McFarland Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can you explain what these tests are for?

Our laboratory comprises talented and competent receptionists, phlebotomists and technical staff.  But we are not physicians. The reason for ordering a test is best explained by your provider.

Do I need an appointment?

You will have a shorter wait if you make an appointment because the paperwork will be done ahead of time.  Walk-ins will be worked in around the scheduled appointments. 

Do I have to be fasting before I come to the lab?

Certain tests give the provider a clearer picture of your condition if the specimens are collected after you have been fasting for 10 – 12 hours. If you call us for this information and can tell us the name of the test(s) which has been ordered, we can tell you if the results are best on a fasting specimen. Your physician will instruct you about this before you come to the lab.  There may be circumstances dictating that a normally fasting test be performed on a non-fasting specimen.  Be sure to ask your provider if you have any doubt.

Should I tell the phlebotomist I might get light headed?

Yes. Your phlebotomist will draw your blood in a location that allows easy body repositioning in the event you begin to get light headed.  We want to provide the safest environment possible

Will this hurt?

There may be some slight discomfort. It helps if you hold still and follow the instructions of your phlebotomist.  You will be able to resume normal activity after your venipuncture.

Will I get a bruise?

Despite our best efforts you may get a bruise.  If you apply constant pressure to the draw site for up to five minutes this will definitely help. The skin will stop bleeding before the vein does, although it may appear to be done bleeding it may in fact not be. Our policy is to apply a bandage every time; we do this to help prevent bruising.

Can you just do a finger-stick to get the blood sample rather than poke me with a needle?

Certain laboratory tests can be run on blood collected from a finger stick, if the collection procedure is performed skillfully and the resulting specimen is adequate in volume and is not otherwise compromised during the collection procedure. However, in most cases a properly performed venipuncture (collection of a blood specimen by means of a needle inserted into a vein) will provide a better specimen, increasing the chance of accurate test results. And patients usually report that a venipuncture procedure is quicker and less painful than a finger stick.

Am I supposed to go back to my doctor after I leave the lab?

Your provider will give you instructions as to what to do after we have collected your specimen.  It’s always best to ask your provider about this before coming to the lab, so that there will be no misunderstanding.

Can you tell me the results of my tests?

Again, we are not doctors. We cannot interpret laboratory results because we do not understand, or even know, your specific circumstances. This is the job of your physician/provider.  He/she is in the best position to explain what your test results are and what they mean in light of your medical history.

Will my doctor call me with the results? When?

Providers have different policies on this.  The best answer is that if you haven’t heard anything from your provider within a reasonable period of time, phone to his/her office and ask about your test results.

When will my lab results be complete? When will I be notified of the results?

A healthcare provider prioritizes his/her work according to patient needs.  If you are ill, you may receive your results within the same hour.  If your tests are for a physical or other non-emergent situation, it may be a few days before you hear back from the office.

Can you give me a copy of my lab results?

Your healthcare provider will provide lab results to you.  This allows for you to ask questions and your provider or their nurse/assistant to consider your overall health picture when replying.  Laboratory staff is unable to share results with you since they are aware of only one component of your health history.  Your provider is the expert on the "big picture" of your health and therefore is in the best position to help you interpret lab and other test results.

How should I dispose of my insulin needles?

McFarland Clinic does not accept home medical waste for disposal. Call your local waste disposal facility or your garbage hauler to learn the local policy. 

In Marshalltown, you may utilize a thick detergent bottle with a screw top cap that can be tightly closed or a needle disposal container purchased form a pharmacy.  Avoid containers made of glass or aluminum.  Dispose your sharps directly into this puncture proof container.  Label the container “HOME SHARPS”.  When it is full, notify your garbage hauler that the container will be set alongside your regular garbage for the next pickup.  The local waste facility accepts delivery directly to the landfill office. There is no charge for this.

Who should I contact about billing and insurance questions?

Please contact Business Services with your questions.

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