Frequently Asked Questions


How is GetzWell Pediatrics different from other pediatric practices?

GetzWell Pediatrics is San Francisco’s premier primary care practice providing thoughtful, progressive medical care. We have shrugged the bureaucracy and shredded red tape. In refusing to recognize any interference with the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship, we have returned pediatrics to its root values of clinical excellence and compassionate care of every patient.

We are the only integrative pediatric practice in San Francisco and work diligently to provide a patient experience that is very personal and tailored to your family. At GetzWell our highly trained staff is unhurried, listens to you, and focuses on your child’s unique needs. We love it, our patients love it, and we think you will too.

We offer longer visits, 24/7 physician access, customized treatment plans, counseling for healthy lifestyles, a state of the art paperless office and other customized services including nutrition counseling and lactation expertise for nursing mothers. This contrasts with most other pediatric and family practices that don’t provide such support services and where each doctor routinely sees over 25 patients per day. In such high volume practices, the typical office visit with a pediatrician lasts about 12 minutes, the national average. We never rush, spending 3-4 times the national average during appointments and a busy day for one of our docs would be 6-8 patients.

Our approach combines the best of conventional and complementary medicine, addressing not only physical symptoms but also psychological, social, environmental, and developmental aspects of health and illness. Guided by the latest science, we believe in stimulating the innate human capacity for healing, all the while teaming with parents to provide safe and effective choices for your child’s care.

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Are You Formally Affiliated With Any San Francisco Hospitals?

GetzWell is an affiliate of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. However, we also may make referrals to specialists at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

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Why do you offer prenatal nutrition counseling in your pediatric office?

At GetzWell Pediatrics we believe your infant’s care begins long before your child is born. The environment of the womb is just as important as the family and world your child enters at birth, and this is supported by an entire field of study called epigenetics. We want to help you positively impact your child’s long-term health by discussing how you can reduce exposure to environmental toxins and by providing cutting edge nutritional advice before and during pregnancy. We are experienced in helping women to achieve the highest level of nutritional health and well-being and are available to educate, guide and motivate mothers, children, and the entire family.

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Will my PPO insurer reimburse me for the cost of my child’s office visits?

In most cases, yes. While we cannot guarantee a specific reimbursement rate, many of our patients with PPOs report their health insurer reimburses 50-80% of the costs of our services (after any applicable deductibles have been met). Most insurers classify us as an “out of network” provider. HMO insurance will not typically cover our services, which is why most of our patients have or obtain PPO health insurance.

We have eliminated the bureaucracy and shredded the red tape inherent in an insurance-based practice. GetzWell’s doctors are able to honor the sanctity of the patient/physician relationship and collaborate with you without insurance interference to make important decisions about the health of your children.

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Why do I need health insurance?

GetzWell Pediatrics is not a substitute for your health insurance. However, by choosing to bring your child to us, your health insurance needs will change and you may find it advantageous to alter your current plan. Three suggestions are listed below. In the long run, your aggregate medical/insurance costs may decline if you adopt one of these options. Your situation is unique and the decisions you make should always be guided by your personal financial and tax advisors as well as a qualified insurance agent.

A. INCREASING YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE DEDUCTIBLE

Many healthy families have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health plan, with a relatively low ($500-1000) deductible. However, the premiums for such a plan can be quite high. By increasing your annual deductible to more than $4,500, monthly premiums may be greatly reduced, resulting in significant annual savings. See below about high deductible health plans.

B. USING A HEALTH REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNT (HRA) TO PAY FOR SERVICES AT GETZWELL PEDIATRICS

As an employee, you may have access to a Health Reimbursement Account from your employer as part of your benefits package. An HRA is funded solely by the employer, to use for qualified medical expenses.

C. USING A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA) TO PAY FOR SERVICES AT GETZWELL PEDIATRICS

Health Savings Accounts provide tax advantaged opportunities for individuals enrolled in a high deductible health plan. An HSA combines a tax favored savings account and a qualified high deductible health insurance policy (HDHP). To qualify, you must have an approved high deductible insurance plan with at least a $3,350 (as of 2015) deductible for an individual or $6,650 (as of 2015) deductible for your family. Your contributions to a HSA accrue interest on a tax exempt basis. Unused amounts roll over to the succeeding year and aren’t taxed if used for qualified medical expenses!

The above suggestions are not intended as specific tax or insurance advice and may become outdated without notice. Your situation and insurance decisions should be discussed with your financial and tax advisors and a qualified insurance agent.

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Won’t you get too busy and wind up being difficult to reach like most other doctors?

No. Note that the average solo pediatrician has over 2000 patients and sees as many as 25 patients per day. In contrast, an average day for one of our pediatricians is 6-8 patients. We have made a conscious decision to limit our practice size because our primary goal is to offer the highest quality medical care to our patients. One of the ways we do this is by charging an annual open access membership fee.

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How does GetzWell membership work?

We are a direct primary care (DPC) pediatric practice wherein members pay us for medical services upon completion of their appointment. We keep the practice small so our members receive superlative integrative care and easily see us under most circumstances. Upon joining, each new pediatric patient is assessed an open access membership fee. Our current annual fee is $300 for a single child and $480 for families with 2 or more children. At the one year anniversary of joining and annually thereafter, the open access membership fee is determined based on the age(s) of your first two children. When your child is at least five in the renewal month, the annual renewal fee is 50% of the then current rate. We only charge an annual membership fee for your two oldest children. If you have more than two children, there is no charge for the membership of the additional child(ren).

We are often able to see you and your child(ren), even for non-urgent matters, on the day of your request and always within three business days for routine matters. In the case of illness or an urgent need for a visit, we always accommodate our members on the same day. GetzWell membership provides many benefits including newborn house calls, 24/7 direct access to a GetzWell professional, priority appointments over non-members, phone/virtual consultations with our care providers, answers to brief non-urgent email questions at no additional cost, and more. While we see non-member patients on a space available basis, a surcharge is assessed to non-members for all medical services and aforementioned member benefits are not available.

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Are lab tests covered?

In general, your PPO insurance covers the cost of lab tests and other studies as if they had been ordered by an in-network physician. We suggest that you check with your insurer or your employer’s HR department, as each plan varies.

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What if my child needs hospitalization or specialist care?

GetzWell Pediatrics works with many of the Bay Area’s finest hospitals. If your child needs hospitalization, at your request, we will comanage hospital care and/or maintain contact with your hospital team. Upon discharge, we provide seamless follow up.

The providers at GetzWell Pediatrics will arrange for pediatric specialty care if it is needed. We have relationships with pediatric specialists at all the major hospitals in the area: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, CPMC Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

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What happens if my child is sick outside of regular business hours?

For members only, we provide an after hours phone number which will connect you directly with one of our pediatricians or advanced practice pediatric nurse practitioners. This eliminates phone trees, answering services, and impersonal nurse triage systems.

Because we know our patients well and calls are answered by a one of our professionals, we rarely send children to urgent care centers or emergency rooms, which is often what happens when impersonal triage nurses answer calls. We think this is smart medicine and this saves you money in the long run.

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