Cardiology Second Opinion Program
Phoenix Children’s Heart Center welcomes the opportunity to provide second opinions and collaborate with your child’s current health care providers. When your child is sick, finding the right path forward can feel overwhelming.
We’re here to help.
Second opinions are a critical component to making informed decisions about your child’s care. A second opinion from our team of pediatric heart care specialists will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your child’s health is in the hands of experts. Our team can:
- Confirm your child’s diagnosis
- Help you understand your child’s treatment options
- Review the treatment plan, giving you added confidence and peace of mind
FAQs about second opinions
Who can request a second opinion?
We welcome requests from anywhere in the country, or from around the world, regarding pediatric heart care or adult congenital heart disease care. This request can come from a parent, family member, patient, or a referring physician who can provide medical history on the patient.
When can I request a second opinion?
You may request a second opinion at any point in your care plan. Even if treatment has already started, a second opinion can help guide changes in care.
Do I need to have anything prepared before requesting a second opinion?
To begin the second opinion process, we only need the information listed in the request form. When we connect with you, we will ask for your insurance information for billing purposes. All health records will be obtained directly from your primary or referring care team. You will not be required to provide those documents.
Is there a charge for a second opinion?
The charge for a second opinion visit would be the same as an office visit with a cardiologist.
Will further testing be required for a second opinion?
Often, our team only needs access to past records, test results, and imaging. Our team will work with your current care team to acquire all the necessary information.
Sometimes we need updated tests or images. If we do require more tests or images to render our opinion, we will connect with you to discuss the next steps needed to coordinate these tests at your local hospital or to conduct these tests at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Will my primary cardiologist be offended if I’m requesting a second opinion?
Any quality care team would want their families to feel comfortable with the care decisions they are making. Doctors often will welcome and encourage their peers’ opinion about a case.
Ultimately, it is your right to understand the specifics of your child’s condition and your options for treatment and management. We hope a second opinion helps you feel more confident and empowered in your child’s care decisions.
If I am not from Arizona, how may I check to ensure any medical costs will be covered by my insurance?
You may contact your insurance company to confirm your plan’s coverage and obtain specific details pertaining to an out-of-state provider. We would also be happy to review your insurance information and check plan coverage when insurance information has been provided to us.
Questions to ask the medical professional(s) at your child’s heart center:
- How many procedures do you perform each year?
- How many times have you and your program performed this procedure or ones like it in the past year? Over the past 5 years?
- What is the survival rate for this type of procedure at the time of hospital discharge? After one year?
- How do your results compare to other centers’ results?
- What are the most likely complications or other issues that can go wrong with this procedure? How often do they happen within one year of this procedure?
- Do you share your results with national data programs to help improve care? Is this information available to the public?
- Do your surgeons have special training in congenital heart surgery? What other types of special training do your doctors and nurses have?
- How are family members included in the decision-making process? How will the care team give me information or reports before, during and after the procedure?
- How many days do you think my child will be in the hospital, both before and after the procedure?
If you have an infant, consider asking these questions, too.
- How do you work together with my baby’s doctor after birth and after the procedure?
- If my baby needs to stay in the hospital after delivery to prepare for a procedure, where will my baby be? What about after the procedure? Do you have a cardiac intensive care unit (CVICU) that cares mainly for children with heart defects?
- Will I get to hold my baby before or after the procedure?
- Will I be able to breastfeed my baby after delivery and again after the operation? Will my baby require a special diet? Should I expect my baby to take a bottle or breastfeed without any problems?
- What are the expected long-term results for this heart defect and its coinciding procedure? What is my child’s life expectancy or how long is my child expected to live? Are there possible lifelong problems I need to be aware of for my child?
- As my child gets older, does your medical care provide a plan for transitioning from pediatric care to adult care? Do you have an adult congenital heart team?