Practice FAQ


What services does VMP provide?

Simply, our goal is to provide the very best there is.  Our practice specializes in Pediatric and Adult genetic disorders and our services range from direct patient care to assisting other healthcare providers or entities with needed genetics expertise. In addition, we are dedicated to increasing the awareness of rare genetic disorders through community outreach and educational venues such as seminars and didactic curriculum. VMP’s service lines include:

Patient Appointments–In office face to face consultation for the evaluation, diagnosis, discussion and management of rare genetic disorders.

Virtual Appointments – Follow up appointments without the stress and hassle of traveling. They can be conducted simply via a telephone conversation or with the use of webcams and the Internet. Virtual visits are not optimal in every circumstance and must be physician-approved but you always have the option of seeing us in our office with a regular consult. The choice is yours.

Remote Second Opinions - From Moscow to Hong Kong and South Africa to Anchorage, people have used this service to gain the care that they need without the travel. Second opinions are not new to medicine, but we take it one large step further by having you spend 1 hour discussing matters with Dr Kendall one on one. It is very similar to an person consult, but Dr Kendall is limited to making recommendations so your local physicians can pick up and order or prescribe. Dr Kendall is available to answer any questions your local physician may have about her recommendations. 

Care Assistance – Ongoing management assistance to patients, primary care physicians, and other specialists when extensive access to our physician is desired.

Medical Consultant – Providing consultative services to physician groups, hospitals and biotech firms.

Education Outreach – Providing education on rare, genetic disorders to a variety of venues including, hospitals, nursing and medical schools and other community educational facilities and groups.

Expert Witness – Dr Kendall is a seasoned medical expert that saves her clients thousands of dollars by telling them what they need to hear... rather than what one may want to hear.

What makes VMP different from other genetic practices?

Hopefully from your first contact with us you will know something is different. We truly care about patients and have a passion for what we do.

VMP’s mission is to spend 100% of our time focused on patient care. We direct our efforts to improve the care, access, and the assistance we provide to our patients while many other clinical geneticists must spend the majority of their time concerned about research grant and funding, their affiliated laboratory, teaching, or doing basic science… focused on everything but what really matters to you as a patient and family.

Imagine if that phone call you just had with your physician was conducted utilizing cost effective technology and allowed a face to face encounter.  Not only does it save you, the patient, the hardships and hassles of travel but seeing each other and using VoIP simply provides a higher degree of service in an efficient manner…. and that is what we are all about.

As a patient, physician, hospital or biotech firm who utilize our consulting services, we provide various on-line tools (resource manuals, pertinent articles, newsletters) to help increase your level of knowledge and care.  And we are constantly in search of additional ways to provide you, the patient, more through the use of the technology that is readily available.

How does the process work for scheduling an appointment?

It's fairly straightforward and the following is for new patients. There is NO NEED to supply records upfront hoping that the physician will grace you with their approval for an appointment. Simply email us with a brief overview of the issues faced and we will contact you to discuss in detail. We will listen to you, explain who and what we are, provide an overview of the disorders we deal with, provide any resources that may be useful until your appointment, answer your questions about us, and set an appointment if you wish to move forward. No pressure and that simple, but not performed that often in today's medical environment.

All that is needed from an established patient, as most of their paperwork is already on file, is an email or phone call asking for available dates. We encourage you to tell us if you have preferences.

Please reserve setting an appointment only if you are committed to making the appointment as there are so many who could use the one hour we will set aside of Dr Kendall's time for you. Once we commit to setting an appointment we will email you a confirmation of the appointment and any typical in-take forms. The email will walk you through the balance of the process. 

We work hard to keep the process as streamlined as possible.

What insurance do you take?

To keep costs contained, VMP does not employ staff to schedule patients or collect billings from insurance companies. The practice is a fee for service model and assists patients in filing for reimbursement through their insurance companies much like dental offices. You will receive any reimbursement directly from your insurance and the "true" expense to you for our services is limited to the difference between our fees and the reimbursement you may receive from your insurance carrier.

One of our patients summed it up best by stating, "You'll find that handling your own insurance paperwork is well worth the tradeoff for getting comprehensive and real time information."

Shortly after your office visit, you will receive the physicians note of your visit and a form which explains in detail the charges incurred. Please know we do what we can to enable you to receive the maximum insurance benefits. This form is accepted by most insurance companies as the "physician's statement or Form 1500 " when you submit your claim to them. We understand that a fee for service may be difficult for some families at times; therefore, our patient advocates will be happy to discuss payment arrangements with you. We accept checks and credit cards.

Unfortunately there are very, very few specialists (about a handful in the entire country) in this area of medicine and being a fee for service practice is a reflection of how woefully under supported it is by insurance and others. These are the reasons that you do not see private practice genetics offices or a thriving clinical genetics field. Please know we are doing what we can to contain costs as you could well imagine what other areas of medicine would charge if there was only a handful of specialists serving a population as common as childhood cancer.

Is lab work covered in your fees?

As normal for any practice, our charges do not include laboratory work. The laboratories we use or suggest will work with you and your insurance directly. The reimbursement will be as you may have typically experienced in the past. The extent that any lab work is covered by your insurance is dictated by what your specific insurance will or will not allow.

What happens if lab work is required following my visit?

If you/your child require routine follow-up blood work or new studies in an ongoing evaluation, you will be provided with an order sheet outlining those tests to be obtained. Coverage for the studies will be typical for your insurance policy as the labs will work directly with your insurance. Often, lab work is done far more economically as they are done within labs that are contracted with your insurance. If you have any concerns or questions, we encourage our patients to contact their insurance prior to having the studies completed to determine what if any out of pocket expense may be incurred. In addition, if you live out of state the best approach from an insurance standpoint is to return to your home state and have them collected at a local facility.

The testing can be collected either at the Northside lab drawing station conveniently located in our clinic building if you elect to have it done right away or at a draw station more conveniently located by work or home. The Northside lab drawing station will take your insurance information and your insurance coverage dictates which referral labs will receive your child/your studies so they may go to LabCorp, Quest or a specialized genetics laboratory that has a contract with your insurance plan. We may suggest, but as physicians we have NO CONTROL over the specifics of your insurance policies and, thus, little control over where the testing is sent. Once the lab work is completed and we have had the opportunity to review the results you will receive either a follow-up call or note summarizing those results as well as recommendations for additional testing or follow-up if necessary.

What happens if a muscle biopsy is required for further evaluation?

We rarely, if ever, order a muscle biopsy as there are so many other less invasive and less costly ways to proceed. Plus muscle biopsies have in our opinion high rates of false negative and false positive results. If for some reason a biopsy if required, we will make those arrangements for far less money with better results and quicker turnarounds than others, please see our FAQ's on Genetic testing for more detail

Also see our testimonials page for comments made by those that have gone through this experience.

Virtual?

We have a clinical office for those cases that require an in office visit or for those who do not want a virtual visit, but the virtual in our name means more than just the potential of a virtual visit.

VMP’s services are designed to utilize the latest readily available technology to the betterment of the patient population we have served for over 20 years. From advanced telephone systems to using a tablet computer, we look for ways that technology can provide more with less.

A number of studies indicate that there are only 50% of the needed Geneticists in the entire US. The percentage of mitochondrial experts is even less with only a handful in the entire country servicing a group of diseases as common as childhood cancer.  As such, many patients with rare genetic disorders go undiagnosed or struggle unnecessarily due to lack of access to the limited number of specialists who can assist in their ongoing care.  By simply converting from telephones to the use of Skype, a far broader patient population may be reached resulting in an improved quality of life for affected individuals with an overall decrease in healthcare costs.

Virtual visit, how does it work and what do I need?

First and most importantly, a proper patient/physician relationship must exist and your physician must determine if a virtual visit is appropriate before a virtual visit can be done. Then it’s just a matter of your level of comfort and the technology available to you regarding whether the virtual visit is done via a telephone or securely done over the internet using Skype. Skype is nothing more than a free telephone call, but we have the option of seeing each other when we talk – just like TV reporters when they file their reports from far flung locations.

Skype is free/easy to install and free/easy to use. Skype requires that at the least you have a DSL (high speed internet connection), a microphone attached to your computer, and Skype’s free software installed. If you include a webcam, then we can see each other but often Dr KEndall keeps it to voice only as the video can makes things a bit choppy. As an example, I recently had a niece living in New Zealand and we conversed almost daily for zero cost.

The added advantage if you utilize Skype moving forward is that you will cut costs all across your communication needs and not just when accessing VMP. You can call family, friends, or other physicians at zero cost if they use Skype or you can pay a very small fee to call people with regular landlines or cell numbers. Skype’s webpage (www.skype.com) has all the information you need.

What if I don't want to have a virtual visit?

No problem! We understand that a virtual visit is not for everyone, so we look forward to seeing you in our clinical office located in Alpharetta, Georgia.

How secure is Skype?

Currently Skype is owned by Ebay and in our opinion it is extremely secure.  One independent report indicated that Skype is more secure than using encrypted email, but please conduct your own research before you agree to using skype. We suggest you google search articles on the subject or go to www.skype.com for information.