PTSMN Family Health & Wellness Centers – Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What services do you offer at the Pipe Trades Family Health & Wellness Centers?
A. The health & wellness centers will offer all of the primary care services you would expect from a family physician/general practitioner.
- Primary Care – colds, flu, asthma, diabetes etc.
- Acute Care – chronic disease care, cardio care etc.
- Preventive Care – immunizations, physicals, health coaching and counseling
- Pharmaceuticals – select prepackaged generic medications dispensed on site
- Employee education
- Care programs specific to male and female needs
Please click here for a list of the services provided.
Q. What if I have a condition or a problem not treated at the Wellness Center?
A. If you have a condition that is not in the list of services above you are free to choose any provider covered under the PTSMN Welfare Plan. Please keep in mind even for patients that require services outside the scope of what is provided at the wellness centers, our physicians can help coordinate your care with specialists and outside providers.
Q. Who can use the Wellness Centers?
A. All active members, spouses and dependent children that are eligible for coverage under the PTSMN Welfare Fund are able to use the wellness centers.
In addition pre-Medicare retirees, spouses and dependent children can also use the wellness centers.
The health & wellness centers are not available to members covered by Medicare or to treat workers compensation claims, auto accident or other third party medical claims.
Q. Do I have to use the PTSMN Wellness Centers?
A. No – you are free to use any provider you choose – however we believe the primary care provided through the wellness centers is truly better than the traditional medical model that is focused on seeing patients every 15 minutes and only after they are sick.
Q. What would be the difference for me as a patient?
A. The employed physician at our own health & wellness centers are not compensated based on the number of tests or procedures they perform; they also are not incented to see as many patients as possible. Their goal and the goal of our health & wellness centers will be to spend the time necessary with our members; to get to know you and your family and to support you in any way they can to help you improve your health.
The following points show the ways in which our health & wellness centers will be different:
- Initially office visits will be scheduled for 1 hour of physician time, not the usual 10 minutes that is more typical today
- No deductible for office visits at our health & wellness centers
- No office visit copay for visits at our health & wellness centers
- Generic prescription drugs with no copay will be dispensed by the physician at the time of the office visit. (most common generic prescription drugs)
- An important point to keep in mind is that members using our health & wellness centers should be ready and willing to make lifestyle changes; to understand the key role that a patient has in partnership with a physician to improve their own health and the health of their family members.
Q. Do I need an appointment to be seen?
A. Yes, it is important for you to call and make an appointment. We schedule longer appointments than a traditional clinic and want to make sure we are prepared to give every patient the time they need and deliver the best care available.
Q. How long are doctor appointments?
A. Initial appointments are scheduled for an hour of physician time. This is an important visit where we review your family and medical history and where you begin to establish the trusted relationship with your physician. After the initial visit the time of the visits are based on your needs as determined by you and your physician.
Q. How long are chiropractic appointments?
A. The initial chiropractor appointment is usually scheduled for ½ hour and ongoing appointments can be as short as 15 minutes depending on your needs as determined by you and the chiropractor. Please be aware that to see the chiropractor you must establish care with one of our physicians. We treat the whole person and it is not possible to just treat neck, back or joint problems in a vacuum, without regard to the rest of your overall health. One of the many great advantages of the wellness centers is the collaboration of care between different medical disciplines.
Q. What medications do you carry at the Wellness Centers?
A. We carry approximately 250 of the most common generic prescription drugs at the Wellness Centers. This list is too long to post on the website and as you know some drugs have many different names. It is important to note that to receive prescription drugs from the Wellness Centers you must have established care with one of our physicians.
Q. How can I get a refill on my medication?
A. We have a 24-hour refill policy at the Wellness Center. Simply call the main desk at 651-348-8851 and put in your refill request. See the refill policy for more information and the refill hours.
Q. Can you fill a prescription for me that another physician prescribes?
A. As long as you have your original prescription and have established care with one of our physicians, and we carry the medication we would be able to fill the prescription. Please plan for a 24 wait to fill dropped off prescriptions from outside clinics.
Q. Can I get my lab work done at the PTSMN Wellness centers if it was ordered by another physician?
A. Yes, as long as you have an order for the blood work from the other physician you can make an appointment to get it drawn at our lab.
Q. Can you e-mail me my test results?
A. We do not currently have a secure e-mail service but are working towards having our patients’ results available to view online.
Q. Will my employer have access to my medical records?
A. No – We strictly adhere to the HIPAA Privacy Law and associated rules, which protects every patient’s health and medical records and keeps the records secure. We will not share your records with anyone without your consent.
Q. Are you open on the weekend?
Q. Why do you not or when will you have later hours?
Q. When will we be opening more clinics?
A. We’ll answer these three questions together. The White Bear Lake location has chiropractic hours on Saturday mornings from 8:00 until 1:00, and Tuesdays & Thursdays until 7:00pm. Currently 6:00pm is the latest we ae open for medical visits, see the location page on the website for details on hours at the two locations.
Determining the hours of operation and locations is a continuous process as we work to balance the needs of patients, physicians, other staff and costs. This is still a relatively new venture and we will strive to meet the needs of all parties as best we can and expect additional locations and hours as we see more of our plan participants.
Q. Why did we open the PTSMN Health & Wellness Centers?
A. The current medical delivery system is not based on value or outcomes, but generally on how many procedures are performed. It is focused on treating patients after they become sick.
We are looking to provide convenient access to care with an emphasis on prevention, health and wellness. We will also be focused on early detection and treatment of chronic conditions and promoting health awareness while keeping members engaged in good health.
As you are aware we have not had a premium increase for active members for 5 years – an unprecedented achievement, and the wellness centers are a big reason for this success!
Q. If the clinics are “free” how does it save the Fund money?
A. The wellness centers are not actually “free”. Even though there is no co-pay or deductible, there still is a cost to running the wellness centers which is paid for through the Welfare fund and your contributions. The funding for the wellness centers comes from redirecting dollars from the welfare fund that would be paid to other external providers.
Costs for the physicians, other staff, prescription drugs and clinic sites are paid directly by the fund and are lower by cutting out a number of “middlemen” in the current system.
Also, cutting out the paperwork and billing systems will realize additional savings. Most importantly, one of the most significant advantages is that “member owned” wellness centers allow medical professionals to practice medicine free from the distraction, paperwork and bureaucracy of a third-party payer system and focus on what they were trained to do: make people well!
Q. Why can’t Medicare members, workers compensation or other third party claims be treated at the PTSMN Wellness Centers?
A. In addition to not having any deductibles or copays the wellness centers do not have the traditional billing or paperwork associated with other providers in the medical system. Medicare, workers compensation, auto claims and other third party claims have significant paperwork, billing issues and other administrative requirements that are cumbersome, expensive and don’t fit within this model.