University of Pennsylvania

The Smell and Taste Center

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Clinic For Smell and Taste Disorders

For appointments please call the office first at 215-662-2797, if there is no answer please leave your name and phone number and someone will call you back on the next business day. If you have left a message and have not recieved a call back in 24 hours please email Geraldine Brennan.

For Registration please call (215)615-2240

Because of the fast past world we live in, we have uploaded the patient packet that you will need to fill out once you have made an appointment.

Once you have made your appointment, please let our staff know if you are going to fill your paper work via the internet or if you would like a packet mailed to you.

Complete PDF packet

Please print out the above PDF and fill out at your convenience and mail back to the Smell and Taste Center, 2 weeks before your appointment via UPS or FEDEX, not USPS..

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I purchase a Smell Identification Test (UPSIT)? You can call Sensonics Inc. at 856-547-7702 or reach them at Sensonics Inc.

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"What clinical services are offered at the Smell and Taste Center?"

The clinical component of the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center is devoted to better understanding and treating disorders of the senses of taste and smell. To this goal, we examine and, when possible, treat patients for chemosensory disturbances. We offer a complete evaluation service, as well as medical consultations for taste and smell problems. Members of our staff include physicians and other top-notch professionals trained in such fields as sensory measurement, otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose & throat), neurology, psychiatry, and pharmacology.

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"How long does an evaluation take?"

A typical evaluation lasts about 8 hours , beginning at 8 AM in the morning and lasting into the afternoon. In cases where evaluation by an otorhinolaryngologist or neurologist is required, the evaluation can last late into the day (not evey person seen will have to see an otorhinolaryngologist or neurologist you will be told at the intake interview with Dr. Doty upon your arrival). The assessment consists primarily of a detailed medical history, review of records, a battery of taste and smell tests, nasal airway studies and, when appropriate, an upper airway examination and other medical examinations germane to the patient’s symptoms.

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"Can most chemosensory problems be cured?"

Most losses of smell function reflect viruses or head traumas that significantly damage the nerve cells within the olfactory membrane. Prognosis depends, in part, on the magnitude of the sensory losses and how long they have been present. In cases where nasal pathology is the basis of the chemosensory disturbance (e.g., rhinosinusitis, polyposis), medical and surgical interventions are typically effective, so long as chronic inflammation has not significantly damaged the olfactory receptors. In cases where no such pathology exists and clear-cut olfactory loss has been present for some time, prognosis is typically poor, despite the fact that the olfactory receptor cells of the nose have a propensity to regenerate. Taste disturbances are often caused by specific medications and cessation or changing of the medication or its dose can be effective in some cases. Specialized mouthwashes can be prescribed in some cases to mitigate distorted taste sensations.

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"What types of tests are administered at the Center?"

Our goal is to comprehensively evaluate the functioning of a patient’s smell and taste nerves, as well as to ascertain what factors in addition to the functioning of these nerves may be producing the specific disturbance. The Center has been at the forefront in the development of quantitative tests of odor and taste detection, discrimination, identification, and memory, as well as other means for assessing these senses, including ones based upon changes in electrical activity in the brain. The tests we use were largely developed at the Center; many of the tests we developed are now employed in thousands of clinics throughout the world.

The tests we administer are safe and non-invasive. They are analogous to tests of hearing and vision, most requiring a verbal indication as to whether a stimulus is perceived and how intense or pleasant it seems.

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"How much does the Center charge for an evaluation?"

The costs of the testing and other procedures vary from patient to patient, depending upon the specific problem and the tests involved. Most insurance companies, including Medicare, will cover the initial consultation and the battery of tests employed to establish, quantitatively, the degree of chemosensory dysfunction. For more information regarding the cost of services, contact Geraldine Brennan, our patient coordinator, at (215) 662-2797

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"Does insurance cover Center costs?"

At this time we are only participating with AETNA, CIGNA, and MEDICARE (Medicare must be primary regardless of your secondary).

A $450.00 NON-REFUNDABLE fee will be due at time of visit for all other insurances (including but not limited to: blue cross and blue sheild, tricare, medicaid, and united healthcare).

Please note that if you have a participating insurance you will have to pay your copay for specialist at the time of visit.

We accept credit cards, checks, and cash. If you have  a flex spending card it must have a visa or master card logo.

However, considerable variation exists among insurance companies as to the procedures they cover. It is essential for the patient to take a pro-active role in obtaining from the primary care physician and/or involved insurance company personnel the appropriate paper work to be completed prior to the visit to the Center. It is also necessary for the patient to contact his or her insurance company to pre-certify the Smell and Taste Center outpatient diagnostic exams (Procedure Codes: 92700D, 92700F, 92700E, 92700H, 92700I, 92700J, 92700K, 92700l, 92512A, and 95900A and Diagnostic Code: 781.1, the billing physician will be Dr. Natasha Mirza tax ID#232706750).

For more information on insurance questions, please call the the office!

In litigation (legal) cases, insurances will not cover the cost of ($4431.00) for writing the detailed report to the referring law office or agency that must be paid before to the scheduled testing date, checks must be written out to the "Smell and Taste Center". The patient is responsible for obtaining from his physicians and attorneys all appropriate information to be included in the body of this report. If payment is not recieved before the scheduled appointment, your appointment will be cancel util payment is recieved.

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"How do I arrange an appointment to be seen at the Center?"

1st call patient registration at 215-615-2240 and register, before you hang up ask the operator for you Medical Record Number (MRN), this will help when you scedule an appointment anywhere in the University of Penn. Health Systems.

2nd then call the Smell and Taste Center at 215-662-2797 and we will be happy to help you set up an appointment.

Information concerning appointment times and other matters can be obtained from the Center’s patient coordinator, between the hours of 9:00  AM and 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The telephone number is 215-662-2797. We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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