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About Your Rheumatology Visit

Preparing for your visit

Read the information below to help you prepare for your visit to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's Rheumatology Department.

  • You must bring to your appointment a referral letter indicating whether this visit is a referral or consultation. You should also bring any past clinical notes and laboratory tests. 
  • New patients will be asked to complete a patient information questionnaire. If you would like to complete this form before your appointment, please print out the questionnaire, fill it out and fax it to us at 206-625-7288. You will be asked about your medical history including previous illnesses, severity of your symptoms, family members with similar conditions, your health habits (including alcohol and cigarette use), your diet and other questions. 
  • So that your rheumatologist can review your health history, laboratory and other test results, send all outside notes and laboratory results to the Rheumatology Department prior to your appointment. 
  • If you need interpreter services, tell your scheduler when he/she is scheduling your appointment. 
  • Bring a list of questions that you want to ask during your appointment. It's easy to forget that "one important question." 
  • Bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking. Please include all over-the-counter drugs like vitamins, herbals and aspirin. 
  • A family member or caregiver is always welcome to accompany you. Remember, however, that your physician may ask highly personal questions regarding your health history. 
  • Check with your insurance company to determine if a co-payment is required. If so, please be prepared to pay your co-payment during your appointment check-in. 
  • Arrive early for your appointment so you have time to relax. 

Checking in for your visit

When you arrive for your appointment at Virginia Mason Medical Center, please check-in at one of the front desks located on the Buck Pavilion, Level 1 and the Lindeman Pavilion, Level 2. During check-in we will update your medical record information (changes in address, phone number or insurance carrier), accept your co-payment (if you have one) and then send you to your appointment.

The Rheumatology Department is located on Level 6 of the Lindeman Pavilion. Please stop at the front desk of Rheumatology so we know you have made it to the sixth floor and are ready to be seen. If you wait more than 15 minutes past your appointment time, please tell the receptionist.

During your visit

We want to make sure that everything goes smoothly for you during your visit. While the purpose of appointments may vary, some things should always remain constant. Here's what you can expect during your visit:

  • Your medication and allergy profile will be verified and updated. An updated medication profile will be printed for you at the time of your visit.
  • Your provider will ask you to talk about your reason for coming, to ensure your expectations for the appointment are met.
  • Your provider may recommend diagnostic or laboratory tests. When a test is suggested, your provider will tell you what he or she hopes to learn from it, how long the test will take, and how you will be told about the results (follow up visit or mailing of diagnostic or laboratory results, if requested).
  • Your provider may make a diagnosis during the exam, telling you what you have, what causes it and what treatment options are available to you.
  • If the services of a specialist are needed, your provider will make arrangements for you.

If follow-up appointments are needed, your provider will make sure you are seen in a timely manner.

After your visit—prescription refills


If you need a prescription refill, contact the pharmacy that originally filled your prescription. Most medications are risky and will require routine laboratory monitoring and visits. Your provider will provide you with information on how often you will need laboratory testing. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health has several laboratories where tests can be performed. If by chance your labs have been drawn outside of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, please make sure that our clinic receives a copy, to prevent interruption of medication refills. Results can be faxed to our department at 206-625-7288. If you are unable to return for routine visits, your primary-care provider will be notified to continue refills under his/her supervision until you are able to return to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

It is Rheumatology Department policy to deny refills until labs that have been ordered are received by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

The pharmacist may already have authorization to refill your medication. If not, ask the pharmacist to fax us at 206-223-8886 to request a refill. Please give your pharmacist plenty of time before your prescription runs out.

Mail order

If you use mail order prescription service, please allow 10 days advance notice before your prescription runs out.

Prior authorization

For patients taking ANTI-TNF inhibitors such as Enbrel, Humira, Kineret, or infusion medications in the hospital such as Remicade, Rituxan and Orencia, your prescription insurance company may require a prior authorization from our office. In the event that an authorization is needed to refill your medication, your current prescription plan with a copy of your ID card will be needed. In some cases, your prescription plan will require prior authorization more than once per year. Please inform us of any prescription insurance changes as they may require new authorizations.

Patient Assistance Programs/PAP

Please be aware of the length of therapy prescribed by your doctor for medications and when renewal of assistance is required. Information that needs to be filled in by the doctor can be faxed directly to our office at 206-625-7288.

Please be sure to tell us if you have any additional or new medication allergies.