Frequently Asked Questions
Thanks for your interest in Commonwealth Pediatrics! Please take a few minutes to review some frequently asked questions about our practice. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please do not use this email for any direct medical advice; call our office instead.)
About Our Office
Will my child see a different provider every time?There are two doctors at Commonwealth Pediatrics: Dr. Angelica Espinosa and Dr. Michelle Lock, as well as our pediatric nurse practitioner, Maureen Pimentel, PNP. We believe that every patient deserves a primary care provider (PCP) who knows them and their medical history best. That's why we ask that you see your PCP whenever possible, and notify your insurance company of that choice. Because we also work as a team, you and your child may see any of us for sick visits if your PCP is unavailable. Dr. Lock and Dr. Espinosa share after-hours calls for all patients at Commonwealth Pediatrics.
When is your office open? What if it's a holiday?Our office is open Monday - Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with the first appointment at 9am. We are also open on the weekends: Saturday from 8 am to 11 am, and Sunday from 12 pm to 3 pm. Weekend visits are for urgent issues by appointment only, staffed by one of our providers. At Commonwealth Pediatrics we have office hours from 8 am to 11 am on the following days: President’s Day, Patriots' Day, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving Day. On Christmas Day and New Year's Day we are open from 12 pm to 3 pm. This means your child can be seen 365 days a year in our office!
How do I get in touch with my child's provider? What if the office is closed?For non-urgent issues that do not require a visit, you can use our patient portal to contact your child's PCP. We recommend this instead of email, as your personal information stays protected and our conversation is recorded in your child's medical record. During our regular office hours, you can also call our office number and our experienced & friendly staff will be happy to assist you. If your child has an emergency after hours, please call our office phone number. Our professional answering service will then connect you either to our on-call doctor, or to our pediatric advice nurse team. You can always ask to speak to the doctor on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for urgent or emergent issues.
Do you accept my insurance?Commonwealth Pediatrics currently accepts many major insurers. As always, please contact our office with questions about your specific plan, and please contact your insurance provider to match your PCP with the one you see in our office. We currently accept Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Fallon (commercial plans only), First Health/Coventry, GIC Unicare, Harvard Pilgrim, Humana, Multiplan, Neighborhood Health Plan (commercial plans only), Three Rivers, Tricare, Tufts Health Plan (with the exception of Select/Spirit/Limited Network/EPO), Tufts Health Public Plan, and United Healthcare. We also accept MassHealth, though all of our MassHealth patients must enroll in the following plan starting 3/1/18: Tufts Health Together with Boston Children's ACO.
Which specialists, hospitals, and emergency rooms do you use?Before our patients visit a local emergency room, we appreciate a call to our office first; often we will be able to see your child promptly and at a lower cost. When our patients do need emergency services, we recommend the Emergency Department at Winchester Hospital or at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH). Commonwealth Pediatrics is a Boston Children's Hospital Community of Care Preferred Practice. This means we can access your child's BCH medical records quickly and efficiently, and communicate with your child's specialist or hospital team at BCH directly to make sure we are working as a team. However, if your child requires care from a specialist, we will refer your family to the provider you or your insurance company prefer. When our patients are hospitalized, we communicate frequently with the pediatric hospitalist staff caring for them, wherever that hospital may be.
What about urgent care and retail-based care centers?Urgent care centers are different than emergency rooms. We offer the same services as these centers, with the added benefit of our extensive pediatric training. More importantly, these centers do not know your child and their medical history the way we do. That's why we appreciate a call to our office before you visit an urgent care center; we will make every effort to have your child seen, or provide appropriate home care advice to save you time and money. By calling us first, we can help you decide if an urgent care visit is necessary and provide referral information to your insurance provider if needed. Without that conversation, we are unfortunately unable to complete referrals.
About Your Baby
Will you see my baby in the hospital? What can I expect after delivery?No matter where you deliver, your baby will be seen daily and cared for by the pediatric hospitalist team at that hospital. When you are admitted for the delivery of your baby, you will be asked who your baby's pediatrician will be. Let them know that you have chosen Commonwealth Pediatrics, and they will contact us about your baby's birth. (Congratulations!) After delivery, the nurses will give a Vitamin K injection (to decrease the risk of bleeding) and an antibiotic ointment (to decrease the risk of eye infection). Before discharge, the baby will be screened for heart disease, jaundice, and hearing loss and receive a Hepatitis B vaccination as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When should my baby's first office visit be?The doctor that cared for your baby in the hospital will tell you when they feel your baby should be seen next. This usually happens 2-3 days after going home, to make sure your baby is feeding well and that they have not become jaundiced or lost too much weight. We always have room in our schedules to see newborns, seven days a week. We do recommend that you book this appointment before leaving the hospital--please call us at (781) 451-0072.
What are your views on breastfeeding?We encourage breastfeeding and work closely with lactation specialists to support our families who choose to do so. However, we strongly support a family's right to choose the manner in which they feed their baby. If you are interested in learning more about breastfeeding, we recommend you visit a lactation specialist prior to delivery or speak with them during your hospital stay. We would also be happy to recommend lactation specialists to you.
What are your views on circumcision?In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their policy statement regarding circumcision. There are health benefits to circumcision that outweigh the risk of the procedure. However, the benefits are not large enough to recommend the procedure for all newborn boys. That's why we support a family's right to choose whether or not to circumcise their baby boy. If you do choose circumcision, please let your obstetrician know; circumcisions are performed in the hospital by your obstetrician before you bring your baby home.
About Your Visit
Why does my child need a well visit?A well visit is more than a weight check, a sports physical, or a time for shots. It's also an opportunity to ask questions about your child's growth, development, behavior, and general health. During the school years, it is common for us to answer questions about how your child eats, sleeps, learns, and gets along with others. With our older patients, we help foster teens' independence by asking about their health care concerns in a private, safe space. We check up on chronic health issues like asthma and ADHD at well visits too, so you don't have to make an extra trip to our office. Most importantly, a well visit is our chance to learn more about you, your family, and your values. This knowledge helps us all achieve your health care goals as a team.
When does my child need a well visit?At Commonwealth Pediatrics, we follow the standard well visit schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We see children at the following ages: 2-5 days, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, 2.5 years, and once every year thereafter through the age of 21. Well visits typically require no copayment. Check with your insurance provider to find out whether well visits are covered once per calendar year, or once every 365 days.
When does my child need shots?Thanks for asking! Immunizations may be the single most important thing we do to protect your child's health. At Commonwealth Pediatrics, we believe in the importance of vaccines, both for your individual child and for the community as a whole. That's why we follow the standard immunization schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and use combination vaccines to decrease the total number of shots needed to achieve full immunization. We are so confident in the safety of this, that we followed these same guidelines on our own children. We do not recommend alternate vaccine schedules for patients, as they are not proven to be safer or more effective. However,we know that many people have questions about vaccines, and we are always happy to discuss your concerns in a respectful and honest manner. Together we will find common ground and a plan for working together. On behalf of all our patients, we must ask you to find a different pediatric office if you choose not to vaccinate your child at all. Please visit our Resources section to find Internet sites we trust to give factual information about vaccines, and feel free to ask whether your child is due for any shots when you book any appointment.
What if the doctor is running late for my child's visit?At Commonwealth Pediatrics, we make every effort to stay on schedule. We respect that your time is valuable. Sometimes, our patients arrive very ill or with unexpected concerns that require more time. We ask for your patience and understanding if this occurs. We will always give each patient the time and attention they deserve. We will keep you informed while you are waiting, and offer you the chance to reschedule your appointment if you so choose.
What if I'm running late for my child's visit?We have children too--we know it's sometimes hard to get out the door! We do ask that you try your best to be on time for your appointment. We recommend arriving 10 to 15 minutes early, especially for all new patient visits and well child checkups. We appreciate 24 hours notice for cancellation of an office visit. However, please call if you realize you won't be able to arrive on time. We may be able to accommodate you later in the day, so you can catch your breath and drive here safely. If you do arrive more than 10 minutes late to an appointment, and we are unable to fit your child into the schedule, we will ask that you reschedule. However, if appointments are repeatedly missed, we reserve the right to ask you to seek medical care elsewhere.