept. scheduled for a date six weeks after I made the initial call. Everyone at the Mayo Clinic treated me with compassion and respect. My diagnosis: severe spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis and I will eventually need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I cannot imagine going anywhere else but the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery. Physical therapy helped immensely.

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I have two herniated discs, one impinging on a nerve. Dr. Nassr at Mayo wants to do the surgery sooner rather than later…I am 63 years old and he thinks recovery time will be shorter. I am in graduate school now and I would like to finish my degree before the surgery.

Liked by Jamie Olson

@bernese53

Last January, I started to have really excruciating pain in my upper right leg (10 on a scale of 1-10). I went to the local ER and doctors thought it was muscle cramps caused by a statin I was taking for cholesterol. They prescribed a painkiller and steroids but those didn’t really help. I was in a wheelchair for close to six weeks. Finally I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back that was hitting a nerve and referred to a local orthopedic surgeon who told me I would need spinal surgery immediately and yelled at me because the MRI images he received were not complete. In despair, I called the Mayo Clinic in Rochester without being referred by any doctor. I did have to gather my medical records (MRIs, X-Rays, etc) but I did get an appointment with the Orthopedics Dept. scheduled for a date six weeks after I made the initial call. Everyone at the Mayo Clinic treated me with compassion and respect. My diagnosis: severe spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis and I will eventually need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I cannot imagine going anywhere else but the Mayo Clinic to have the surgery. Physical therapy helped immensely.

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Love that you are 63 and in graduate school. I also was a non-traditional student. Got my Masters when I was 50. Perhaps you could work around it. I did a lot of summer courses because I had a job and could not spare the time during the year — I kind of spaced things out, Good luck to you in your degree and especially in your surgery.

For my first appointment, I contacted Mayo’s Endocrine department because I had already been diagnosed with an endocrine condition.

Since then, I have had many people ask how I got in to Mayo Clinic. Here’s what I’ve learned from speaking with Mayo employees…

The fastest way to get in is to have your physician refer you into a particular Mayo speciality department. These numbers are listed on the web site. When doing this, your physician will send Mayo their files for you. The Mayo speciality will review your files and then contact you for an appointment.

@jamienolson

Hello @amkaloha, Great questions! Thank you for posting them here on Mayo Clinic Connect.

You can start with a referral from your Primary Care Provider or you can refer yourself, called a self-referral.

Your first interaction with Mayo Clinic will start with our Central appointment desk. See the number to call or request an appointment online here http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63.
Here the Appointment coordinators will introduce you to how the Mayo system works. Our Appointment schedulers use decision trees to determine where you will start with your Mayo experience. For example, if General Internal Medicine happens to be where you need to start, they will then request your medical records and schedule the appointment for you.

It has been in my experience that some referring facilities don’t follow up with sending patient medical records from other facilities. It would be in your best interest to gather your records and have them with you when you attend your appointment so possible testing requested by your Mayo provider doesn’t have to be repeated.

I will also connect you with members @v1crew @sauvee @coastalgirl @pbo2016 @rosemarya and @kdubois who have also had experience visiting Mayo Clinic. They may have more insight on navigating the facility as a patient and getting the most out of your Mayo Clinic experience.

I hope this answers some of your questions. Best of luck to you!

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@amkaloha I just replied (below) with how I got into Mayo. After 12 years of increasing illness, I took the plunge and first-went to Mayo Rochester in September 2015 — best decision I ever made. Today, with a total of six visits and having gone as recently as October 2016, I can honestly say that they saved my life. I now have numerous diagnoses that had been overlooked at home, and my home doctors have better guidelines for my health. Because of my medical issues and genetic challenges, I will most likely have to keep returning to Mayo for the rest of my life, though less frequently than I have been going. One thing for sure: I feel so much better knowing that they are all there, ready-and-waiting to help when I need them again. They are all some of the nicest people I have ever met.

They’ve given me back the one thing I had completely lost… HOPE.

Hi, I also learned a lot of things talking to people in waiting rooms. So many are from out of state. I learned about people coming as “checkers.” That means you just come to Mayo Rochester and check in with the department you want to be seen in. Then you just wait. It’s actually easier in winter because it’s cold and fewer people are coming. But I don’t know how they do insurance for checkers. One thing the appointment people asked me is what kind of BCBS Insurance I had. It has to say “PPO” on the insurance card to be in-network. Mine did say “PPO” so they took my insurance. I think that helps. Otherwise, I think you have to send in a deposit. I heard about deposits from other patients but it didn’t apply to me. In my family we purposely don’t cut corners on insurance.

@ihatediabetes

Hi, I also learned a lot of things talking to people in waiting rooms. So many are from out of state. I learned about people coming as “checkers.” That means you just come to Mayo Rochester and check in with the department you want to be seen in. Then you just wait. It’s actually easier in winter because it’s cold and fewer people are coming. But I don’t know how they do insurance for checkers. One thing the appointment people asked me is what kind of BCBS Insurance I had. It has to say “PPO” on the insurance card to be in-network. Mine did say “PPO” so they took my insurance. I think that helps. Otherwise, I think you have to send in a deposit. I heard about deposits from other patients but it didn’t apply to me. In my family we purposely don’t cut corners on insurance.

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From my experience, you can only be a checker if you already have an appointment scheduled in a department for a future time/date. I wouldn’t just show up and say that you want to be a checker; I’m fairly certain that you need to already-be a Mayo patient and have been referred to the department. (And therefore, the insurance stuff has already been figured out.)

I’ve had a lot of success with being a checker. It gets a little harder once you are assigned to a particular doctor in a department, but it’s still worked for me in the past, and it even allowed me to move-up an important diagnosis by more than a month.

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