Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT THE PRACTICE
What are your office hours?
Regular office hours are 9AM-5PM, Monday through Thursday. We are closed from Noon-1PM for lunch. We offer walk-in visits for established patients from 8:00am-8:30AM on weekday mornings. Walk-in hours are for acute issues, and no appointment is necessary.
How many doctors are in the practice?
Dr. Rodbell started Sage Hill Pediatrics as a solo practice in 2008, and Alma Nakasone, CPNP, joined us in September 2016. We like to maintain a personal, small-office feel, and if you prefer to see a particular provider, we will try to honor your request.
Do you have separate waiting rooms for sick and well children?
No, we do not. Our approach to this issue is relatively simple. Whenever possible, we keep sick children and young infants out of the waiting room. We also encourage wearing a mask if you or your child are contagious, or worried about getting sick.
Do you offer same-day sick appointments?
For urgent matters, we can usually arrange for a same-day appointment, especially if you call early in the day. If our next opening is the following day, we will teach you how to care for your child at home until then. If the matter truly can’t wait, we will refer you to a qualified urgent care center or ER, and will communicate with them about what they find.
If I have an urgent concern after-hours, who do I call?
To be connected to the on-call provider, simply call the office, listen to the prompts, and select the option for after-hours care. Six days a week, Dr. Rodbell is on-call, and the phone system directs you to his pager. From Friday 5PM through Saturday 10PM, and periodically at other times, Alma Nakasone, CPNP, is on-call, and calls are directed to her cellphone. Dr. Rodbell and Alma always try to return calls as soon as possible.
How long have you been practicing?
Dr. Rodbell graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2003. He completed his Pediatrics Residency at the Brooklyn Infants’ and Children’s Hospital in 2006, and began the independent practice of Primary Care Pediatrics in 2006.
Alma Nakasone, CPNP completed her RN degree in 2007 and became certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 2008. She earned both degrees at the Nells Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University in Atlanta. Alma practiced Primary Care for eight years, including work at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, before joining Sage Hill Pediatrics in 2016.
Do you advocate breast-feeding?
Dr. Rodbell: Lactation support is one area in which we really excel. We approach lactation in a very wholesome manner, which allows us to identify problems and find real, workable solutions. We work as a team. Our dedicated nurse, Laura Balgari, RN, has a special and personal interest in promoting breastfeeding, and she spends a lot of quality time teaching, assessing, troubleshooting, and reinforcing the basics. However, our repertoire goes far beyond the basics, and we manage a broad spectrum of conditions related to breastfeeding. By way of example, I routinely see mothers as patients for gynecological issues related to nursing. I also perform Lip Tie Releases and Frenectomies (a Frenectomy is an advanced release for Posterior Tongue Tie that is significantly more effective than the traditional procedure).
Alma Nakasone: The atmosphere of this clinic is geared towards supporting moms on their journey. Breastfeeding is a very important part of that. As a breastfeeding mom, I have a newfound appreciation and understanding of the difficulties that arise. We want to work with families and encourage moms, all while being sensitive to the fact that there may be challenges that keep mom from being able to breastfeed.
What is your general approach to prescribing medicines?
Dr. Rodbell: As I often remark, “The best medicine is the one you don’t need to take.” This has two important ramifications: 1) We don’t prescribe if it’s not necessary, and 2) Sometimes medication is necessary to preserve health and well-being, and that’s when we prescribe. Alma and I will educate you when we feel a medicine is necessary, so you can understand why and feel confident in our decision.
Alma Nakasone: My beliefs mirror those of Dr. Rodbell. There are times when medication is necessary, and times when it is not. We listen to you, gather information, form our assessment, and use our knowledge of medicine to determine the best course of action. I find if important to help our patients understand why we come to our decisions, and for them to be active participants in the treatment plan.
What is your general approach to antibiotics?
Dr. Rodbell: This question, as well as the two above, require us to make a judgement call based on our knowledge of your child, our understanding of medicine, and our clinical experience. There are times when children really need antibiotics, and when we recommend an antibiotic- or any other course of action for that matter- we will educate you so you’ll understand why.
QUESTIONS ABOUT VACCINES
What is your general opinion on vaccines?
Dr. Rodbell: Over the 20th century, average life expectancy in the United States rose from 47-77 (National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51, No. 3, 12/19/2002). Routine vaccination is one of the major reasons for this change (in case you are curious, other notable factors are clean water, municipal waste removal, and sanitary sewers).
What vaccine schedule do you follow for your own children?
Dr. Rodbell: My wife and I have always followed the routine CDC vaccination schedule for all of our children. It’s proven effective and is continuously being re-evaluated for safety.
Alma Nakasone: My husband and I follow the routine CDC vaccination schedule for our son.
What about the supposed link between vaccines and autism?
Dr. Rodbell: Consider the following thread from HealthTap.com (where I write as a Featured Medical Expert):
Question: Are children who get the MMR vaccine at higher risk for autism?
My reply: “No, but children who don’t get MMR are at risk for Measles, Mumps, & Rubella. Parents in my practice attended the funeral of a 2 year-old boy who died from Measles. By contrast, of ~1700 teens affected by last summer’s mumps outbreak in NY, NONE appear to have been left sterile or infertile–protected because their parents gave them the MMR. My friends, the decision–and responsibility–is ours.”
Should I hold off on the vaccines that people are worried about?
If you make an honest assessment, you’ll realize this approach is short-sighted and potentially disastrous. Most families in my practice have never witnessed polio, measles, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, or bacterial meningitis. It’s easy—and only human—to begin to focus on purported side effects of vaccines rather than the primary effect. If enough people choose not to vaccinate, outbreaks will start again*. Do we have to learn the hard way?
I’m about to deliver my baby. When should I follow-up in the office with you?
Once you deliver, a doctor assigned by the hospital will recommend when you should make your first appointment. As a general rule, it is okay to come earlier than recommended, but you should not delay past the time-frame he or she suggests.
When are the routine well-child visits?
Newborn Initial Visit
Newborn Health Maintenance
3 Years – 21 Years Annually
What is the routine schedule for vaccination?
- Birth– Hepatitis B
- 6 Weeks– DTaP, Hib, Polio, Rotavirus
- 10 Weeks– Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal
- 4 Months -DTaP, Hib, Polio, Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal
- 6 Months– DTaP, Hib, Polio, Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal, Influenza
- 12 Months– Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella (Chickenpox)
- 15 Months– Hib, Pneumococcal
- 18 Months– DTaP, Hepatitis A
- 24 Months– Hepatitis A
- 4 Years– Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella (Chickenpox), Polio, DTaP
- 11-12 Years– TDaP, MCV (Meningococcal), HPV
- 16 Years– MCV (Meningococcal)
Many factors govern the timing and order in which vaccines are given. Your child’s vaccine schedule may be different from this “idealized” version. For more information, you can visit http://www.aap.org/immunization/families/faq.html.