Fidelis Care Access and Availability Standards

All primary care providers are required to maintain 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone access for their members.

Under the New York State Medicaid Managed Care Contract, a primary care provider must practice a minimum of 16 hours a week at each primary care site. All Fidelis Care providers must have an appointment system that meets the following standards for appointment availability for primary care services:

Situation  Timeframe
Emergency care 
Immediately upon presentation at a service delivery site
Urgent care
Within 24 hours
Non-urgent sick visits
Within 48-72 hours as clinically indicated
Routine, non-urgent, or preventive appointments
Within 4 weeks
Specialist referrals (non-urgent)
Within 4 weeks
Well child care
Within 4 weeks
Initial prenatal visit
Within 2 weeks for the initial visit, every 2 weeks during the second trimester, and every week thereafter
Initial PCP office visit for newborns 
Within 2 weeks of hospital discharge
Non-life threatening emergency mental health or substance abuse visit
Emergency appointment within 6 hours
Urgent mental health or substance abuse visit
Within 48 hours
In-plan mental health or substance abuse, initial routine
Within 10 business days
Follow-up visit mental health or substance abuse visit, routine
Within 30 days
Follow-up visits (pursuant to an emergency or hospital discharge)
Within 1 week 
Adult baseline and routine physicals
Within 12 weeks from enrollment (adults > 21 years)
Non-urgent mental or substance abuse visits with a PCP
Within 2 weeks 


The standard for returning a member call is 30 minutes. It is not acceptable to have an answering machine in place that does not connect directly to the provider. The message must direct the member to a live voice. The primary care provider is responsible for arranging on-call and after-hours coverage to ensure 24-hour telephone access to all members.

Members with appointments should not be made to wait longer than 30 minutes. Walk-in members with urgent needs should be seen within one hour, and walk-in members with non-urgent needs should be seen within two hours, or scheduled for an appointment consistent with the above scheduling guidelines.

Fidelis Care is required to conduct 24-Hour Access and Appointment Availability studies of our providers annually (Semi-annual in New York City) and submit the results to the New York State Department of Health and each Local Department of Social Services (LDSS). In addition, the New York State Department of Health conducts their own survey.

For additional information please refer to Section Four- Primary Care Services of the Fidelis Care Provider Manual.