The South Carolina Heart Valve Center

Second Opinion Program

Dr. CrawfordDo your homework after the tests.  If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, it is important to consider every alternative. That’s why MUSC offers a Heart Surgery Second Opinion Program – an opportunity for you to review all of your options with our team of specialists known across the country for changing what’s possible in heart surgery.

Our Heart Surgery Second Opinion Program provides for the quick coordination of appointments with physicians and follow-up care based on your specific needs. Our physicians will spend the time to help you understand your options and to customize a care plan specifically for you. A second opinion can ease your mind, possibly prevent an unnecessary procedure, or provide you with an alternative option to consider. As an academic medical center, MUSC participates in many national clinical trials, offering the newest therapies and translating basic research into applications that immediately benefit patients. In fact, there are many procedures and treatments that are only available here at MUSC - and nowhere else in South Carolina.

How to Request a Second Opinion Appointment

To make an appointment or for more information about the Heart Second Opinion Program, call 843-792-1616  or request an appointment online. If you call after hours or on the weekend, a member of our care team will call you back within one business day.  Please provide as much information as you can about your diagnosis, previous diagnostic testing and treatment. We will schedule an appointment for you with the specialist who can best address your condition. In most cases, we can schedule your second opinion appointment within three to five days of your initial call.

Do You Need a Heart Surgery Second Opinion?

Some patients have already had heart surgery and are now experiencing new symptoms. Others have been told they need major surgery, but want to know whether more minimally invasive treatments or procedures could be considered instead. Others want to know if their medication regimen is still the best treatment for them, or whether surgery is an option. We also see patients who don’t feel connected with their physician, or patients who want to explore every option and seek the latest advancements in surgical and medical treatment. These are all legitimate reasons to seek a second opinion.

By definition, you must first see a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon to receive a second opinion. If you don't currently have a cardiologist, we can schedule an appointment for you with one of our top-rated heart specialists.

Will Insurance Pay for a Second Opinion?

Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, pay for second opinions. Exactly what your insurance company pays depends on your particular plan. Check with your carrier before you have the second opinion to determine if you will have any out-of-pocket expenses.

If your insurance plan will not cover a second opinion appointment or necessary tests, you may obtain estimated costs of a second opinion by calling MUSC Hospital Patient Accounting at 843-792-2311 or 1-888-897-0890.

Questions to Ask Your Insurer:

  • Can I seek a second opinion without anyone's permission? If not, whose permission do I need?
  • What expenses associated with a second opinion will my health care plan pay for?
  • What expenses associated with a second opinion will my health care plan NOT pay for?
  • If I need my primary care doctor's permission to get a second opinion and she or he refuses, how can I appeal?

Will You Require Repeated Tests?

Typically, we'll ask for copies of your previous tests, including films/tapes and reports. After consulting with you, our physicians may decide to order new tests or repeat some tests, depending on your individual condition.

If You Have Concerns Telling Your Doctor You Want a Second Opinion

Some patients may find it tough to tell their doctor that they want a second opinion. They may worry that it will offend their physician, but patients should understand that getting a second opinion is not an indication that you distrust your doctor. He or she will understand that you need to be absolutely sure you're getting the most effective treatment possible. If you're still uncomfortable asking your physician for a second opinion, MUSC can fax you a release of information form, which you can sign and return via fax. Our team will follow up to make sure that information from your physician is here in time for your appointment.

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