Can I call for an appointment at the Salem Health Spine Center?
No. The Salem Health Spine Center service does not schedule any appointments. This service is available only with a referral from your primary care practitioner (PCP) or specialist you may be seeing. If you do not yet have a PCP, you can search our
provider directory to find one who fits your needs and is accepting new patients.
What is the length of time I can expect to wait to be contacted by the Salem Health Spine Center after I am referred?
Our goal is to reach out to you within seven business days of receiving your completed referral (imaging, chart notes).
What information is gathered during the phone intake?
Our intake coordinators will ask questions about basic demographic information, referring provider, PCP, insurance, health history, current symptoms, additional imaging and past treatments.
How does the Salem Health Spine Center receive my imaging?
The Salem Health Spine Center can request the images from your referring doctor or directly from the imaging center if possible. If needed, we will ask you to pick up your images on a CD and deliver/mail them to us.
Keep in mind, we can’t begin reviewing your medical history until we have all images available for the spine specialist to view.
Can I just bring my imaging in when I come in for my appointment?
No. The neurosurgeon at the Salem Health Spine Center needs to review your medical information and images ahead of time. By reviewing your images and history, we can give you the quickest and most appropriate care.
Will the Salem Health Spine Center address my employment status?
If you have not yet seen one of our neurosurgeons, you will need to contact your primary care provider regarding your work situation. If you are seen by one of our providers, they will address your work status during your appointment.
Will the Salem Health Spine Center address any of my medication issues?
You will need to contact your referring doctor or primary care provider regarding your medication issues. If the neurosurgeon recommends medications during the review, this recommendation will be sent to your referring provider for consideration.
Can the neurosurgeon evaluate my condition by reviewing my medical information without seeing me in the office?
Yes. They evaluate your condition based on your medical history, images and test results. This is often much faster than scheduling an office visit. The neurosurgeon then provides an initial impression and treatment plan.
The treatment plan may recommend you see a specific specialist (e.g., a physical therapist, interventional pain specialist or physiatrist), complete additional tests or an appointment in their office.
How long before I hear something back?
In most cases, the neurosurgeon reviews your information within a few business days of receiving your complete information (medical history, intake information, images, etc.). Once the specialist provides an impression and recommendation, the nurse navigator
will call you to advise you of the recommendation (typically within 2 weeks or less) and next steps.
Does anyone at Salem Health Spine Center see me in person?
No. We do not physically see patients in the Spine Center. The Salem Health Spine Center is a triage service that gathers the necessary information (history, interview, imaging, past treatments) for the neurosurgeon to review and make their medical recommendation.
If an appointment is recommended, the Salem Health Spine Center will facilitate scheduling with the specialist (physiatrist, interventional pain, neurosurgeon). You will see the specialist at their regular office.
If I need an appointment with the neurosurgeon, will I see the doctor in person?
Yes. We will facilitate scheduling the earliest appointment possible with the neurosurgeon. You may also see the neurosurgeon’s physician assistant (PA) if that is the recommendation. The PA works closely with the neurosurgeon in the office
along with assisting during surgery.
Will my insurance cover my visit?
The Salem Health Spine Center review process is a free service, which includes gathering your records and imaging, completing an intake interview and providing you with the neurosurgeon’s recommendation. All of this is done online and over the phone.
If an appointment is recommended, please contact your insurance company to verify your coverage and the level of benefits provided by your particular policy.
What is a spine specialist?
Spine specialists have the expertise and training to evaluate spine problems, identify pathological processes through history, examination, and studies, and advise treatment plans.
Different types of spine specialists have different areas of expertise based on their training. These include neurosurgeon spine specialists, physical medicine spine specialists, interventional medicine spine specialists, and physical therapists who focus
on spine care.
Other medical specialists help provide essential support, input, evaluation and treatment of spine center patients since other medical issues can complicate and aggravate spine problems, and other systemic medical problems can appear as spine problems.
What is a physiatrist?
A physiatrist, also called a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician, is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all types of physical disabilities. Physiatrists specialize in restoring optimal function
to people with injuries to the muscles, bones, tissues and nervous system. A physiatrist can also be dual-certified as an interventional pain specialist.
What is an interventional pain specialist?
An interventional pain specialist receives advanced training in interventional pain management. They assess your condition, discuss treatment options, and build a plan that is right for you. This may include, but is not limited
- Epidural injections. Done in all areas of the spine. The anesthetic and steroid medications are injected into the epidural space to relieve pain or diagnose a specific condition.
- Medial branch block or facet blocks. To reduce inflammation and pain.