So you need to see a doctor? Good luck with that

So you need to see a doctor? Good luck with that
Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner

Pulling Your Hair OutI have done my best to try to point out to all the negative Nellies out there the positive aspects of Obamacare and the current state of our health care system. But even I have reached my breaking point. We’ve now reached a point in our society where we either have to diagnose and treat ourselves, or wait months to see a doctor who will spend (if we’re lucky) 15 minutes talking to us. Here’s our story.

The Primary Care Doctor Interview

My husband needed to go see his primary care doctor. He hadn’t been to see him in four years. He was told by the office that he would now be considered a new patient, and the doctor is not taking new patients. What? Rejected by your own doctor! It’s my husband’s fault for being so healthy all these years.

Next were the trials of finding a new primary care doctor in a rather small college town where most, if not all, of the medical practices are controlled by the regional hospital. Even after finding a doctor who would agree to take on new patients, my husband had to pass a phone interview. He was asked about ten questions. He got the feeling that these were the big ones that he had to pass:

  1. Are you currently seeing a doctor? If not, why?
  2. Are you taking any pain medications?
  3. Are you on Medicare or Medicaid?  If not, what type of insurance do you have?

I guess medical practices no longer want to worry about patients with prescription drug addictions doctor-shopping and the governmental paperwork that comes with Medicare and Medicaid. I can’t say I blame them. My husband was told that “it looked good” that the doctor would accept him as a new patient. We had to call back a week later to finally get the news we had a new primary care doctor.

I’m exhausted and we haven’t even seen the doctor yet.

Be prepared to wait months to see a specialist.

The primary care doctor did his best to treat my husband, but it now seems he will need to see a specialist. Of course, he would now be a new patient with the specialist. What’s the wait time? About three months. Getting emotional on the phone, even though it’s genuine, will not help.

You may get lucky depending on where you live. My advice is to start calling for an appointment as soon as possible, even if you think your problem may clear up before you finally get in. The doctor may not like it, but it’s better to cancel an appointment you don’t need than to wait months for one you really needed last week.

If all else fails, there’s always the Emergency Room.

Most of us are good citizens and don’t take going to the hospital lightly. We don’t want to be part of the problem. But when you can’t get in to see a doctor, you may not have a choice. Urgent care facilities can only do so much. Heaven forbid something happens to you on a weekend!

So you need to see a doctor? Good luck with that.

Visit my Health Care Reform page for more information.