Links/Patient Information


Links & Patient Information

Scroll down for information on our appointment and payment policies, and for helpful links to many patient resources.

Information for Our Patients on Procedure Preps (click on the following):

Bravo Information (click on the following):

In the news…Questions about Cologuard?

Screening tests for colon cancer can be divided into those tests that can prevent colon cancer and those tests that just detect a cancer after it has formed.

Cologuard is a cancer detection test. Specifically, it tests for genetic mutations in stool that are associated with colon cancer. It will correctly identify 92% of individuals that have colon cancer. It will not, however, be able to decrease your risk of developing cancer because it is not able to reliably detect precancerous polyps. If a Cologuard test comes back positive, a follow up colonoscopy will be recommended.

Recognize that only a colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer by detecting and removing precancerous polyps. About one out of three patients will have polyps removed during his or her colonoscopy.

So what is the bottom line?

Colon cancer is common and not everybody that should be coming in for screening does. Colonoscopy is the only test presently that is proven to detect and prevent colon cancer, but there are alternatives for those individuals not wishing to undergo colonoscopy. Cologuard is one of those options. Remember that any colon cancer screening test is better than none.

In the news…Bacterial infection from specialized endoscope

At Portland Gastroenterology Center, we are aware of reports from medical centers in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago of a drug resistant bacterial infection transmitted via a specialized endoscope, called a duodenoscope, used to diagnose and treat disorders of the pancreas and bile ducts.
We do not do this procedure in our facility at Portland Gastroenterology Center.
This rare infection has not been associated with other far more common procedures such as colonoscopy or upper endoscopy.
Patient safety is a primary concern for all of us at Portland Gastroenterology Center. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as they evaluate and address this issue.

Our New Patient Portal

patient-portal-newWe have added a Patient Portal to give our patients log-on access 24/7.

Patients can request an appointment, check their lab results, send a secure message to our practice, and update their personal medical information.

If you have an email address and would like to sign up for our Patient Portal, please call our office. Staff is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00AM and 5:00PM at 207-773-7964. When calling, please select 2 on your telephone keypad. Our patient service representatives will be glad to take your email information and send you an email invitation to register for our secure patient portal.

Patient Education Materials

These informative articles appeared in our Maine Sunday Telegram patient education insert in 2005, and were written and photographed by the Marketing Department of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram (Chris Stewart and Peter Weed, photography by Merry Farnum).

Additional Articles by Our Physicians

Policies

APPOINTMENTS – Our office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. When you call for an appointment, please let our patient service representative know what services you need so we can make the appropriate arrangements. You can reach us at (207) 773-7964, option 2 for scheduling. Once we’ve scheduled your appointment, we’ll mail you a health questionnaire. Please complete and return it before your visit.

RESCHEDULING – Procedures are scheduled between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. We’ll do our best to find a time that’s convenient for you. Should you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. As a courtesy to other patients waiting to see our physicians, we ask that you notify us at least five business days in advance of your appointment.

MEDICATION REFILL – Requests for refills of medications may take up to three (3) business days to be processed.

* No prescriptions will be refilled or reviewed on Friday after 12:00 p.m., weekends, and holidays or by the on-call physician.

Plan ahead:

  • You should contact your pharmacy or our office and leave a voicemail 3-5 days before your medication is due to run out. If you use a mail order company, please contact us 14 days before your medication is due to run out.
  • Certain medications may require laboratory testing before they can be refilled, examples: Imuran, 6-mp, methotrexate, etc.
  • We utilize strict controls for medications containing opioids. Opioids cannot be called into the pharmacy for refills. The patient must be seen in the office for those non-refillable pain medications be to refilled. Patients taking opioid medications cannot have the medication refilled until the prescription is fully expired. We will not fill urgent requests for narcotics after 12:00 p.m. on Fridays.

WE KNOW YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE. Our goal is to see all patients on time. Occasionally we have to change the schedule to accommodate an emergency patient. We greatly appreciate your understanding when this situation causes an unavoidable delay. Please feel free to call us on the day of your appointment to see if any scheduling delays are anticipated.

BILLING – Our physicians perform procedures at Maine Medical Center as well as at the Endoscopy Center, located on the second floor of our building. If you had your procedure done at the Maine Medical Center, you will receive a bill directly from them. This will be in addition to the bill from your Portland Gastroenterology Center physician. You may also receive separate bills for laboratory, pathology and anesthesiology services.

Referrals and insurance coverage – Before your visit, be sure to obtain any referrals required by your insurance company. In most cases, this will involve a call to your primary care physician.

Screening colonoscopies and other procedures may or may not be covered in your insurance plan. We encourage you to verify coverage prior to receiving services. You will be responsible for any non-covered services, out-of-network fees, copayments and deductibles. If you have questions about referrals or insurance coverage, our billing staff would be happy to assist you.

Payment policies – We participate with most major insurance companies and will be glad to submit your bill directly. Any copayments due should be paid at the time of service. If you do not have insurance, you should be prepared to make payment arrangements at the time of your visit. If you have financial concerns, please let us know so we can work out a mutually acceptable payment schedule. We accept all major credit cards. As always, your health is our top priority.

Health Care Price Transparency – Portland Gastroenterology Center supports health care price transparency and adheres to the Public Disclosure of Health Care Prices Law. 

If you would like information about the prices of your health care services, please contact our Billing Department at 207-874-1493. 

Maine Health Data Organization (MHDO) is a state agency that collects health care data and makes those data available to researchers, policy makers, and the public while protecting individual privacy.

The purpose of the organization is to create and maintain a useful, objective, reliable and comprehensive health information database that is used to improve the health of Maine citizens.

The data available includes the average cost of specific medical procedures at over 50 different high volume health care facilities and hospitals around the State of Maine.

The MHDO website address is:   https://mhdo.maine.gov/

Links and Resources
All external sites will open in a new browser window. You may need to set your browser to allow pop ups. These links are provided as a courtesy. Portland Gastroenterology Center is not responsible for the availability, updating or accuracy of any information provided on these outside sites or for the privacy or security of these outside sites.

Associations
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) is dedicated to the mission of advancing the science and practice of gastroenterology. Founded in 1897, the AGA is the oldest medical-specialty society in the United States. Comprised of two non-profit organizations — the AGA and the AGA Institute — our 15,000 members include physicians and scientists who research, diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. The site offers excellent resources on a number of gastroenterological topics.

American College of Gastroenterology (ACG)

The American College of Gastroenterology represents more than 8500 digestive health specialists and is committed to providing accurate, unbiased and up-to-date health information to patients and the public.
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Barrett’s Esophagus
Barrett’s Information from NIDDK

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides information on Barrett’s Esophagus, including material on normal function of the esophagus, treatment and research.

Barrett’s Information from the American College of Gastroenterology

The ACG site features information on risk factors and treatment options.
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Cancer
American Cancer Society

Learn about colon and rectum cancer, risk factors, prevention, treatment and more. You can also read stories of hope from people whose lives have been touched by cancer.

CancerNet

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight agencies that compose the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The NCI, established under the National Cancer Act of 1937, is the Federal Government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.

Colorectal Cancer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the principal agency in the United States government for protecting the health and safety of all Americans.
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Celiac Sprue
Celiac Sprue Association

CSA remains the largest non-profit celiac support group in America, with over 95 chapters and 55 resource units across the country, and over 10,000 members worldwide.

Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Resource

Provides important resources and information for people on gluten-free diets due to celiac disease, gluten intolerance, dermatitis herpetiformis, wheat allergy, or other health reasons. Celiac.com offers key gluten-free and wheat-free on-line resources that are helpful to anyone with special dietary needs. The site’s purpose is to raise celiac disease awareness, and to provide people who have it with enough information to get diagnosed and treated so that they can begin to lead more comfortable and healthy lives.

Maine Celiac Support Group

Celiac Support Association local chapter listings.
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Colonoscopy
Family Doctor

Healthy information for the whole family including information on colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy: Wikipedia

Encyclopedia-style information on colonoscopy.

National Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse

NDDIC was established in 1980 to increase knowledge and understanding about digestive diseases among people with these conditions and their families, healthcare professionals, and the general public. To carry out this mission, NDDIC works closely with a coordinating panel of representatives from Federal agencies, voluntary organizations on the national level, and professional groups to identify and respond to informational needs about digestive diseases.
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Crohn’s & Colitis
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Colitis

Information from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
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General Helpful Patient Information
Focus on Digestion

Good overall information about digestion.

Healthy Maine Walks

Great website for getting outdoors in Maine.
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc.

IFFGD, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, is a registered nonprofit education and research organization founded in 1991. IFFGD addresses the issues surrounding life with gastrointestinal (GI) functional and motility disorders and increases the awareness about these disorders among the general public, researchers, regulators and the clinical care community.

The Mayo Clinic

Information on the digestive system and irritable bowel syndrome from the Mayo Clinic.
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Liver Disease
American Liver Foundation

The American Liver Foundation (ALF) is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization promoting liver health and disease prevention. ALF provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by liver-related diseases, including hepatitis.

Hepatitus Foundation International

Offers an online learning center, newsletter and information about living with hepatitis.

Medline Plus

A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Hemochromatosis: Iron Disorders Institute

Health information about Hemochromatosis or excess iron.
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Nutrition
American Heart Association

The American Heart Association mission is to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Great Nutrition Information at Your Fingertips

Nutrition.gov provides easy access to the best food and nutrition information from across the federal government. It serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers, educators and health professionals.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. ADA members are the nation’s food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.
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Ostomy
United Ostomy Association, Inc.

UOAA is a national network for bowel and urinary diversion support groups in the United States. Its goal is to provide a nonprofit association that will serve to unify and strengthen its member support groups, which are organized for the benefit of people who have, or will have intestinal or urinary diversions and their caregivers.
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Pancreatic Diseases
National Pancreas Foundation

The foundation supports the research of diseases of the pancreas and provides information and humanitarian services to those people who are suffering from these illnesses.

American College of Gastroenterology

Information about biliary tract disorders, gallbladder disorders and gallstone pancreatitis.
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Reflux Disease (GERD)
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, affects at least an estimated 5% to 7% of the global population of men, women, and children. (Prevalence based on once per day heartburn.) Heartburn and/or acid regurgitation experienced weekly has been found to occur in 19.8% of individuals.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Information about Heartburn, Hiatal Hernia, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
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Ulcers
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Thorough information regarding ulcers and other related conditions.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website containing factual information on ulcers.