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Getting Started

Your first visit to Rheumatology Specialty Center is the start of an important relationship with you, your new doctor and care team. Most patients who come to us have long-term illnesses, so we understand how important it is for you to get expert, compassionate care that looks at you as a whole person.

Our goal is focused on your best possible outcome and function. The first step in this process is a diagnosis. We will begin that process on your first visit by asking you many questions. Your doctor and nurse will ask you about your medical history—past symptoms, illnesses, injuries, surgeries and more—and will perform a physical examination, focusing on your muscles, bones, and joints.

You should ask questions too. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand, about your condition, about your treatment plan and more.

You may need more blood tests done or images taken to help us make an accurate diagnosis and find the right treatment plan for you. If you need blood tests or laboratory studies, or an x-ray or MRI, our nurses or front desk receptionists will be happy to help you find an appropriate facility. The doctor will then go over the test results with you during your next appointment or will contact you earlier if the results need immediate attention.

Prepare for your first visit

  1. Familiarize yourself with our policies
  2. Check if your health insurance covers the visit
  3. Download and complete our new patient forms
  4. Bring your health insurance and photo ID, copay and/or referral, if needed
  5. Bring any records of previous treatments for this condition, including lab results
  6. Prepare a list of your symptoms and medications, including vitamins and the dosage amounts

Your first visit will take approximately one hour. Bring your calendar to schedule your follow up visit, and paper and pen, in case you want to take notes.


Symptoms are things you feel in your body that are different than when you feel healthy. For example, you may feel pain, discomfort, tightness or swelling in joints. Be ready to answer these questions:

  • When did symptoms begin?
  • Where did you feel symptoms (pain, etc) in your body?
  • How long did symptoms last?
  • Were they triggered by something specific?

After your first visit

At the first visit, we usually schedule your second, follow-up visit. Between visits, please do the following:

  • Keep track of changes in symptoms or new symptoms
  • Write another list of questions for the doctor
  • Get done any tests or imaging studies the doctor or nurse prescribes

Contact us with any questions by phone or through our Patient Portal.

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