"Calling to remind you of your Dr. Appointment"

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Am I the only one who is pretty disgusted with doctor's offices setting your appointment and then demanding that you show up anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes early "to register"?

    I was not happy last week when I went for my tri-annual and the call came that I was supposed to show up at 9:50 the next day for my 10:00 appointment. Sure, they got me right into the room. Then I sat in my paper gown on the table (sitting on the table is incredibly painful for me as I need back support) for 25 minutes waiting for the doctor.

    Now, husband has a bone spur in his heel that is very painful. He already has a podiatrist, and I've been bugging him for weeks to make the appointment. He didn't, so I finally did. (Yes, it's enabling, but he enables me to eat so I figure I shouldn't complain.) They set his appointment for 10/15, "show up at 2:00 for your 2:30 appointment." Huh? Well, he needs to update his paperwork. I told them to mail it to us and he would fill it out in advance. She told me that was fine, and that he should show up 15 minutes in advance so that they could put the paperwork into his file.

    I know that their overhead is high, and that they charge a lot of money for their time, but why do they figure that their time is more valuable to them than ours is to us? You figure at least 30 minutes to drive to and 30 minutes to drive from the appointment. At least 30 minutes for weight, b/p, patient history, and finally the doctor's consult. That alone is an hour and a half out of your day. Plus they want you to sit in their waiting room for half an hour? Are they really going to be seeing us steadily from the moment that our appointment time starts? I think not.

    This is fairly new here to us, and I generally ignore it. But 30 minutes is downright abusive. Am I wrong?
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I get to do that because this drive me nuts. :mad: It is ridiculous. AND I refuse to comply.

    And you know what? They deal with it because I give them no choice. I've not sat in the waiting room or exam room any longer due to the fact that I refuse to come in early to a doctor who already has me on file ect.

    I won't even do the "come a half hour in advance" for a new doctor bit. Funny thing, if I'm not done filling out paperwork that takes less than 10 mins to do by the time they call me back, I can finish it while waiting on the doctor.

    OH, and have you noticed?? Most of the time any info you put down (say medication history) is no where to be found when the doctor is asking you the same darn questions.:mad:

    My other pet peeve is when I give the medical assistant (that is who's working in doctor offices now) either my background or the symptoms that brings me in........they never get it right.......and I wind up having to repeat the whole thing for the doctor anyway. No wait, the medical assistants I love are the ones that you give your dxes to and they haven't a clue what you're talking about!:surprise: Or the ones I seem to get who can't read to take down a b/p properly......and I have to give them the correct numbers. (irks them everytime)

    I've met a few medical assistants who do their job well........too bad most of them only seem to do it well when behind the desk, cuz with patient care they usually hoover. ugh

    Gawd I hate going to docs anymore. Although new fam doctor actually has a nurse instead of a medical assistant.....who gets your info right the first time, makes sure doctor reads it.......and that was awesome!

    No, it's not just you.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Well........This is LARGELY the reason I went to the NP -

    The last time I saw Dr. Barry Manilow songs in the hallway ? He made me wait for an hour - and I showed up 30 minutes early. So I sent his behind a bill for my hourly wage @ 1 1/2 hours, plus gas and wear and tear on my ***** citing that his waiting room seats more uncomfortable than concrete and his germ-riddle magazines were outdated by six months. Total bill - with inflation - $150.00 Then I sent him a notice/statement a month later with fees for non-payment. Then I sent him a collection notice and then I said it was going on his credit report. The fricking nerve.

    So the next time I went to his "get there 30 minutes early" appointment? I called ahead and said "What paperwork do you want me to fill out?" she said we have a form blah blah blah - I said 'FAX it to me, I'll fill it out and fax it back and I'll be there 5 minutes before my appointment or I'm sending you another bill for MY time." the nurse put me on hold and said -"What is your fax number?" I told her and said "By the way Dr. F did not pay his bill I sent for my time." she said nothing. They all knew what bill I meant too.

    I got to my appointment - 5 minutes before my scheduled time. They finally came to get me - 20 minutes later. But not before I stood up where I had been sitting and yelled over to the nurses window - "Excuse me? I was supposed to have been seen 20 minutes ago - you had my paper work, I faxed it in - what is the hold up? Do you want another bill for my time? This is ridiculous." I was called back immediately. The guy sitting next to me said - "I wish I had that kind of nerve." I said "What nerve? Send them your bill."

    The appointment after that? I got seen right on time - and every appointment after that? I get seen RIGHT ON TIME - and I'm not rushed either. - I also asked to be put on their DO NOT CALL list. I'm quite capable of showing up on time for my appointments - and I'm NOT showing up 30 minutes early either. This they know. If they have paperwork? Fax it. Otherwise - send it. Otherwise? It must not be THAT important. I'm not difficult - I'm important - and if you want MY business - treat me like I am. Otherwise - send me somewhere else.

    In a few months - it's going to get VERY competitive - remind them of that. Do they really want to be telling YOU to arrive 30 minutes ahead to do their work when they could have done their job three weeks ago? Nope...Just one other thing to thank YES WE CAN for. Because it's going to change - and when it does - doctors offices are going to knock off this 'Sit and wait baloney' - I've gotten up and walked out - and DARED them to send me a bill - and when they did? I've called the office administrator and asked HER if she wanted MY bill? NO? Fine -remove this charge now.

    I'm telling you - it's going to change dramatically with competitive health care and the people that start treating us like humans and not cattle? Are going to win BIG....so take a stand - send a bill and get a fax. And explain to the office staff that you're not going to be there 30 minutes early - 5 is sufficient. Oh and as far as keeping ME in a room in a paper gown? NUDIST - sorry - I'll roam.....it's the chance you take for making me wait in a paper gown. :laugh:

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Wow Starbie! I never thought to bill them! But that's a good idea. I'd have made quite a bit the time the doctor decided to go home early and leave me sitting in the office cuz no one knew he'd left. I sat there for almost 2 hrs.......before I had a hissy fit. They tried to charge me (no insurance at the time) I LOUDLY thru a hissy fit, making sure every patient in the waiting room heard that patients with no insurance were being gouged to make up for all the discounts they were getting with their insurances.

    doctor's bill that visit? 800.00!!! I paid for the office visit.....not cheap......paid for what they did for me....still not cheap. the remaining 600.00 was soley for occupying a room for 4 hrs........Uh, NO. Told them to take it and shove it.

    I quit the doctor and have never seen a bill.

    Yes, it's about to become a nitemare. I really messed up nitemare. sigh
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've heard of the billing trick. It's been tried here. Doesn't work. But it sure eases the frustrations!

    We get the reminder call (we can opt out if we don't want them) but unless you're a new patient, you don't get asked to turn up early.

    What bugs me, is the long wait sometimes. I always make a point of allowing at least an hour after the appointed time, when I see the GP. However, I've sometimes been the earlier emergency that causes the rest of the doctor's schedule to be thrown out of whack.

    My GP - I turned up one day and the receptionist (the doctor's husband) said, "I'm sorry, we had an emergency in here earlier, someone collapsed in the street and was brought in here, it's thrown our schedule out badly. I estimate we're running about an hour late, I'm ringing people now to let them know and see if they would rather re-schedule. But because you were already on the way, I was unable to reach you. If you like, go and do your shopping now, or anything else you need to do. Or if it will be too much of a problem, I can re-schedule."

    Some patients chose to re-schedule, I was happy to go window-shopping.

    I also have trouble sitting for long periods even on fairly soft chairs. As for harder chairs - yuk! I finally bought myself a cushion and sewed a couple of handles on it. I carry it in to appointments when I suspect I'll have a wait. difficult child 3's psychologist is often running a bit late and te chairs in that place LOOK fashionable and modern, they even look like they should be soft. But they are agony to sit on for more than a few minutes. I often choose to sit on the floor instead. It's more comfortable.

    And I'm not afraid to do that if I need to - I will sit on the floor (I have at times been found lying on the floor) if I'm not comfortable where they have put me.

    Sometimes a wait is unavoidable. Those I forgive. But to be put in a room and made to put on a gown, then left to wait for ages while the doctor gets around to seeing me - NOPE. That is just bad organisation.

    Here, unless it's a hospital clinic situation, each doctor has ONE room in which he/she is practising for the day. Patients go in one at a time. The doctor calls us in when it's time. We go in. If the doctor wants us to get undressed and into a gown, the doctor leaves the room or draws the curtain. We're left only for a few minutes, we can sit back in the chair if we don't want to sit on the table (or couch). But we're only asked to do that for a fairly involved examination. For blood tests, BiPolar (BP), listening to chest etc, we don't usually get put into a gown or even asked to undress. Maybe lift a shirt, or pull up a sleeve.

    Apart from a doctor's schedule getting out of whack because of an earlier crisis, there is no excuse for having to wait more than about 10 minutes. I'll put up with some degree of wait, because I'm glad to know that if there IS a crisis, the doctor will be prepared to really check things out even at the expense of the schedule. That crisis could be me.

    But getting "prepared" by an underling before being left in a room to wait in extreme discomfort - THAT is bad planning and frankly, stinks of the doctor trying to keep balanced on a pedestal, trying to seem important at the patient's expense.

    Not on.

  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Daisy -

    I'm not a radical - really I'm not. I'm not a trouble maker either. I deserve to be treated like anyone else. With dignity. I have worked my entire life for people who have money and when I say money I mean ridiculously rich. When they leave the office at say - 11:45 for a doctors appointment that is 15 minutes down the road I have ALWAYS been amazed. Then they are ALWAYS back by 12:20 and it just BLOWS my mind.

    When I leave for a noon doctors appointment I have had to take off at 11:15 am and I'm NEVER back until 2:00 PM. My employers NEVER understood and were just certain that I was off shopping, or having lunch or getting my nails done. I have forever had to get one of those slips that excuse me from work with the times filled in like I'm in grade school. I'm a 40 year old woman for pity sake. Employers with money don't belive a Dr.'s appointment for - a cold, on Medicaid with a child can take ALL DAY. Leaving work, picking the child up from school (waiting in the office even though you sent a note in that said have him IN the office at noon), then getting back out to the parking lot, driving across town because it's the only place that takes your Medicaid and it's no where NEAR where you work because you took any job you could, waiting and waiting and waiting because it is the ONLY doctor that could take your Medicaid, finally getting in and more waiting, then getting the prescriptions, and by then school is probably out, so you do what? Go back to work or take the kid with you? I mean - yeah I get it and entire day shot.

    So when I didn't have the child to deal with and I kept seeing these men I worked for have real 15 minute Dr. visits I said "Where do YOU go that you actually get seen on time?" They said they've NEVER waited. So why should I? What is the difference? My insurance and MY time are just as important!! The difference is SPEAKING UP. I wasn't ugly, I wasn't crass I just said HEY WHAT ABOUT ME? I'm not walking in and pretending to be a senators daughter, or a congressmans wife - and what would it matter if I were? Should I be treated any differently? Should anyone?

    I understand that there are going to be delays from time to time. I understand that there are going to be bad days for doctors and flat tires and lifes bumps - FINE - put a note up and let us know -so I can decide if I want to be delayed 15, 20,30 minutes. Don't assume it's OKAY to keep ME waiting without explaination. Another thing that I have grown accustomed to doing when I go to other doctors is asking "Does your doctor keep his appointment times?" When I get the deer in the headlight look from the receptionist then I say "I'm on a tight schedule and a variance of 15 minutes can throw my entire day off, so if there will be a delay I need to know now so I can make arrangements with the 10 other people I need to meet today who are counting on me to keep MY scheduled appointment." When they say "Oh are you a realtor or something?" I say "No - I keep my promises." and leave it at that.

    It's amazing how things WILL BE routed for you after making a statement like that OR - things will be told to you like - THERE WILL BE A SLIGHT delay - do you mind, can you reschedule??

    If I can wait? I have no problem also saying - "I have a free afternoon so if you have someone in a hurry I have a little time today - but I have to be somewhere by XX:00 o'clock - so I'm not stuck there all day too.

    Whether you have insurance or money - or even Medicaid or Medicare it's going to start getting really competitive so you may as well let your health care professionals know - you're shopping for the office that can get you in and out in the best time for YOU - with the least hassles.

    IT may just be that understaffed/over booked offices HIRE more people to alleviate the problem and create more jobs for some of those nurses overburnened already. Or it may make it so that offices that are overrun get organized and stop running their staff into the ground for the sake of the allmighty buck.

    I know I've got my invoice ready - lol
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star...will you come advocate for me?

    My GP is the absolute worse for this. It never fails. I refuse to do a walk-in appointment with them unless I am on my deathbed. Normally I make my appointments a month in advance. I havent had to redo my paperwork in a long time.

    Say my appointment is for 2. I try to get my appointments for just after they reopen from lunch. They can already have 6 to 8 people in the office waiting. Half are walk-ins, half are scheduled appointments. There is one doctor, one NP and one PA. I think! I can only see the doctor because of my scripts. I may get back in the room to get my BiPolar (BP), temp and weight by 2:45. Then sent back out to wait until an exam room opens up. That takes me till at least 3. Then I wait in the exam room at least another 15 minutes or so to talk to the doctor for no more than 5 minutes.

    Now my Ortho doctor...they are excellent. I have never waited more than 10 or 15 minutes in their waiting room before being called back and that is because I tend to get their a bit early. He has plenty of staff to see to you but he always at least makes his way into every patients room to at least see you before you leave. You know it is HIS practice and he is going to put his little touch on it.
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm of a different mindset ~ my GP is ridiculously thorough. AND frequently I'm the one who makes the after lunch crowd late.

    I get in 10 minutes early & don't mind a wait because I know my GP & the way she operates.

    Plus my time isn't worth that much of late. It's unusual for a doctor to know you so well & works so hard for you like mine does.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Linda...I wouldnt mind waiting...and I come prepared with a book to all appointments, if I got to spend more than 5 minutes with my doctor. This is why I am considering switching my GP.

    My psychiatrist sometimes runs a bit slow. Not real slow but can be 20 or so minutes after my appointment time some days. I always have my book. However, he never rushes me when I am in his office.

    What gets me about my GP is I can see and hear him and the other "doctors and nurses" out in the hallway and staff areas, talking to pharmaceutical reps for a long long time. These reps are coming in constantly to bring in samples and other little gifts. It eats into patient time.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Janet -

    The next time I'm in Slumbertown - You bet. I googled - It's 1 hour 45 minutes.

    There are a few tricks that you can use.....if you have "that" kind of doctor. -
    1.) ALWAYS book the last appointment of the day or Book the very FIRST appointment of the day. Or find out what time they go to lunch (say 1:00 and ask for the last appointment. before lunch) Those are sure to get you either in or out quickly.

    I really think if you are that unhappy with your current GP and they are taking that much advantage of you? You need to find a really nice, caring NP (nurse practitioner). I have yet to mention my NP's name to ANY nurse or any other of her patients and not get a "OH I love her" reaction. I feel like I joined some secret society of well being. AND I feel tons better - and honestly - I've waited upwards of three hours to see a doctor - and for Medicaid for Dude and me? Don't even get me started -so I've paid my dues and then some. I just have nothing left in the mediocre doctor wait for me patient patience jar.

    Start asking around in your town, and especially ask other Nurses....they are about the absolute BEST in knowing who is phenominal and who is subpar when it comes to quality of patient treatment.
  11. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    This is one of my largest pet peeves. I totally agree with being understanding if a doctor is late due to a desperate need from another patient that took more time than expected. I've been that person that delayed the doctor, but I didn't do it without really needing the medical attention that his time required. I also respected the doctor and his office because they ALWAYS let us know what was going on when we walked in the door. "he's right on time, have you in and out!" or "He had a patient emergency and he's 30 minutes behind, can you afford the delay time today?". It meant alot to me to be respected and valued equally for my time and personal life demands that sometimes don't have room for a delay. This doctor ALWAYS left a few spare openings for each day that were only there in case of needing to rebook if he was delayed and someone chose to rebook. That way someone rebooking did not need to wait ages for a new appointment.

    Now, my OBGYN when I was pregnant? OMG. It was insufferable. If you rebooked, it was weeks before you could get in again. And it meant nothing to rebook an appointment. EVERY DAY was the same. I finally asked the receptionist, in front of the packed waiting room, to use a sheet of paper to cover the patient names in the schedule book because I personally wanted to see what times people were scheduled for. Every 5 minutes. Honestly. I'm not kidding. He booked EVERY 5 MINUTES. To treat pregnant women with full exams? I never once until the day I demanded to see the book, waited UNDER 4-5 hours. I had an appointment once at 10a.m. and was seen at 4:15!!! There were 7 chairs in te waiting room. Highest count of patients waiting at one time, was 24. 24 Pregnant women, 7 chairs. We had to decide amongst ourselves who needed the chairs most. The person overdue for delivery? the person who was bleeding and thought they were miscarrying? The 45 year old woman in her first pregnancy that was high risk? The woman with the ankles swollen beyond belief and face bloated up, gone toxic? It was completely unreal.
    After seeing the scheduling of every 5 minutes, I was completely disgusted. I admit I melted down (hormones?? Good excuse as any lol). I lived 10 minutes walk away from his office. I demanded from there an out, when he was 3 patients away from my name, CALL ME and I'll walk over!!!! She said if she did that for every patient, they couldn't ensure flow of patients moving properly because she'd be stuck making phone calls. I said how much time was wasted sitting her discussing it with me and the other angry patients?? Much longer than a 30 second call to say come on in now, he's 3 patients away. I also mentioned that through the entire dialogue not once could she call a new patient into a room anyhow!!
    From then on, it worked. They darn well knew no way was I doing this. They didn't like it. I didn't care.
    After I gave birth to my easy child, I documented in writing what the scheduling process was there and I filed it to the ministry of health. That is the agency that pays the doctors bills here in Canada. I sent a copy to the medical board as well. I have no clue if anything came of it. But it felt good to send a clear message to the OBGYN that it was beyond wrong for him to practice in this manner.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    OB/GYNs are the worst! I can understand that sometimes they have to go deliver a baby in the middle of the day, although they often seem to schedule deliveries these days. But more than once I've been left in an exam room in a gown for over an hour and when I get ticked off and go see what's going on it's "I'm so sorry, doctor had to do a delivery!" How hard would it have been to come back and tell me that? I've had babies before, I have a general idea of how long it can take and I can make up my mind whether I want to wait! You can't tell me they're that desperate for money either, because I also know what their fee is to deliver!

    The N/P is great for routine stuff that doesn't involve medications, but she can't refill half of the stuff I was on. In fact, my exam was with the N/P. I'd made it 3 months in advance. Then she scheduled her vacation. And I decided to not wait an extra five weeks until she got back and had another appointment open for me.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We are such creatures of habit...

    I had scheduled husband's podiatrist with the guy he always saw because he was the guy he always saw. This is the one that wanted him to show up 30 minutes early to update his paperwork.

    It dawned on me that I actually see a podiatrist and he always sees me or anyone I recommend within 1 day, and he's very nearby. So I called them and they will see husband tomorrow (instead of 10/15) and their paperwork is available to fill out online. He needs to show up tomorrow at 7:55 for his 8:00 AM appointment to get his paperwork into the file.

    I canceled the other appointment and told them why. :peaceful:
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I had a friend with three young children who had to wait countless times. The ONE time she was 15 minutes late the receptionist said "I'm sorry, you'll have to reschedule..." They wouldn't back down and my friend was livid. Right then and there she requested a form to have her family's records transferred to another doctor, filled it out, and handed it back to them. They were flabergasted and bent over backwards--including a phone call from the physician--to keep them on but she stuck to her guns.

    Of course that was back in the day before there was a shortage of GP's. I'd probably think twice before doing that now.
  15. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    What totally gets me is they tell you that you must come in early to register. Then you sit. I had an appointment a few weeks ago at 9am. I must leave for work at 11. I waited to the point that in 10 more minutes Iwas going to have to reschedule. BUT...if you don't show they charge you $85 which is not covered by insurance. I don't know if they would of LET me reschedule. HOW can they charge you if you are late or cancel without a 24 hour notice....BUT THEY can be 30 - 60 minutes behind. WE have lives TOO. Not much of a life, but it is mine.