FAQ

How do I become a member?

Joining our practice is easy and we have several options for you to learn more about us.

Your comfort and good health is our goal.  Our partnership with you is truly the cornerstone of the doctor patient relationship.

 
Our Non-Covered Services Include:
  

 

If I become a member, do I still use my insurance?

Yes. Our private offerings are for non-covered services that are not covered by insurance. We accept insurance to pay for covered medical services. This allows you and us to have the freedom to decide what kind of care is best for you.

Can I pay the membership fee with HSA or FSA money?

We suggest you contact your tax adviser for advice about your unique situation.

Is the membership fee tax deductible?

We suggest you contact your tax adviser for advice about your unique situation.

How are the membership fees paid?

We offer flexible payment plans.  You can pay annually, semi-annually or monthly.  We offer a discount for the annual payment and for family members in the same household. 

What age is appropriate for a private practice like yours?

We provide care for people from age 16 to 100+. 

What happens when my doctor is out of town or on vacation?

When your doctor is on vacation or out of town attending a continuing medical education conference, usually the other doctor in our office will be available for you to contact or see.  In the rare chance that both are out of the office, we will have a back-up doctor in the area available.

Will you see me in the hospital?

Yes, unlike most doctors in the area, whenever possible, we will visit you if you are admitted to John Muir Medical Center – Walnut Creek campus.   If you are admitted through the Emergency Room, a hospitalist on duty will admit you, and whenever possible, we will pick up your care the next morning.  This provides the advantage of a doctor who knows you personally and can be an advocate for you and coordinate care with any specialists who are required during your stay.

If you are admitted to another hospital, a hospitalist from that facility will care for you and we will follow your care remotely.  We can do a follow up visit in our office once you are released from the hospital.

What if I need to see a specialist?

We will work with your specialist to coordinate your care.  We are available to help you decide which specialist is best for you and help coordinate consultations.  This way we can provide them with the pertinent medical information prior to your visit. We refer to John Muir Hospital affiliated specialists and tertiary care specialists at Stanford and UCSF Medical Center.

What happens if I have a life-threatening emergency? 

If you have a life-threatening emergency, regardless of the time, call emergency services, usually 911 in the United States, or go to the nearest emergency facility.  Once you are stable, you or someone authorized by you, should call our office to notify us of the situation.

Can I contact you outside of business hours?

Yes, for non-life-threatening questions, as a member of our private practice, you can contact us by phone, or patient portal.  If you have an urgent question that can’t wait until office hours, please call our office number 925-378-4040 and choose the option for the covering physician.  We are in a network of physicians in the area and one of us will take your call.  The covering physician will notify your doctor about the conversation.  For questions submitted through the patient portal, we will usually respond within 1 business day.

What happens when I am out of town and need medical care?

If you have a life threatening medical emergency, you should contact emergency services in that local area, typically by calling 911, or visiting the closest Emergency Room.  Once you are stable, please contact our office to notify us of your situation.

If you have a non-life-threatening issue, you can call us for advice or visit a local facility in the area that you are in, such as an ER or Urgent Care.  In either case, you would need to submit your medical expenses at any of these facilities for reimbursement under the terms of your health insurance coverage.

What are your office hours?

We are open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, to schedule appointments.  The doctors may also opt to schedule outside of these hours if your schedule doesn’t permit.

Do you make house calls?

Yes, when we can make arrangements with you if they are medically necessary. Typically, this is a non-covered service. Please let us know and we can develop a custom plan with you.

Do you visit nursing homes?

Yes, one of our doctors visits Tampico Terrace Skilled Nursing Facility and covers both doctors’ patients.  If you are in another facility, the staff doctor there or another doctor will need to be engaged.  If you remain a member in our practice, we will work with the other doctor to coordinate your care.

What about the costs of prescription drugs?

The cost of prescriptions are the members’ responsibility.  Most insurance plans offer some form of coverage.  In the event that they don’t, we can assist in finding the most cost effective way for you to purchase them.

Where do I go for lab work?

There are many good labs in the area and we can help you choose one.  You should also check with your insurance to see if they have a preferred lab.

“Dr. Pirkle has been my Primary for some time now and I think he is the best! He is thorough, up to date and teaches me constantly about healthy practices. He listens with concentration, answers with honesty and helps me live a healthy lifestyle! “

Sandra L., Danville, CA

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