Our staff has put together the following list of frequently asked questions.
If you have a question about NorthStar Medical Specialists, or about a specific treatment specialty (sleep, weight, pulmonary) please don’t hesitate to contact us.
How do I get a prescription refill?
Getting a prescription refill is easy. NorthStar can handle most refills using a fax-back system. Simply call your pharmacy and ask them to send us a refill request form. They will fax that to our office, your doctor will review it, and then we will fax back to your pharmacy. Please allow 48 hours for the process to be completed.
What insurances do you take?
NorthStar Medical is contracted with most major medical insurances.
Some of the most common insurance companies we work with are Regence Blue Shield, Group Health Cooperative, Premera Blue Cross, Healthcare Management Administrators, Medicare, Uniform Medical Plan, United Healthcare, First Choice Health Network, Tricare, Aetna, Essence, CIGNA, GreatWest, Molina, Lifewise, Community Health Plan, Teamsters Welfare Trust, Medicaid and Molina to name a few. If your insurance isn’t listed, don’t worry! Please just give us a call and we can let you know if we are contracted with them.
How long has NorthStar Medical been here?
NorthStar Medical was established in 2001 as a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic. We have since expanded our services to include our sleep disorders center and medical weight management program. We are specialize in providing local care to the people of Whatcom County.
How do I schedule an appointment?
If your physician has referred you to NorthStar for a sleep appointment, one of our patient services representatives will be contacting you shortly to get you scheduled for a consultation. If you have not been referred by a physician, but your insurance plan will allow you to see a specialist without a referral, please call our office, and we will be happy to schedule you for a consultation as a self-referral. If you are not sure if your insurance requires a referral, please contact the customer service line for your insurance company, which can be found on the back of your card.
Sleep and CPAP
I received a referral to your clinic from my doctor…what’s next?
Please allow 24 hours for NorthStar to process and review your referral, and then one of our patient services representatives will call to schedule you for a one hour initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable sleep specialists. During this initial consultation your sleep specialist will be asking numerous questions to get to know your specific situation and develop an individual treatment plan for you, which may include an overnight sleep study.
How long after my sleep study will it be until I receive my results?
It takes approximately two weeks from the date of your sleep study to get your study results processed and interpreted. You will schedule a follow up consultation with your provider for two weeks after the study to go over the results.
What time will I be able to leave in the morning?
The sleep technologists will wake you up between 5:30 and 6:00 am on the morning after your study. You are free to leave the clinic as soon as you get ready to go after waking. All patients are asked to leave sleep lab by 7:00 am each morning. We have rooms available with showers for our patients who need to get ready for work right after their study.
What if I can’t fall asleep for my study?
Please discuss this possibility with your sleep specialist during your initial consultation if you are concerned. Your provider has the ability to have a sleeping pill ready for you on the night of your study if you mention this concern in advance.
Can my spouse sleep with me?
Unfortunately, no, spouses aren’t able to come in with you to your sleep study.
Am I able to watch TV before I go to sleep?
Yes, you are able to watch TV in your sleep lab room. Each room is equipped with a flat screen cable television.
I received a postcard in the mail, what do I do now?
Please contact our office. You will find the phone number listed on your postcard. You will then be transferred to the medical assistant’s voicemail. Leave your name and the supplies you wish to pick up, and she will get your supplies ready for you. Please allow 24 hours after calling before coming in to the office to pick up your supplies. Also please note, postcards are sent for your convenience to notify you that your insurance will allow you to get that new supply. It does not mean you are required to pick it up, although it is recommended.
My CPAP is not working right, what should I do?
Please contact our office and ask to speak with the CPAP coordinator. She will generally want to discuss the situation with you over the phone to determine whether you will need to drop off your machine for repair or meet with her for a short visit. Calling ahead is the safest way to ensure your problem will be handled appropriately. Walking in without calling first is not advised.
How long is your Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program?
Our pulmonary rehabilitation program takes most patients approximately three months to complete so that they can achieve the most benefit from the therapy. Patients can expect to attend sessions either two or three days a week, and sessions last for 90 minutes.
Am I expected to come to every session?
We do ask that you expect to attend all sessions. If an urgent situation comes up and you feel you will not be able to attend class, please contact your respiratory therapist to discuss it.
Does Medicare cover your program?
Yes, pulmonary rehabilitation is a benefit that Medicare covers.
I have a secondary insurance; will they pay the remainder of what Medicare does not cover?
In most cases yes, the secondary should cover the remainder, however not all secondary insurances have the same benefits. NorthStar highly recommends contacting your secondary insurance to find out your benefits for the program. If you have any further questions after doing so, our billing office will be happy to assist you.
How do I get started?
NorthStar Medical offers a free 30 minute consultation with our weight management program coordinator! Please feel free to call us to schedule a free consultation. We offer them Monday through Friday throughout the day. During this free consultation the program coordinator will describe to you what we have to offer and it’s also a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have prior to starting the program.
Will I be required to take supplements or prescriptions?
Each plan is individualized to address the specific needs and goals of each patient. You are not required to take any supplements or prescriptions when working with Dr. Burden.
Will I need to buy meal replacements for your programs?
You are not required to purchase any meal replacement products, however we do have products available for purchase in our office as a tool to aid in your weight loss goals.
How much does the weight program cost?
The cost of the program generally varies. Most patients prefer for us to bill their insurance company, although not all plans cover the program. If your insurance does not cover our program, we offer a discounted cash pay price. The number of visits you come in for is determined by your treatment plan and goals that you will develop with Dr. Burden.