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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

I go to the doctor once a year, for a flu shot.  That's it.  Luckily, I'm in good health.  There was an exception last year.  I needed my primary care physician to check me out and sign off on mole removal surgery.  And, there was a minor episode a couple years ago.  My doctor said "I would assume that because I see you only once a year, you're feeling okay.  But, do me a favor.  Go get some blood work, so if you have a problem I can see it coming."  The blood tests showed a vitamin D deficiency, and I was put on prescription supplements the size of a horse's arse.  I work at night and sleep all day.  I never see the sun.  Plus, vitamin D deficiencies are common among people in the north.  I stopped taking the supplements after reading that no one can really agree how much vitamin D you actually need.  I do try to pop a standard drugstore multi vitamin, once in a while.

Anyway, I love my doctor.  He's a great guy who doesn't pester me.  Straightforward.  No nonsense.  His staff was top notch, as well.  Unfortunately, my doctor has had some health problems recently and decided to close his practice.  I recieved a letter notifying me of this Thursday afternoon.  The practice is gone as of August 1.  Yes, two business days notice.  Two!

Here's where it really gets bad.  The letter came from my doctor's umbrella group.  There were two phone numbers on the letter.  The first was that of the local medical society, so I could get a list of doctors who are accepting new patients.  I called.  The person could not have been less helpful.  She said she didn't know how her organization got on the letter.  They've been getting plenty of calls, and they want nothing to do with the whole thing.  Thanks for your help and professionalism.

The second number was for a list of other physicians in the group.  That woman was only slightly more helpful than the first.  I then made a third call-- the umbrella organization number on the letterhead, the administrative office.  I was transferred to someone who offered a little information, but not much.

I asked if my doctor is making a reccommendation.  The answer was no.  In other words, I'm on my own, but I have to notify them of my choice so they can forward my records, with my permission.  By the way, I did receive a nice pitch for staying with the group.  I have to admit, with such shoddy service and customer relations, it's not looking good.

My health insurance company has a web site that lists local doctors who accept my insurance.  It's a crap shoot.  I've asked family and friends.  Everyone has a different answer.

The whole situation-- the late notice and the lack of people willing to step up and help, to actually do their jobs-- made my blood boil.  Perhaps, I should see a doctor.