+ WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?
Prior treatment records can lead to faster and more effective treatment. To make the most of our time together, please bring any prior:
- ENT clinic notes
- CDs containing CT or MRI imaging studies
- Latest audiogram or cochlear implant evaluation
+ WHAT INSURANCES DO YOU ACCEPT?
We take most insurances including Medicare and Medicaid. Please see our referral page for some of the insurances that we take. This page also provides some information on when you need a referral from your primary care provider.
+ ARE SAME DAY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE?
Yes. Our clinic and partners are often able to accommodate urgent needs. When necessary we see patients the same day.
+ WHAT CONDITIONS REQUIRE URGENT EVALUATION?
If you are experiencing these conditions, you should be urgently evaluated by our clinic. During clinic hours, we can evaluate and determine if your issues should be seen at an emergency department. This list is meant to be a guide and is not exhaustive.
- Severe ear pain in a diabetic or immunocompromised patient
- Severe ear pain and swelling
- Facial fractures
- Foreign bodies in the nose, airway, or ears
- Facial paralysis
- Sudden hearing loss in an ear
- Severe sinus pain
- Auricular hematoma (swelling on the external ear after a blow to the ear)
- Nosebleeds that do not respond to conservative measures
- Severe sore throats
- Vertigo lasting more than a few seconds
+ WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY VISIT?
Our front desk staff will take your information. If you have an ear problem, you will be scheduled for a hearing test (audiogram). This is performed by one of our audiologists.
From there a medical assistant will take you to your exam room and go over your medical history.
Depending on your specific concern, a short questionnaire may be given. This questionnaire helps the patient understand how to describe their condition.
Results of the questionnaire also helps with diagnosis. When you meet Dr. Ruffin, he will let your story in your own words and rarely interrupts until you are done sharing your concerns.
After asking clarifying questions, he will do a complete exam of your ears, nose, and throat. He understands that patients have anxiety and keeps the patient informed each step of the way.
Some routine examination procedures that may be done in the office setting are earwax removal, microscopic ear exam, and endocscopic (scope) exam of the nose or throat.
These procedures are not part of the standard office visit and will show up separately on your insurance bill. They may even be classified as surgeries by your insurer.
Most patients do not require more intervention. Dr. Ruffin believes strongly in patient education and will answer any questions about your diagnosis.
After your visit he will provide you with patient education materials. You will then check out and schedule any appointments needed in the future.
If you need surgery, our surgery scheduler will contact you and guide you through the process to have surgery.
+ WHAT IN OFFICE PROCEDURES DO WE PERFORM?
Below are some ENT procedures commonly done in the office setting. They will show up on your bill separately from the standard office visit. Some insurers list these as surgeries.
- Earwax removal and microscopic ear exams
- Myringotomy with and without tube placement
- Intratympanic steroid injection for sudden hearing loss
- Patch tympanoplasty for simple eardrum perforations
- Nasal biopsies
- Endoscopy of the nose and sinuses
- Endoscopy of the throat and voicebox (larynx)
- Needle biopsies of neck masses
- Drainage of peritonsillar abscesses
+ WHY DO I NEED A HEARING TEST?
When you have an ear complaint, a hearing test is a vital sign. If you had chest pain, the cardiologist would be getting an EKG as that is important to check when you have a cardiac related symptom. So it is with hearing tests.
Hearing is connected to other structures in the ear. A hearing test gives us information on how the eardrum, middle ear bones, and balance centers are working and whether there are fluid or tumors in the middle ear.
It is absolutely critical that we have a hearing test. We cannot make any medical decisions or medical recommendations without it.
Scheduling a hearing test in advance is more convenient for the patient. If we do not have a hearing test in advance and scheduling constraints require that you come back, that is an additional co-pay for the patient.