How Referrals Work at Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus

By: Alana Ridge

April 18, 2023

A doctor writes notes on a clipboard next to a patient in a gown.

Your provider wants to send you to a specialist. Now what? 

You are about to enter the referral process. A referral is your provider’s recommendation for you to see a specialist or receive specialized treatment. When it comes to referrals, the process can seem like the wild west for people not familiar with it. At Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus, we make the process simple for all our members. We know that access to specialists is a vital aspect of total health, and our goal is to break down those barriers to care at every level.  

Here is a step-by-step guide to how the referral process with your Hometown Health or Senior Care Plus provider works: 

1.   Your primary care provider (PCP) or urgent care provider will send a referral to the specialist’s office. A referral can also be sent from another specialist or after discharge from the hospital. This is usually done via email or fax.  

2.   As your referral is sent, now would be the ideal time to discuss with your provider’s office how the specialist will receive your medical records prior to your appointment. Your provider’s office will most likely send these records to the specialist for you, but it is always a good idea to double-check with them directly. 

At Renown, the referrals team will send the following items to your specialist’s office when available: 

  • ID
  • Insurance card
  • Most recent and relevant office notes to support the referral
  • The referral order
  • Any relevant labs or imaging pertaining to the referral
  • Demographics information 

3.   The specialist’s office will call you to schedule the appointment after they receive the referral. Each office processes the referrals they receive in a slightly different time frame, so if you have any questions about the status of your referral, it is best to call their office directly. At Renown, if you are enrolled in MyChart, you can access the phone number for your specialist as soon as the team processes the referral. Those not enrolled MyChart will receive a letter in the mail with scheduling information. 

4.   The specialist will start to develop a course of treatment. That may include procedures, diagnostic tests or medications. Some of these treatments may require prior authorization from your insurance plan, so don’t forget to discuss how and when your specialist will receive the authorizations before you begin your course of care to avoid any surprise bills. 

What can I expect if I have a Renown specialist? 

At Renown, we handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty so you don’t have to. After the referral is placed, it routes to Renown’s centralized referrals team and triaged to make sure you are scheduled with one of our providers with the right specialization for your specialty care needs. This team will also obtain the prior authorization you need and will you to a specialist that is in your network and based on you and/or your provider’s preference and continuity of care. The referrals team will attempt to find you a Renown provider first if you are not yet established elsewhere.  

For Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus members, prior authorization is not required for certain services if you are being referred to a Renown provider. This makes the scheduling process go quicker for both the provider and the patient.  

Our referrals team strives to keep their turnaround time for referrals within three business days, not including prior authorization wait times. If your referral is marked as ‘urgent,’ it will be reviewed within one business day so you are seen as soon as possible based on the needs of your medical condition, and you will receive a direct phone call with scheduling information.  

After prior authorization is obtained, the Renown scheduling team will call you through an automated phone system or via a message in MyChart with a direct link to schedule your appointment. To speak with a Renown scheduler or if you have any questions, please call 775-982-5000. 

What does prior authorization mean? 

Prior authorization isn’t as scary as it sounds! Essentially, prior authorization is your provider “going to bat” for you to receive this specialty level of care. Some medical services, including many specialists, are covered only if your ordering provider (usually your PCP) submits an authorization request to your insurance plan. They will include specific details about the type and duration of treatment they would like you to receive and any medical records that support your need for the specialist. 

After your insurer receives the request, a licensed medical professional will review the request, your records and your plan benefits. They will decide whether the specialty treatment is considered medically necessary based on recognized standards of care. 

Where can I go for more information? 

Your referrals and authorizations can be viewed in MyChart. To view them, navigate to Your Menu in the upper left corner of the page, scroll to the Insurance section and click on “Referrals.”  

The Renown referrals team is available to answer your questions and address any concerns. Give them a call at 775-982-2707 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Any questions you may have related to referrals and authorizations, including outside-of-Renown providers, can be directed to our expert Hometown Health or Senior Care Plus customer engagement representatives. 


Couple looking at MyChart on laptop


MyChart is a free, secure online patient portal that allows you to access your Renown Health medical record and manage your health care information.
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