Is this Becoming More Common?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have been noticing something when I make appointments for Jessie lately. The thread about pulling a child out of school made me think of it. I am posting this here in general because I think many of us are finding it with our difficult children and their appointments.

    Over the last year it seems very difficult to get an appointment with a specific doctor when I call a practice that has more than 1 or 2. Oddly enough it is less of an issue now that the kids are on medicaid instead of private insurance. I often have asked around and researched docs before I try to get an appointment. I even call ahead to see if the doctor is taking new patients with X insurance and what info does the pediatrician need to send to do the referral??

    I make the appointment, thinking we are seeing doctor Desirable, who has done research on our problem, written papers on it and is highly recommended. Then we go to the appointment and, Surprise!! we get doctor Farting-Around that we either know nothing about or were advised to stay far far away from. But we are stuck because if we refuse that appointment no doctor in the practice will see us outside of the ER.

    So we see doctor Farting-Around, who doesn't know a cough from a fart. We get him to do a little bit of what we think will help, write the rx's we are already on, and then check out. We make an appointment for the next time because we know we will have to have those rx's and the pediatrician will not (and should not) write rx's for those medications.

    Then we come back and we see doctor Loony-Cartoony, who doesn't know why we are there, what the problems are, or anything else. He does draw a nice picture of a cartoon dog who licks his crotch in one frame, licks a sick child in the next frame, and in the last frame the child is all better because the dog licked her.

    None of the docs are the one we ask for. If we ask ahead of time who we are seeing we are told it is doctor ??? and we cannot change to doctor Desirable because we would have to have permission from doctor-Not-Ever-Here and since the doctor isn't there at any time the staff is, well, that permission could take months to get.

    We have gone through this with the pain docs, neuros in 2 practices, tdocs in 3 practices, and even family practice docs!!!

    This just drives me up the wall. Most times I am told that I can schedule with doctor Desirable when I call the first time. Often even when I book the first appointment. It is only when we show up that we find we are with a doctor they think will suit us better. No one will tell us WHY this doctor will suit us better, and often it isn't the doctor the referring doctor specifically asked for.

    Maybe if I had a WHY it would be easier to handle. But I am beginning to want to reach through the phone and scramble the brains of the people who keep doing this.

    Is being able to choose the doctor you see becoming a luxury that no one will tell us the price of? I have spoken to other parents in waiting rooms and many of them are singing the same songs. Does anyone have any idea how to combat this? Insisting on seeing doctor Desireable, offering to stay in the waiting room all day until doctor Desirable could work us in resulted in an office mgr type offering to call security to "help us find our way". complaints to the head honchos of the hospital got no reply.

    I am about out of my mind with frustration over this. Until i saw the thread about taking a child out of school I thought it was just my messed-up, bass-ackward state doing this.

    Again, if this would be better in Watercooler, please move it. I just thought more people here might see it. (Can you tell I have been wrangling with appointments lately?)
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Susie, this has never happened to me or my children. But we have private insurance, not Medicaid. I don't know if that makes the difference.

    I'm sorry this keeps happening to you. You may want to report it to the higher-ups at Medicaid or your Senator or Congressman.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This hasnt happened to me to this degree. I have actually changed my family doctor because of a somewhat similar thing but its because the doctor that I adore is no longer actually in that office more than once a week. He tends to do the hospital rotation and one day at another location. I believe he is going to retire soon too. I switched to actually get his
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I got a LOT more of this on the private insurance. We had GOOD private insurance and they paid claims in less than 5 business days as long as all info was there. it was so fast at paying after my back surgery that they had to refund the insurance for quite a few things I was overcharged on. Like the private room I did NOT ask for or agree to.

    We are getting a bit less on medicaid (I have actually had vastly fewer problems on medicaid than on any private insurance. The kids were on it while husband was in grad school, then off medicaid when he got a job. Medicaid covered a LOT more and was taken at a LOT more places.)

    Heck, medicaid helped me find the long term psychiatric hospital Wiz was in and then paid 100% of everything while he was in there. Even the neuropsychologist testing I insisted on - and I could have gotten my mileage paid for every trip to the psychiatric hospital as long as I spoke to one of the nurses or staff people. I didn't file for mileage because they already did enough for us, but it was there. NO ONE at the private insurance would even give me a facility name. I had to find it online with the help of one of the tech specialists!!

    That is why I am asking, because it seems like private insurance is even taking away our options for choosing docs. What next???
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have never had this happen either. I wish I had some advice as I would be so not happy if this happened!! Hugs.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It happens here too, to a certain extent. I'm especially finding it with my cancer treatment. It actually was a problem with some of the radiation side effects, especially the chest pain. I really needed to see the same doctor I'd previously spoken to, because any change in their observations would have been more consistent.

    When our favourite GP left the one doctor practice in our town to go to a clinic, I HAD to have the same doctor. Some of my prescriptions cannot be written by a different doctor in the same practice (government regulations). So when I dropped in to the clinic (they didn't make appointments, it was walk-in) I was told to ask for that particular doctor and if he was on duty, I just had to wait until he got to me. First in, first served. I had to know ahead of time which shifts he would be working. The clinic didn't like it, but because it was that or I take my business elsewhere permanently, they had to allow me to choose which doctor.

    They also have to allow you to choose, if you have a problem, say, with male doctors. For example a lot of women, especially strict Muslim women, may not be attended by a male doctor because that doctor is not a member of their immediate family, and no physical contact whatsoever is permitted with a member of the opposite sex to whom they are not related. My own GP, an Egyptian Copt (orthodox) sees a lot of Muslim women because they know they are safe with her.
    So choice should always be possible.

    The trouble with your situation - it sounds like your Dr Desirable is using his name to drive patients to his practice. He is training up some juniors and shooting the vast bulk of the work toward them. Doctors like Dr Desirable are very busy, often involved with a lot of non-clinical work. Research, advisory committees, government boards, industry management. Let's say in this practice are only these three doctors. I'll bet Dr Desirable (who still works as hard as the other two, just not face to face) probably only sees 10% of the patients. And of course they won't be on shift the same days. Part of the reason Dr Desirable employes the other two, is so he DOESN'T have to be there then.

    You need to do two things:

    1) Next time this happens, talk to the doctor you get and say, "I want to see Dr Desirable next time. How can this be organised?" Be prepared to give reasons. If necessary, say the truth - you need reassurance that your son's treatment is definitely on the correct track. The other two doctors my be very capable, much more competent than they seem, but a glimpse of Dr Desirable would go a long way to helping you really feel this for certain.

    2) Talk to the staff who book your next appointment. "I have seen the other doctors, but I was told about this practice and Dr Desirable in particular, and I feel the time has come where I need to INSIST, for my own peace of mind as much as to ensure we really are actively on the right track." be polite, because you need their cooperation. Also be prepared to have to wait a long time. Also be prepared for staff to reschedule - make sure they mark the appointment, "Dr Desirable only" so when Dr Desirable discovers a seminar he should be at that clashes with the appointment you've already waited four months for, they won't simply shove you back onto the lackeys.
    I've just had my oncologist do that to me today - when I last had an appointment, I saw some other doctor I don't know. He told me to come back in a month, and I got a message today saying "Dr Oncologist is unavailable for your next appointment and has asked me to change it to..." which is a week earlier. And I probably still won't see Dr Oncologist even then.

    You can have what you want, but it generally comes at the price of more inconvenience than you might care to tolerate.

  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Altho I hear your frustration, I must say, I love the names you came up with. Dr Desirable...sounds like a Harlequin novel.

    The only place I've run into this much was the teaching hospitals. Which is why I don't go there as a first option...I'd be downright mad if I were in your shoes, tho.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I could understand it more if it was the big head honcho doctor doing this. These are not practices where the docs names are well known. They are under the umbrella of a Children's Hospital (the worst for this), or another big clinic with a lot of satellite offices. Though I did also have it at a small local place where none of the docs are terribly well known in the communtiy. I have had to really dig to find the info I have, along with asking a LOT of detailed questions via phone to adult docs with the same/similar specialties. The adult docs are aware of the pediatrician docs because they have to work together with the teens because some things need coordinated care as you change from kid doctor to adult doctor.

    I have tried the things you have suggested. I end up feeling so defeated because the attitude I get is that if I have a problem with it then it is my problem and my kid doesn't need their help in that case. Maybe it is just a way to keep from having to really do anything while getting the most appts and fees from patients and insurance. Insurance refuses to step in, as do the hospital or practice admins. Everyone's attitude has been that if we have a problem, we are FREE to leave.

    I hate battles like this over stupid stuff that doesn't make sense.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We are very lucky - I think.

    husband goes to the VA hospital, so he sees LOTS of trainees. But even so, he has specific docs - Dr. Will and Dr. Sara. Always.

    The place I go - I call and tell them I want to see Dr. Joe, and they tell me when his next appointment is. If I am actually sick, there are 2 others I'm willing to see, Dr. Rick and Dr. Dan. Otherwise? I'll go to Urgent Care. It's closer anyway. By about 25 miles.

    The kids go to Dr. John, who has a lot of NPs in his office - and for sick kids, an NP is usually all we need.

    Now my dentist? On a first name basis with him, too - his daughter had the same name I do - and I've been seeing him for 22 years. So I call? And I almost NEVER get someone else - unless I have an emergency.
  10. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    i cant say i've had that happen to either of my difficult child's--one with private ins, and one with dual ins (with medicaid) with the exception of the last psychiatrist appointment who unbeknownst to me handed us off to a resident, thinking we are just a medication check type appts.

    and we go to the major childrens hospital with one of the difficult child's regularly--if he needs to be seen by someone else in a specialty, i'm aware of it before i leave dr. desireable, and i know the reasons why--i'm not blindsided at the next appointment.

    i'd take marg's list one step further and call the day before the appointment and the morning OF the appointment to verify the appointment is with dr. desireable. be a major PITA. and then when they tell you, oh no, its with dr fartsalot, feign ignorance and say, oh golly gee, i scheduled with dr desireable so what time can he see us, or should i reschedule? it would also be worth a try to attempt to bypass a scheduling dept and see if dr. desireable keeps their own schedule and ask them personally what day they will next be in (so that of course, the only day you could *possibly* get there is that exact day). i'm also not above boldface lying and say, but oh, my (pediatrician, therapist, banker, whomever) needs me to see X dr because they already privately discussed my case. (but hey, thats just me, i dont reccommend dishonesty, but desperate times call for desperate measures, LOL)

    and i have never heard of needing "permission" to switch doctors--its your right to a second opinion, and you dont have to justify why.

    i'd have to guess that if you are dealing with a county health type group it all boils down to scheduling as people float in and out of the agency. *STILL* no excuse.

    it blows, no matter how you slice it.

    but if you feel like travelling, i know where you could get a standing 10:45 am appointment...

  11. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    We have not had that problem.

    I have been annoyed when I had to get permission to switch from one doctor to another in the practice, but I think that must be part of their practice arrangement so they don't "steal" each other's patients. I have only done this twice and both times was given permission.

    It sounds like the places you are going view your appointment as being with the clinic and not with the doctor. For the specialty appointments, it might be worth traveling to see the doctor you want, if there are no other options in your area.

    We have been all over the country for medical care and never had that happen. Even when husband had his pituitary surgery from a world renowned surgeon, we actually met with with the surgeon beforehand. The doctor did have some other surgeons learning from him and assisting him, but he was very available to us.