Outpatient Visits

Many insurance companies require a referral from primary care physicians (PCPs). The Penn State Hershey preregistration team can help to determine if this is necessary. If the pre-registration staff is unable to obtain a referral, patients are contacted to obtain their own referral for their
visit from the PCP.

  • Delay in referral - Penn State Hershey accommodates patients as best possible. If PCP referrals are not obtained in time, patients may be rescheduled for a future visit to coordinate the referral documentation with their PCPs directly.
  • Denial of referral - if a patient has not been cared for by his or her PCP recently, that PCP may deny a specialist referral.
  • Co-pays- if a patient's insurance requires a co-pay for specialist visits, patients are expected to provide payment to Penn State Hershey at time of service.

Penn State Hershey care team commits to work hard to stay on-time during the clinic day. Every patient visit is a priority and we strive to address every patient's needs. Sometimes an unexpected complex problem can take up more time than anticipated. This may cause a delay in services. We apologize if this occurs, but can assure our patients that their care will not be compromised nor their
time cut short to address each individual's needs. To help all patients scheduled for visits, as well as keeping providers on time, Penn State Hershey asks patients to keep these things in mind when planning for each visit:

  • On-time arrival - patients are asked to arrive on-time for their scheduled visits. (This may include an X-ray or other appointment, if scheduled prior to the visit scheduled in the surgical specialties office.) Unfortunately, failure to arrive on-time results in delays not only for that patient, but for other patients scheduled for visits that day.
  • Need to reschedule - if unable to keep a scheduled visit, patients are asked to please contact the physician's office, as soon as possible. This will help to keep schedules ontrack, and help other patients who might be waiting to be scheduled.
  • Late arrivals - Penn State Hershey does its best to accommodate patients who arrive late, if time allows. If this happens, a member of the team checks with the patient's doctor to try to adjust the provider's schedule to still allow time for that patient to be seen, but cannot be promised for the same day. If the schedule does not allow, the patient is either offered a later time that day, if available, or the visit is rescheduled for a more convenient time on a different day.
  • Unscheduled urgent or emergency patients - there are an unpredictable number of urgent and emergency patients that can be added to the schedules each day; as a result, providers sometimes run behind, pushing visit times to later than scheduled. If this occurs, and a patient is unable to wait, due to other commitments, patients are asked to let the team at the front desk know. They will do their best to have the patient's visit completed before that patient needs to leave for other commitments.
  • Medical records; medications and dosage; lab work - all patients are asked to come prepared for visits with a complete list of all medications (including dosage and time taken–if possible, bring actual medication bottle). For a patient's first visit to the office, he or she is asked to bring copies of medical records—including office notes, lab work, hospital stay summaries, radiology reports. Copies of any previous CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic tests should be provided on a CD for the Penn State Hershey team. This thorough preparation allows the care team to more thoroughly assess and treat the individual, as well as provide the most informed evaluation to better serve the patient.

  • Penn State Hershey patients are asked to provide the following to their providers' office when requesting the completion of a form (excluding work excuse - see below):
    • ¿Seven to ten business days for completion.
    • A note attached to the form advising of patient pick-up or mailing address for the form, once it is completed (seven to ten business days).
    • Return mailing envelope, if one has been provided (if no instructions are included from the patient, Penn State Hershey mails completed forms to the address listed on the form, or via the return mailing envelope the patient provides).
    • Patients should complete the patient portions of all forms.
  • ¿Forms are not completed by providers or staff during patient visit times based on clinic policy.
  • Penn State Hershey care team commits to complete all forms (unless unforeseen issues occur) in seven to ten working days. Patients are asked to take this time allotment into account when hand-delivering or sending forms to the office to be completed.
  • Work/School excuse: Patients are asked to provide two to three business days' notice for work or school excuses. Unlike other forms, these excuses can be completed at time of visit.

  • Non-mail refill requests - patients are asked to allow two to three working days for medication refill requests, to ensure doses are not interrupted. All requests need to be reviewed by the patient's physician, which typically can take one to two days, depending on the provider's schedule and time in the office.
  • Mail-order refill requests - patients are asked to allow five working days for mail-order medication refill requests, because of potential delay with postal processing.

Penn State Hershey Careline

  • 800-243-1455

Phone Calls and Patient Portal Messages

  • Urgent/immediate care - patients with urgent or immediate care concerns, must please call the office. Patients will receive return calls from the Penn State Hershey care team as quickly as possible.
  • Non-urgent calls/messages - patients should anticipate return calls or messages from the Penn State Hershey care team within one working day of their initial contact.
  • If patients do not hear from a member of the Penn State Hershey care team by the second working day after their initial call or message, patients are asked to call back for assistance.

Medical Records

Due to patient privacy laws, Penn State Hershey is not permitted to make copies or release records from the clinic.

To request medical records or X-rays, patients are asked to call 717-531-8055 or visit our Medical Records section on how to request information.