Office Policies

Eye Emergencies

At GEM Clinic, we will endeavour to manage your urgent needs. Unfortunately, we are not available outside office hours, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5. If you have had recent eye laser or surgery and are experiencing problems such as increasing eye pain or a sudden decrease in your vision, call the office during office hours, or if it is after hours or the weekend, call the Misericordia Health Centre switchboard at 204-774-6581 and ask to speak to the on call Ophthalmologist. For non-surgical eye issues, call the office first, or visit your local emergency department.

Cancelling or rescheduling appointments

If you are unable to keep an appointment due to a conflict, please call the office at least 2 business days prior to the scheduled appointment to cancel. We will try our best to give you a prompt rescheduled time, however we cannot guarantee this because we have many bookings and book far in advance. For rescheduling purposes, it may be necessary to book your appointment with a different doctor than the one you were referred to. Please note that the fee, for missed appointments or appointments cancelled with less than 2 business days notice, is $50 (barring exceptional circumstances and emergencies).

If you are scheduled for surgery and you are unable to attend for whatever reason (barring exceptional circumstances and emergencies), you will need to cancel at least 1 week in advance. There is a $250 surgery cancellation charge if adequate notice is not given. Please understand that like yourself, there are a lot of patients waiting for surgery who could replace a cancellation. Without adequate notice, this time and opportunity becomes wasted. The cost of running the operating room has been estimated at approximately $100 per minute, therefore, given that eye surgeries are generally scheduled for a 30-60 minute time slot, a $250 fine is much lower than the money lost because of an untimely cancellation. In general, we strongly advise you NOT to cancel your surgery at the last minute. If the cancellation of surgery is done on our end, due to medical issues that have not been adequately treated for, or lack of preoperative information or other factors outside our control, you will not be fined.

Due to eye emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances, the office may occasionally need to reschedule your appointment or surgery. In this case, we will endeavour to give you adequate notice, and a prompt rescheduled time. Some vision-threatening eye problems are extremely time sensitive, and we need to prioritize them, therefore, we thank you for your patience and understanding in this regard.

Prescription refills

Please remind your doctor to refill your prescription at your scheduled appointment. If you need refills in between appointments, ask your pharmacist to fax a prescription renewal to our office (fax: 204-992-4006). Turnover time for faxed prescription renewal requests can vary from same day response, to 10 days, for various reasons. For example, if your request for renewal is made while your doctor is out of town, the prescription will not be renewed until the doctor returns, unless your pharmacist is willing to dispense at least one bottle to keep you going in the meantime. It is always best to make sure you do not wait until the last minute to renew your prescriptions, in case there is some delay in filling it.

Phone messages

Our office assistants are able to take calls between 9:00AM and 11:00AM and 1:00PM until 4:00PM, with a break for lunch from 11:30am until 12:30PM. They will be able to help you with scheduling and basic issues. If you have any medical questions, they will discuss your questions with your doctor and phone you back with a response as soon as they can. As the doctors are working steadily throughout the day, it is not possible for them to take direct calls from patients or discuss phone messages until the end of the clinic day (which can sometimes be early evening). Since phone messages are discussed with the doctors after the clinic is over, you may not get a call back until the next day. If you have an urgent concern, however, this will be related to the doctor right away with an immediate call back. Please note that persons other than the patient, designated representative family members or power of attorney (POA) will not be given information over the phone or in writing about a patient without written and signed consent from the patient in question.

Cell phones

Cell phones are not allowed in the clinic and testing area. They cause interference with testing and are very bothersome and distracting to other clinic patients and staff. When you enter GEM Clinic, please turn off your phone. If you need to contact someone at the end of your appointment, you can use our courtesy phone at reception. If you choose to take a cell phone call during your visit with the doctor, (s)he may choose to see another patient instead, or reschedule your appointment. This would be a wasted visit for you, therefore, we strongly encourage you to comply with this request. No Audio or Video recording is permitted at GEM Clinic.

Patient Confidentiality

In accordance with the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), we are unable to release any medical information to a third party without written and signed consent from the patient. An exception to this rule would be if information were being requested from the POA or other doctors involved in the care of the patient in question. Record keeping at GEM Clinic is done using electronic medical records (EMR). Staff at GEM Clinic strives to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of our patients’ information on a daily basis by avoiding any open charts or access to other patients' files.

Office cleanliness

At GEM Clinic, we strive hard to maintain a comfortable and clean office environment for our patients and their family or friends. We feel that this is an important part of running an efficient, effective and health promoting facility. We respectfully request patients and their escorts to help maintain this cleanliness, by throwing garbage into the bins provided and keeping the bathroom tidy. We also request patients and their escorts who enter the testing and examination area of the clinic, to cover their outdoor shoes with the booties provided, during the winter in order to keep the floors clean. Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Lost or stolen articles

We cannot be held responsible for any items that are lost or stolen while attending GEM Clinic. If we find any lost or unclaimed items, we will do our best to return them to their owners.

Smoking

Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the entire clinic and mall area.

Chemical Sensitivities

In order to respect persons with chemical sensitivities, we ask that our patients and their escorts avoid wearing strong perfumes and colognes.

Abuse of staff

At GEM Clinic, our entire team of managers, assistants, technicians and doctors are striving to serve our patients to the best of our abilities with the latest equipment, up to date training, and a comfortable office environment. We hope that you and your escorts will return us the same courtesy. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT TOLERATE ABUSE OF ANY KIND FROM PATIENTS OR THEIR ESCORTS, EITHER IN PERSON OR OVER THE PHONE AND RESERVE THE RIGHT TO DISCHARGE ABUSIVE PATIENTS OR PATIENTS WITH ABUSIVE COMPANIONS OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVES. If a patient or his/her escort creates a disturbance that we feel jeopardizes the safety of staff or other patients, we will not hesitate ask such persons to remove themselves from the premises, or to contact the police as necessary.

Complaint process

At GEM CLINIC, our entire team endeavours to serve our patients with compassion and diligence. We do recognize, however, that despite our best efforts, there are some people that may not be happy with the care they receive at GEM CLINIC and may wish to submit a complaint. We respectfully ask that if you have a complaint, that you put it in writing and address it to our GEM Clinic Manager. Please note, that we only review complaints directly from our patients, and do not address those from the friends or family members of patients unless the letter has been approved by the patient, as evidenced by the patient’s signature on the letter. You can mail, fax or email your letter to our office. Our Manager will review your complaint, discuss it with our staff, and issue a response to you. If this is not satisfactory, and you wish to be transferred to another doctor, we can certainly facilitate that request. Sometimes, a complaint leads to break down of the doctor-patient relationship. If this happens, a transfer of care may have to be arranged. If you remain unsatisfied for whatever reason, and wish to take your complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, or the Manitoba Association of Optometrists, that is certainly your right. However, we would respectfully request that you first address your concerns to us, so that we can endeavour to remedy the situation directly.

Transfer of care

The doctor-patient relationship is a very important one that requires respect, trust and cooperation. A healthy doctor-patient relationship can definitely promote good physical health and healing. Occasionally, this relationship breaks down, for various reasons, and has to come to an end. This is an unfortunate, but sometimes a necessary event if this important relationship suffers. Your doctor at GEM Clinic will either write to the original referring doctor, advising him/her that you will no longer be attending GEM Clinic, or will refer you directly to someone else, as appropriate or feasible. It is important to note that your eye care will continue to be managed, but with another specialist. The most recent and original visit notes along with pertinent test results will be sent out to your referring doctor, or the doctor who will be requested to take over your care. If you feel you want your entire chart forwarded, there is a fee of $50.

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