FAQs

What is a secure Patient Portal?

A patient portal is a secure way to communicate electronically with our patients. While GIM patients have had access to a portal since 2005, on September 14, 2016 we launched an updated portal that more completely connects to our electronic health record. Please register for the FOLLOW MY HEALTH portal by following instructions provided in your email invitation when received. If you have not received an email invitation, please provide or update your email address with the office at your next appointment. We will communicate normal lab results and other test results through the portal and will send a visit summary. The portal is also a great way for patients to send non-urgent appointments requests, questions for your nurse, billing inquiries, referral requests or questions, and general inquiries. Soon, the portal will offer online bill pay options.

In order to utilize the portal, you must set up an account through which you will receive secure communication. Portal accounts will only be set up for existing patients. To set up an account, ask the front desk at your next appointment or call (919)-773-1223 and ask that you receive an invitation to set up an account. You may also create a Follow My Health account and search for your Garner Internal Medicine provider and request to be linked to the practice.

How do I make an Appointment?

Please contact our office at (919)-773-1223 for all urgent appointment needs. Appointment requests for non-urgent or routine needs can also be made through our secure portal once you have set up your secure account. We encourage patients who need follow up appointments with a GIM provider to schedule these when checking out at your current appointment to ensure availability of preferred dates and times.

What Insurance Plans do you accept?

The following is a list of insurances with which we currently participate. If your insurance is not listed, it may be a commercial plan that does not require us to have a direct contract. If you are unsure, you may contact your insurance company to find out if they require you to see a network physician and if we are listed as participating. In all cases, we file insurance as a courtesy for our patients. Patients are required to pay any deductibles and or coinsurances at the time of service per our financial policy.

** Please note that we ONLY see existing patients who transition to Medicare or Medicaid. We do not take new Medicaid or Medicare patients.
** We do not accept Medical Discount Cards

Commercial Insurance Plans:

  • Aetna
  • Aetna Whole Health
  • BlueCross BlueShield of NC
  • BlueCross Blue Shield Federal and Out of State Plans
  • BlueCross Blue Shield – Blue Select
  • BlueCross BlueShield – Blue Value and Blue Local
  • BlueCross Blue Shield – Smart Choice PPO
  • Cigna HealthCare
  • First Health through Coventry
  • Great West
  • MedCost
  • Medicaid (Non-Carolina Access)
  • Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Tricare (Standard Plan Only)
  • United Healthcare
  • United Healthcare Compass
  • Wellpath/Coventry

Medicare Advantage Plans:

  • Aetna Medicare
  • BCBS Medicare
  • Humana Medicare

Please note that we DO NOT accept new patients with these Medicare Advantage plans.

What do I do if I need a refill on a medication?

Please contact your pharmacy directly for all routine refill requests and allow 48-72 business hours for processing. Your pharmacy will forward an electronic refill request to us. This will ensure the accuracy and efficiency of response to your prescription needs. Once you establish a portal account, you can also request refills securely through the portal. Please keep in mind that if you are running low on routine medications it is likely time to follow up with your provider and an appointment needs to be scheduled. If you are past due for a follow up, your provider will generally only approve a 30 day supply of your routine medication to allow time for you to schedule and complete the appropriate visit in our office.

How do I get my lab results?

As more patients register for our secure online patient portal, we will forward normal lab results electronically to you if you have created a secure web account. Currently, we mail lab results that are normal. You should expect to receive normal labs in the mail within 7-10 business days of your appointment. If results are abnormal or a medication change or additional test is needed in response to your labs, your provider’s nurse or medical assistant will contact you by telephone to review the results with you. You should expect to receive a call regarding any elevated or abnormal results within 5-7 business days of your appointment. Please note that if you receive a call regarding lab results you will not normally receive labs in the mail.

How do I choose a provider?

You will be asked to choose one of our physician providers (Dr. Karen Mayer, Dr. Jeff Breiner, or Dr. Steve Turner) when you establish at Garner Internal Medicine. Dr. Mayer works with our Nurse Practitioners Amy McAlister and Angela Keene as well as one of our Physician Assistants, Jim Trenner. Dr. Breiner works with one of our Physician Assistants, Julia Queen. Dr. Turner works with our Physician Assistant Jim McCann and Nurse Practitioner Cherysh Gunkle. All of our providers are Board Certified.

How do I get in contact with someone in an emergency?

In an emergency you should always dial 911.

What is the policy for calling the "On-Call" provider after the office is closed?

The On-Call provider is for urgent problems only that cannot wait until the next business day. In an emergency you should always call 911. For urgent problems after the office is closed, the number to call is the same as our office number (919) 773-1223. After hours this number connects to our answering service who can contact the provider on duty. No narcotic pain medications or other controlled substances will be called in by the On-Call provider. Routine refills will not be called in. Please respect the "On-Call" provider and make sure that your call is appropriate.

What is the medication "call-in" policy? What about narcotics and other controlled substances?

No narcotics will be called in. This includes Oxycodone (Percocet) and Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco). No other controlled substances will be called in. This includes Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta. Please refer to our prescription refill policy for more information.

What hospital affiliations do you have if I need to be admitted to the hospital?

If you need to be admitted to the hospital know that we work closely to coordinate admission to all of the hospitals in Wake County. While we are no longer on any hospital staffs, we utilize the Hospital Admission Specialists, or Hospitalists, that are employed at all of the Wake County hospitals (WakeMed Raleigh, WakeMed Cary, Rex, and Duke Raleigh). Hospitalists are physicians who have dedicated their careers to the care of hospitalized patients. You can learn more about them here. At your discharge, we will coordinate with your hospitalist for your transition into follow up care.

How do I get a referral to a specialist?

If this is a problem you and your provider have already discussed, contact the office to request a referral. Otherwise, we may request that you make an appointment to discuss your work up and treatment options.

Who do I call if I have a question about my bill?

If you have billing questions, please call our main number at 919-773-1223 and select Option 7 for the billing department. If you have a more urgent billing concern, you can call the main number and select “0” for an operator who will direct you to someone in the billing department. Also, once you have established a web account, you can forward secure electronic billing inquiries through the portal. We anticipate adding the online bill pay feature in the near future.

What's an Internist?

An Internist is another name for a Doctor of Internal Medicine. Internists may also be called "General Internists". Our physician providers are Board Certified in Internal Medicine. Doctors of Internal Medicine have completed three years of Residency training (after four years Medical School). The Residency training is solely dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. But don't mistake us for "interns",who are doctors in their first year of residency training. Confusing? You bet! Learn more about Doctors of Internal Medicine.

What is a Physician Assistant or "PA"? What is a Nurse Practitioner or "NP"?

Garner Internal Medicine offers Physician Assistants ("PA's") and Certified Nurse Practitioners (NP's") as part of our healthcare team. PA's and NP's are sometimes called "Mid-Level" providers. Like our physicians, our Mid-Level providers are licensed by the state to see patients and prescribe medications. Our Mid-Level providers are supervised by our Medical Doctors. At GIM, our Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are Board Certified and must complete Continuing Medical Education courses every year just like our physicians do. Learn more about PA's here and more about NP's.