Routine administrative matters:
Our office telephone, 860-236-3277, answers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have an electronic voice mail system to route your call appropriately. During our regular office hours, 9 am to 5 pm with occasional early closings, Judy will usually answer your call directly. If she is on the telephone with another caller or helping another patient in the office, our voice mail system will take your call rather than place you on hold. Please be assured that Judy will return your call as quickly as possible. If you will be going out, feel free to leave us your cell phone number.
After hours, routine messages for us may be left after you hear the tone at the conclusion of Judy's message. Such routine messages would include appointment confirmations and general administative issues. Please do not leave messages about urgent or emergency clinical problems on our general voice mail. I will not get them in a timely fashion. Instead follow the directions below under the heading Emergencies
We have a separate billing office and phone number. All billing questions should be directed to our billing number at 800-260-4118.
During regular office hours, please call and speak with Judy. She will discuss the nature of your child's problem with you and create a computer note for me to read. I handle all urgent and emergent calls as a priority considering first the nature of the emergency and second the order in which the call was received. I will answer all calls by the end of the evening, and I do try to answer most of them by the end of the afternoon.
To contact me directly during evening and weekends, call our office number 860-236-3277. At any time during Judy's announcement or after it, press the 2 (two) button. You will hear me state that you have reached my urgent message line. I will ask you to leave me a message with your name, a phone number where you may be reached, and the time you called. Please speak as clearly as you can as the combination of cell or cordless phones on your end as well as digital recordings on our end can sometimes make names and phone numbers unintelligible. After you leave your message and hang up, the system will page me. I will call you back as soon as possible. If I have not called back within 25 minutes, please call back and leave another message. Unfortunately, even state-of-the-art paging systems fail due to electronic interference and "dead zones" around the city.
When I am out of town or if I will be at a site which is definitely out of range, I will sign out. When you press 2 (two) to reach my urgent message line, I will inform you that I am out of beeper range and unavailable and when I will be back. During this message, I will encourage you to contact your pediatrician as he or she has my treatment plans on file and is familiar with our treatment goals. If your child has a surgical emergency, that is a problem related to his or her surgery, I will ask you to press the 3 button (3). When you do, you will hear a message from me providing you with the phone number of the ENT surgeon who is covering my practice for surgical emergencies only. This individual should not be called for ENT medical issues which your pediatrician can better handle. If you stay on the line after the announcement, our phone system will connect you directly to the office of the on-call surgeon.
We use email communications in our practice for non-urgent issues. I use email to send visit chart notes, notes regarding telepone calls, prescription drug information, and test result verifications to parents.
You are invited to send emails with questions to me, but they should not be related to urgent or emergent clinical issues. Both I and Judy have our own email addresses at the office domain. Again, these e-mail addresses should be used only for non-urgent communications. Any communication regarding a current clinical problem should be made by phone to our office.
Email to Dr. Howard Smith:
Email to Judy: firstname.lastname@example.org