Neurology of Central Georgia

175 Water Tower Court, Macon, GA 31210

478-471-6217

478-471-8663

Welcome To Our Office!

  • We offer the full breadth of neurological services, including Neurological Evaluations and Consultations, Independent Medical Examinations (IME), Records Review, Work Injury Evaluations, EMG/NCS, EEG interpretations, Cognitive Testing, and Autonomic Testing — all under one roof, in one convenient location, in North Macon.
  • We also offer the full range of treatment options for your neurological condition – including Therapeutic Botox and Infusion Therapy.
  • We also offer state of the art, “Hi-Tech” neurological treatment options, including Deep Brain Stimulation and Vagal Nerve Stimulation.
  • We are involved in clinical research trials. If you qualify for one of these trials, you may be eligible for research medications through our office.

  • Dr. Athni has multiple degrees in multiple disciplines.
  • Fully USA trained:  College –> Medical School –> Residency
  • Dr. Athni is Board Certified by the Am. Board of Neurology & Psychiatry.

  • If you are a new patient to our practice, please spend a few moments browsing the various pages published on this web site.
  • We would also encourage you to consider downloading a pre-registration packet, as well as reviewing our insurance and payment policy under the “Insurance Information” section.
  • If a service is not listed, please call our office and speak to our office manager

What is a Neurologist?

What type of training does a Neurologist have?

  • A Neurologist is a Medical Doctor, specialized in the study of the Nervous System.
  • The field of Neurology includes the study of diseases of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles.
  • After 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school, a Neurologist obtains specialty training in the field of “Neurology”. This includes 4 years of Neurology Residency, during which time the “Neurology skills” are fine tuned.

What disorders are treated by a Neurologist?

  • Some common “symptoms” evaluated by a Neurologist include: headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, weakness, sleep problems etc.
  • Some common disorders diagnosed and treated by a Neurologist include: Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Alzheimer’s, migraine headaches, “pinched nerve”, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, ALS, Myasthenia Gravis, Polymyositis, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Seizures.

How does a Neurologist evaluate a patient?

  • A Neurologist will obtain a detailed neurological history and a detailed neurological exam to better understand your condition.
  • The Neurological exam is probably very different from any previous medical exam you might have undertaken.
  • This evaluation process may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

What tests might be ordered by the Neurologist?

  • After the evaluation, some diagnostic tests may be ordered, such as : blood tests, MRI, CT scan, EMG-NCS, Sleep Studies, EEG, VNG, Ultrasounds, or Neuropsychology tests – to name a few.

How is a diagnosis made?

  • After reviewing the results of the diagnostic tests, in conjunction with the neurological evaluation, a diagnosis will be made, and a treatment plan will be recommended.
  • This evaluation process may take numerous visits, over a period of 4-8 weeks. Please do not expect a firm diagnosis on your first visit.

 

Our Neurologist – Dr. Athni

Current Practice:

  • Dr. Athni has been in Macon, Georgia since mid-1995. He is an independent physician and is not employed or managed by any outside agency or hospital.
  • He is heavily involved in teaching student-doctors and resident-doctors-in-training
  • Students and Residents rotate thru the office to learn one-on-one from Dr. Athni
  • Dr. Athni has written peer-reviewed journal articles, and has co-authored a chapter in an academic textbook
  • Aside from his clinical practice, he is the President of the Georgia Neurological Society

Board Certifications – Affiliations – Accreditation:

  • President of Georgia Neurological Society
  • Assistant Clinical Professor @  Medical College of GA
  • Board Certified by the American Board of Neurology & Psychiatry (ABPN)
  • *** Practice is limited to Neurology, and we do NOT provide Psychiatric services ***
  • Board Eligible in Electrodiagnostic Medicine and Sleep Medicine (ABSM)
  • Diagnostic Lab is Accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR)

Added Certifications:

  • Deep Brain Certification (DBS)
  • Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
  • Therapeutic Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox and Xeomin)

Education:

  • Dr. Athni grew up in New York, and received most of his post-high school education and medical training in Houston, Texas.
  • He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental and Civil Engineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
  • He then received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine, also in Houston, Texas, graduating with Honors.
  • This was followed by his Internal Medicine and Neurology Residency at Baylor College of Medicine.
  • While in Macon, Dr. Athni has also obtained his MBA (Masters of Business Administration) at Mercer University.

Work Summary:

  • After his formal education and training, Dr. Athni initially worked as an educator and instructor in Houston at Baylor College of Medicine medical school.
  • He then worked for an HMO in Dallas, Texas, before becoming the Medical Director for Neurology of Central Georgia in Macon, Georgia.

Hospital and University Affiliations:

  • Affiliated with the Coliseum Health System, with consulting privileges at Macon Northside Hospital
  • Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia

Publications:

Military Experience:

  • Captain in U.S. Air Force Reserves, Medical Corps – Honorable Discharge

Current Academic Position:

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Georgia Augusta University, Augusta, GA
  • Adjunct Clinical Instructor, Department of Family Medicine, Mercer University, Macon, GA

 

Our Office Staff

  • Our office staff is available to assist you with scheduling appointments, billing, and processing insurance claims. They can also answer all non-medical questions.
  • If you have any medical questions, they will take your message and a call-back phone number.
  • Dr. Athni, (or someone from the office) will return your call before the end of the business day.
  • If it is urgent, please inform us as such, and we will try to return your call as soon as possible.

Angela A. – Medical Assistant

  • Angela is an integral part of our team. She handles scheduling and all clinical matters.
  • She has developed a reputation for being courteous and prompt.
  • With her medical foundation and experience, she is able to assist with patient care.

Tracy R. and Lauren H. – Certified Infusion Nurses

  • Tracy and Lauren are our licensed registered nurses (RN) with special qualifications in Infusion Therapy
  • Proficient and nationally certified to infuse Tysabri, Ocrevus, Lemtrada, IVIG, and numerous other intravenous medications.
  • They have been with our team for numerous years

Ash. A. – Office Manager

  • Ash handles referral processing, insurance verification and claim issues, and all financial matters, including payment and collections issues.
  • If you have any questions regarding your account, Ash will gladly assist you.

Mike T. – Certified Ultrasonographer

  • Mike has been assisting us since 2006. He is a board certified Ultrasonographer, with over 15 years of professional experience.

Andre M. – EEG Tech

  • Andre joined our office in 2015. He has been performing EEG tests for over 20 years.
  • He is a member of the ASET (American Society of Electrodiagnostic Technologists).
  • He is very detail oriented and will make sure your EEG is done to the highest standards.

 

 

Our Facility

  • Our office is a “smoke-free” medical facility. Our new facility is specifically designed for our neurology patients.
  • Each room has “overhead music”, including the exam rooms. The bathrooms are “extra large” to accommodate wheelchairs, if necessary.
  • The hallways are “spacious” (6 feet wide) to handle wheelchairs and walkers.
  • The exam rooms are “sound proof” to provide for confidential discussions with the doctor.
  • We also offer Free Wifi HotSpot access, which you can use to browse the internet while waiting to be seen.
  • We are located one block east of Forsyth Road, near Macon Northside Hospital, just behind the “water tower”.

Illnesses We Treat

We will evaluate and treat the full range of Neurological diseases, including:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia (facial pain)
  • Dementia / memory problems
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Concussions, TBI and Closed Head Injuies
  • Plus many more …

In the process of making the above diagnoses, we will perform a variety of diagnostic tests.
Please take a look at our “Diagnostic Tests” page to read more about the various neurological tests
Also click on the “Educational” link to learn more about these diseases.

Information for New Patients

When should I come to the appointment?

  • We request ALL new patients to arrive at the office at least 1 hour BEFORE their scheduled appointment. After you fill out the required paperwork, the office staff needs to enter all the information into our computer system before you can be seen by the physician.
  • Arriving early will ensure that all paperwork and computer entry issues are completed before your scheduled appointment time. Otherwise, your consultation time will be delayed.

What paperwork will I have to fill out?

  • You will be asked to fill out a “Registration” form, and a “Medical History” form.
  • To minimize your office wait time, you may wish to download all the necessary registration forms, and bring the completed forms with you.

What should I bring to the office?

  • To make the registration process easier, please bring ALL your medications with you. Also, bring your insurance card and your drivers license for identification purposes. We will make copies of these cards.
  • If you have had any MRI scans, CT Scans, or any other X-rays which might be relevant to your condition, please bring the ACTUAL FILMS or CD of any imaging studies, paper copies of imaging reports, and paper copies of prior medical records with you on your visit (we will scan your medical records into our EMR system).
  • Please do NOT drop off the films at the office prior to your visit.

Identification and Insurance Cards

  • You must bring your current insurance card, as well as a valid government issued picture ID, such as your driver’s license, your passport, a state-issued-ID, etc.
  • Per federal insurance laws, we must verify the identification of the patient. We will make copies of the insurance card and your picture ID. Without proof of insurance coverage or valid picture ID, we will not be able to see you as a patient.

What notes do we need before your office visit?

  • You MUST make sure any and all relevant office notes from your primary care physician (PCP) are faxed or mailed to our office prior to your visit.
  • If you have previously seen a different Neurologist, we must be forwarded all those notes before an appointment can be made.

If you are a minor, or if you are a student…

  • If you are less than 18 years old or if you are still a student, you MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Who will be allowed into the exam room?

  • If you are an adult, then only the patient and immediate next of kin, will be allowed into the exam room (unless another family member is needed for medical reasons).
  • If you have small children, PLEASE make other arrangements for them, as they will NOT be allowed into the exam room.

What about my medications?

  • Please bring ALL you medications to the office. Depending on the situation, Dr. Athni may want to see the actual meds.

Who will be performing the Neurological Evaluation?

  • Our office does NOT use a “Physician Assistant” or a “Nurse Practitioners”.
  • Your visit will be a comprehensive one. Please do not expect Dr. Athni to just “read the old notes”. He will expect you to answer all questions in full detail.
  • The Neurological Evaluation is usually done in 3 parts:
    • (1) an initial evaluation and neuro exam will be performed by an upper level medical student or medical resident, followed by
    • (2) a prolonged private discussion (sometimes 45 min to hour) between Dr. Athni and the student / resident, followed by
    • (3) another detailed assessment by Dr. Athni
  • Due to this comprehensive process, be prepared to spend 2-3 hours in the office.
    • PLEASE NOTE: Although you will have filled out the registration forms, Dr. Athni will be re-asking many questions about your “past medical history” in great detail.

Scheduling Appointments

  • We are a “referral only” office.  We require a referral from your primary care physician.
  • As soon as our office receives your referral, we will first verify your insurance benefits to make sure we are part of your insurance network. (Please look at “Insurance Networks” on the web site to see our network affiliation.)
  • We request you forward a copy of your medical records prior to scheduling your initial appointment.  We will review your medical records before an appointment is given.  We reserve the right to NOT schedule an appointment – after reviewing your medical records, we may decide we will not be able to participate in your medical care.
  • Our office staff will then contact you directly to schedule the initial appointment.
  • We try to see patients within 2 weeks of receiving the referral, but sometimes new appointments can delayed upto 8-12 weeks.
  • We normally see new patients on Thursdays, all day.
  • If the appointment involves a Work-Comp issue, we must obtain a written approval from the WC adjuster prior to scheduling the appointment.
  • We request ALL new patients to arrive at the office at least 1 hour BEFORE their scheduled appointment.
  • This will ensure that all paperwork issues are completed before your scheduled appointment time. Otherwise, your consultation time will be delayed.
  • Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours in the office as we conduct a very detailed neurological evaluation, consisting of:
    • (1) an initial evaluation with an upper level medical student or medical resident, followed by
    • (2) a prolonged private discussion (sometimes 45 min to 1 hour) between Dr. Athni and the student / resident, followed by
    • (3) another detailed assessment by Dr. Athni.

 

Consent – Who Can Accompany Patient Into Exam Room

  • If you are being seen thru Worker’s Comp, we will only allow the patient in the exam room.  If a NCM or Adjustor wants to meet with Dr. Athni, they will need to schedule a separate appointment with the front office.
  • If you are an adult and are being seen thru your private insurance or Medicare or Tricare, we will allow your spouse into the exam room.
  • BUT, for anyone else, we will need a Medical Power-of-Attorney (Medical POA) or a Notorized letter stating the third-party is allowed to be involved in the patient’s care.  This would include friends or a parent of a patient or an adult child of a patient.
  • This is a standard practice in Psychiatric offices.  Although we are not treating Psychiatric illnesses, many of our patients have cognitive issues.  To make sure decisions are being made in the best interest of the patient, we require such a POA.  Even if you do not have any issues which involve your cognitive abilities, we have one policy for all patients.
  • We hope you understand the rationale for this policy.  We are merely trying to make sure unauthorized people (who may not have the patient’s best interest) are not involved in medical decisions.

Expected Payments

If you are a Work Injury or IME patient – No payment is required at time of office visit

  • If you are being seen as an authorized Work Injury patient or as an authorized IME, you will NOT be asked to pay anything. All your bills will be handled through your Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company or your attorney.

What is your payment if you have Medicare?

  • If Medicare is your primary insurance, then we expect 20 percent of your “Medicare allowable charges” and any deductible required for the calendar year.
  • Per federal regulations, the Medicare deductible for calendar year 2022 is $226.

What is your payment if you have commercial (PPO or HMO) insurance?

  • We will typically verify your insurance before you arrive at our office.
  • If we are a “participating provider” for your insurance plan, then we will only collect the co-pay (either a set dollar amount or percentage).
  • You may also be asked to pay any deductible that may not have been met for the calendar year.

What if we are NOT in your insurance network?

  • If we are not in your insurance network, you may be asked to pay your bill in-full.
    Please discuss this with our office manager prior to your office visit.

What if you have NO insurance?

  • If you are a NEW patient without a valid verifiable insurance, we will NOT be able to see you as a patient
  • If you are an existing patient and have lost your insurance or we are no longer in your insurance network, then we expect full payment at the time of service.

Insurance Verification:

  • We will verify your insurance PRIOR to your office visit.
  • This verification will inform us of your insurance contract stipulations, including any co-pays you are required to pay.

WHEN to Pay:

  • We expect payment at the time of service.

TYPE of Payment:

  • Our office prefers cash or credit card (MC, Visa, Discover, and Amex).
  • You may also pay On-Line thru this web site. We offer a Secure Payment process, powered by Pay-Pal.
  • Due to the high number of “bounced checks”, we do NOT accept checks as a form of payment.

Important Pages

Services Provided

Diagnostic Testing

Office Policies

Financial Policies

WC - IME - Records Review


Education: Podcasts & Videos

Education: Students & Residents

 

Click here to access our office Digital Business Card.

Office Hours

Mon: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Tues: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Wed: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Thurs: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fri: 8:30 am to 12 Noon
Weekends & Holidays – Closed

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