Frequently Asked Questions
We have tried to think of and answer some of the more frequently asked questions we receive from our patients. If you have a question and are unable to find its answer on this web site, please feel free to contact us at any of our offices and we'll be happy to help.
Where are your offices?
VCS has 8 convenient locations around Central Virginia. Some of these locations are considered our "primary offices," and some are considered "satellite locations." Please find a full listing of our offices, addresses and phone numbers by visiting our locations section.
When are your offices open?
In general, our offices and phone lines are open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. However, certain tests and procedures may be scheduled earlier in the morning. Hours by office are listed in the locations section. The VCS business office is available to patients Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where do I park?
There is free parking available at all of our offices. For VCS offices located on hospital campuses, we encourage patients to utilize the free valet parking where it is offered.
What insurances do you accept?
VCS accepts all major insurance companies. We will confirm the status of our participation with your plan when you register for an appointment. For patient without insurance or uncovered services, we offer a 50% discount for paying at the time of service. Select services such as CT Heart Scan and Vascular View are preventative in nature and typically not covered by insurance. As such, the prompt pay discount is already reflected in the price offered to the public.
Why do I need a referral from my Primary Care Physician (PCP) for my appointment?
Most patients with an HMO insurance product need a referral from their primary care physician for covered services performed by a specialist such as a cardiologist. Please contact your insurance company, PCP, or VCS office for more information on whether or not you need a referral, or if that referral has already been received.
Why do I need to present my insurance card for every visit?
Many individuals switch insurance providers between visits, and insurance provider co-payments and coverage can change frequently. To ensure we have the most accurate information on your insurance coverage, and to ensure you receive the most benefits from your provider, we ask to see your card at every visit. This procedure also helps avoid billing and coverage errors which can result in your being billed for some normally covered charges.
Why can't I talk directly to my Cardiologist when I call?
VCS cardiologists are very busy throughout the day seeing patients and performing testing and treatment procedures. In order to ensure that scheduled appointments get timely attention, telephone calls to physicians are limited to emergency calls only. The nurse working with your cardiologist attempts to answer all phone calls in a prompt and efficient manner. If your nurse is unable to answer your questions when you call, he or she will be sure to get an answer or have your VCS physician return your call as soon as possible.
Do I need a referral?
This depends on your insurance provider requirements and your particular insurance plan. Chances are, you will need a referral from your primary care provider for cardiovascular care. Please contact your insurance company or your primary care provider for more details.
How will I know if I have a co-payment?
Your co-payment requirements for an office visit to a specialist are likely listed on your insurance card. If not listed on your card, please call your insurance provider. VCS employees are not responsible to know the co-payment amounts for all possible insurance plans.
Who do I call if I have a question about my bill?
Please contact our business office at (804) 521-5823.
Where do I send my payment?
Please mail your payment to VCS at P.O. Box 791183, Baltimore, MD 21279-1183.
What happens if I can't pay my bill in full?
Please contact the VCS business office at (804) 521-5823 for information on the different payment options and payment plans available.
Does having heart problems affect my ability to have dental work?
This depends on your specific heart condition. Please contact your VCS physician or nurse at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled dental visit to inquire if pre-medication is required. This will allow enough time for the VCS physician to review your medical records and a prescription to be ordered prior to your visit, if necessary.
Are there any medications or food that I should avoid before having a test?
Please review the pre-test guidelines for your particular testing procedure by clicking here. If you cannot find the information you need, please contact your VCS office.
How do I get my medications refilled?
For your safety and convenience, our office is now using an electronic prescription system. Please call your pharmacy directly to process your medication renewal request.
If I call with a question, when will someone call me back?
When you call, you will more than likely be asked to leave a message for the nurse working with your VCS cardiologist. The nurse will review your message and provide an answer, or ask your physician for guidance. Messages left for VCS physicians or their nurses are typically returned on the same business day they are received, unless the message is left after 2 PM.
How do I get my test results?
Your test results will be reviewed by your VCS physician and a decision will be made on whether more testing is needed, if treatment should occur, or if no further action is needed. This often takes several weeks from the completion of your testing procedure. If you do not receive a call from your VCS physician (or primary care physician) regarding the results, please call your physician.
If I'm having a problem, who do I call?
If you are having a life-threatening medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. For non-life threatening medical problems, please contact your VCS physician or primary care physician directly and describe the problem to them or their nurse. If the problem occurs after normal office hours, please call our answering service at (804) 346-5661 and the physician on call will be contacted.
Often patients will explain a change in lifestyle or activity including:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure/pain at activity or rest
- Chest pressure/pain that may move to specific areas of the body including your arm, neck/throat, middle of your back, in your mouth/teeth
- Rapid heart beat with light headedness and/or fainting
- Unexplained weight gain
- Difficulty performing activities that were once easy for you like walking, climbing stairs
If you experience any of the above signs it is important to contact your primary care doctor or seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 for extended chest pressure/pain or shortness of breath.
Your primary care doctor will address your symptoms and based on your physical assessment, test or blood work will advise you to be seen by a cardiologist.
Do I need a referral from my primary care provider to see a VCS cardiologist?
This depends on your insurance provider requirements and your particular insurance plan. Chances are you will need a referral from your primary care provider for cardiovascular care. Please contact your insurance company or your primary care provider for more details.
What can I expect at my first visit with VCS?
Your first visit at VCS is an opportunity for our physicians to get to know you as a patient - to understand your risk profile, family history, symptoms, and review any relevant past test results. Based upon their physical assessment, they may refer you on for additional testing and or lab work.
To learn more, watch this video from Dr. William Coble, a cardiologist with VCS who explains a typical first visit to VCS.