Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

Q: I just received a serious diagnosis/illness. What do I do? What are my options? How much is this going to cost?


A: These are typical questions. We are here to help you. You can contact us at our phone # listed, however the most efficient way for us to help you is by asking your doctor for a copy of your diagnosis and all the medical records associated with your case. You can e-mail or fax this info to us with a summary of how you were diagnosed, dates and any treatments you may have been on (in your own words is fine, it gives us a background of your case). We will then have it reviewed by specialists through our network of providers. It only takes 1-2 days to get an opinion. Once they review, we will have treatment recommendation and option(s) together with costs. We work rather quickly so the quicker you get us your medical records, the quicker we can assist you. Please note that without medical records, we will still speak to you but cannot guide you much onto next steps. When you call us, we will advise this first, to get a copy of your medical records.




Q: How quickly can I expect to have an appointment for a service?


A: We work quickly with every appointment, however it really depends on the complexity of your case and the service needed. We are known to confirm appointment(s) as soon as same day, however this would be for a diagnostics test or a consultation, however if your case is a rare case or very complex case, then it may take more time but usually we would work for the same week. The key to expediting your appointment(s) is that you send us a copy of your medical records. Why? because this avoids a waste of time by us expediting your appointment and when you get here, if you don't have records, your appointment will not be as effective, meaning if a test is missing or a report is missing, you may need to get it done again which means more $ and delays in getting a proper recommendation by specialist.




Q: Why do I have to fill out the registration and sign the consent form?


A: Here in the U.S., we have to abide by HIPAAA law which is to protect patients and their confidential information. Without this form, we cannot assist you.




Q: I am a caretaker, family and my mom/dad has been diagnosed. We want to come to U.S. for treatment but do not know where to start or even if we need to leave our country for treatment of this diagnosis?


A: Whether you are the patient or you are caring for family and parents who is faced with a serious diagnosis or condition, navigating the complex U.S. healthcare environment can be challenging. We take on the burden of these challenges to deliver the resources and access you need when you need them. However, even before providing you with options here in the U.S., we would assess which specialist(s) and/or treatment(s) is available in your country. We always provide you with options at home first and then also options here in the U.S. Based on our experience and knowledge of what's available in your country, we can guide you. If you do not have a particular service/treatment optimally available, then we provide you with our services here which are:

  • Serve as your personal health advocate
  • Access to have your case reviewed by specialists to guide you. Specialist Second Opinion: we have standing relationships with specialists, which enables us to connect individuals with quality treatment options for a specific medical need.
  • Organize and expedite your appointment(s).
  • Access to great discounts to cost for service(s) and treatment(s).
  • Medical Record Management: As appropriate and with patient consent, we will gather, organize, and transfer relevant medical records in advance of an expedited appointment.
  • Access to all your medical records.
  • We communicate with your medical team(s), home country and abroad, have them kept abreast of your case.
  • We assist patients with understanding their medical options, their bills and their care.
  • We liaise with your insurance company, when permitted, to access authorization(s), coverage details.
  • We attend appointments and follow-up with patient, a patient navigator, when needed.
  • Provide assistance with travel coordination from hotel discounts, transportation, etc.
  • Provide solutions to healthcare challenges.
  • Provide health and wellness service options.




Q: I feel very confused. I have seen 3 specialists and they all recommend a different treatment. What should I do?


A: This is a very common question. We suggest following up with all specialists and asking what other option(s) besides the one they have provided you with are available for your particular case. Tell them to think outside the local area in which you are in, what would be all options for your case. Many times, they may not offer you a treatment option simply because it's not available in your country. Another reason could be that you are seeing a specialist who knows her/his particular area of expertise, however the doctor should also share with you if there are other options outside her/his specialty which you should consider consulting with for treatment option(s). Also, ask what do the studies say are the outcomes of the particular treatment they are recommending, what are the side effects and the risks associated with their recommendation? Statistics of success? We would even ask for those studies/journals and you ready them for yourself and educate yourself. Lastly, we suggest getting 2nd, 3rd or even 4th opinions and then make a more informed decision.




Q: My doctor is hesitant in providing me with a copy of my own medical records. What should I do?


A: Unfortunately, we have encountered this far too often. In the U.S., it is a legal patient right to have a copy of your medical records, however we cannot say this for the rest of the world. So, I would be persistent as a patient and kindly ask your doctor's practice to provide you with a copy of all records because you are being diligent and organizing a file with your case. If need be, it is only right to also have your family/caretaker involved to keep your medical file organized. You are entitled to receive a second, third or fourth opinion. If need be, ask that you pay for a copy of the medical records and get it expedited and pick it up when ready. Same goes for a copy of images/a CD with diagnostics you may need to ask for at a hospital. In the U.S., it is our right, however we also pay a nominal fee per page per copy and the usual turn-around time here to have a copy ready to be picked up or e-mail to us is about 1-4 business days. We also ask that when you go to a specialist and bring a copy of your records, do not leave your only copy with them. Show them your records and ask them to make a copy for their records. You always keep your own copy.




Q: Do any of your providers accept my local insurance?


A: It depends. If you send us a copy of your insurance card, front and back, with your medical record, we can certainly look into the coverage you may have while here. You can also contact your insurance and ask them what are the requirements to cover your service. At times, if the service/treatment is not available in your home country, they cover, depending on your policy. You can always confirm with them directly and they will let you know the details. Many times, we have seen patients pay for service here and bring a reimbursement form, which our provider will fill out, and then you can go back to your insurer and get reimbursed for that service/treatment, however we ask that you confirm this information with your insurance company and we recommend that they also confirm this in writing to you, unless your policy dictates this reimbursement.




Q: Most of your institutions seem to be outpatient centers, meaning not in a big hospital, why?


A: Yes absolutely! we try our very best to keep you outside of a hospital for services which can be accessed through an outpatient center, because their costs are usually exuberant. Here in the U.S., hospitals get the right to charge patients up to 10X more than an outpatient center simply because they have a big overhead (costs to maintain the hospital) thus they pass those exuberant costs onto the patient and are justified to charge so. For example, a simple diagnostic test can cost up to 10X less in an outpatient center vs. a hospital and the quality are at par and at times, superior to a hospital but yet and still they are justified in charging so much more. Same goes for any other treatment. Many patients do not know this information and get caught paying exuberant amounts for routine services.




Q: Should I book my travel and then contact you?


A: No, unless it's an emergency and at that point, we advise you call 911 (or your nearest hospital/ambulance) in your own home country and get stabilized before traveling. If it is not an emergency, we advise you get your medical records together and send to us asap. You can contact us immediately and advise us of your case with the records and we can act quickly to advise you on next steps. Then you can book travel more efficiently, not wasting time and resources, by contacting us first before making travel arrangements.




Q: Do we pay H.O.P.E. for the services we receive? Who do we pay for services?


A: Patient is responsible for making payments for all tests and services directly to each provider(s) where the patient/client is being seen. We are not held responsible for collecting anything. We provide the client with an estimate or cost, which we receive from the provider, however the provider collects the funds from the client. We do not handle any funds. If for any reason, the patient has left the provider without paying, it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure payment is made immediately. If you do not make payment, bills will be sent to you directly, depending on the hospital/doctor procedures on how long this may take. Patient makes those payments directly to the provider/facility as indicated on the relevant invoice. If you for any reason end up in an emergency situation and check into a hospital, it is a separate charge from any provider we work with and you will deal with the hospital directly. Their charges are exuberant and if you have no insurance, they usually will stabilize a patient and still ask for your insurance or a deposit to continue any treatment or service. We have absolutely nothing to do with hospital institutions and how they charge or their costs. We can try to assist with your case regardless in advocating for you, however it is up to total discretion of hospital on what their charges are. Form of Payment accepted at our network of provider’s office is USD currency, cash or credit card. If using a credit card, it is your responsibility to call your bank and advise them of your travel in advance and advise them of the $ quantities (even if estimates) to be paid out to providers here in the U.S. We advise that you carry if possible more than 1 credit card in order to have a back up when making payment to our network of provider(s).




Q: What happens if I as a patient do not want to go to your providers and instead a big institution such as a hospital in S. FL or NY, can H.O.P.E. still help?


A: Yes absolutely. We will always offer you the providers we work with simply because it's where we would go should we need a particular service; the doctors and specialists we work with are solid, well-trained and specialist in their respective field; their work speaks for itself; their technology; beautiful centers; their customer service by their wonderful staff - all were hand-picked for us to work with. They understand our patient's needs for excellent customer service, expedited service and they understand our urgency in access to care and finally their costs are competitive and have been set for our patients to be able to afford. For all these reasons, we work with our providers. However, if a patient has a specific request to go elsewhere, we will certainly still assist with concierge service but at that point, cannot guarantee all we have to offer. We can navigate the system for you as well and get you in, however the guarantee of us getting you the expedited concierge service is limited and the costs are usually set. We will negotiate as much as possible, however they are very little flexible.




Q: Does H.O.P.E. charge for its concierge services?


Liz believes in helping people in their tough times and for years, we did not charge. However, we now have a staple charge. We are mindful of charges; our discounted charge for concierge coordination services is $385USD. This charge covers from the moment we are engaged until the client has a confirmed itinerary of appointments. Average case takes from 1-10+ hours, especially when we decide to accompany patient, which we determine when necessary. We start working on your case as soon as registration, consent forms are filled out and payment sent. The payment options are either credit card, Paypal or wire transfer, no payment plans. H.O.P.E. is a not a charity/NGO organization nor a non-profit company. We have other avenues to maintain our business. Please note that we do not charge NGO/Foundation referred patients. Their fee will be waived always, please let us know which foundation or support organization referred you.




Q: Is H.O.P.E. a charity organization? What happens if I have a patient who simply cannot afford to pay for services, can you still help us?


A: H.O.P.E. is not a foundation, not an NGO, not a charity organization, however we have collaborations with many organizations and depending on the case we are dealing with, there may be option(s) to seek assistance through these collaborations. Please don't let limited finances/resources prevent you from seeking our assistance. We have been able to help others through various cases. We can't promise to do so in every case, however we will try our best! Eventually H.O.P.E.'s goal is to be able to directly assist those who cannot afford service/treatment. We are not there yet but we are working towards that goal!




Q: Does H.O.P.E. get compensated by the providers they work with?


A: Most of them no - all are selected based on what specialty is needed. However we have a couple of providers in which we do international marketing consulting. We will never be biased by whom we work with to get the patient the service or treatment they need. We have hand-picked the providers for their quality of work, their training, their service, their team members/staff/personnel and we do not receive compensation thus we pick them based on quality. Again, if a patient has a preference for another center, we will honor this preference.





Preguntas

General

What is Squirrel Comedy Theatre?


Squirrel Comedy Theatre is a non-profit comedy theatre that teaches online comedy classes in Improv, Sketch and Characters. We host shows online for the time being, until live comedy is permitted again in NYC.




Do you have a physical theatre space?


Not at the moment. Our goal is to fundraise enough to open a physical space when we return to some sort of normalcy but for the time being, we exist solely online. If you would like to donate to our fundraising efforts, please check out our donation slide or contact us at thesquirrelnyc@gmail.com




Who is behind this?


Squirrel Comedy Theatre was founded by Lou Gonzalez, Michael Hartney, Patrick Keene, Maritza Montañez, Alex Song-Xia and Corin Wells with the help of Samantha Horowitz and Alma Rosa Montañez.




Where do you stream your shows?


You can watch our shows on our Youtube channel every Wednesday and Thursday! If you're interested in performing, shoot us an email at thesquirrelnyc@gmail.com




Why Squirrel?


If you know, you know. Xenu be with you.





Classes

How do you teach your classes?


Our classes are taught via Zoom! You do not need a Zoom account to participate.




How much are classes?


Our class prices vary depending on the class being taught. You can see what we're offering in the classes section.




If I've taken comedy classes elsewhere, do I have to "start over" at The Squirrel?


No! We don't have traditional "levels;" you should choose a class that makes sense for your experience level. Check out the "Who is this class for?" section of each class description, and if it sounds like you, go for it!




If a class I want to take is sold out, can I be placed on a waitlist?


Sure! Email thesquirrelnyc@gmail.com with the subject "WAITLIST: [teacher last name] [class name] [start date];" i.e. "WAITLIST: Wells Creating Characters Jan 4th" and we'll let you know if something opens up.





Diversity & Inclusion

Do you have a Diversity and Inclusion initiative?


Our theatre was founded with the purposes of building a community where everyone is represented and given the opportunity to thrive. We offer scholarships for free classes for students whose background is underrepresented in comedy. Apply for a free class, or donate to the scholarship fund. Obviously free classes are not enough. We’ll be offering an array of initiatives to ensure we do whatever we can to empower marginalized talent, including offering Q&A’s with diverse creators in the entertainment industry, participating in regular teacher trainings, and offering pay-what-you-can-classes. We will be constantly examining and evaluating our efforts to evolve to fit the needs of the community




When will I find out if I've been placed into a class?


We only have so many scholarship slots for each class but once you apply, your application is active. It may take a bit of time for you to hear back from us but you WILL hear back from us and you will get put into a class.