Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Charge Doctors for the Minutes We Wait

OK! So here’s the deal. 
I took my elderly parent to the doctor this week (just like he had told me to do).  All I wanted was (1) her prescriptions rewritten (2) and a script for a ‘transport wheelchair’.  That doesn’t seem so difficult does it?  Well, guess again!

The 1st thing that happens is that when I call to make the appointment I get this automated voice that says if I want to make an appointment press (#), so I do.  Then I wait forrrrrrrrrrrever while I’m required to listen to it tell me all about a new doctor that is in their medical system (not their office mind you, just their system) and I don’t hear nearly as many accolades regarding his medical expertise as I do his family, hobbies, kids, etc. – SO, WHO CARES – NOT ME – I JUST WANT AN APPOINTMENT!

Finalllllly. I get to the part where I can request an appointment for 3:00 p.m. So that’s good.  Well, ‘NO’, not exactly!

While trying to make the appointment I get yet another automated message that I should arrive 15 minutes early and bring list of the following: picture id, SS#, all insurance cards with phone numbers, address, group#, my phone number, and a list of all medications, dosage, amount required, plus the medications themselves. Now keep in mind – We have been seeing this primary physician’s group for over 15 years and all of that material had been furnished just several weeks before. But, anyhow, I created a ‘neatly’ prepared Excel spread sheet with all of that information on it and arrived 15 minutes early.

When I arrived I asked the lady at the desk if she needed my ‘neatly’ prepared list of requested information.  She said ‘NO, give it to the Doctor’.  So, OK that’s good. Well, ‘NO’, not exactly! I’m there 15 minutes early (2:45). WHY!

But 3:00 arrives and I’m still sitting there with a 92 year old parent. 3:30 arrives, we’re still sitting there, the temperature outside is 98 degrees, but I’m getting hotter by the minute.  Ah! 3:45. they finally call her name and I’m feeling better already.  We go back.  The nurse comes in and I ask her if she wants my ‘neatly’ prepared list. “No, why did you bring that”. I say “The nice computer voice on your phone asked me to prepare and bring it when I called to make the appointment”.  She says “I don’t know why, but it’s really good information.  I’ll put it in her file”.  Then the doctor comes in. He asks what we need today.  “Refills for her medication and a script for a Transport Wheel Chair”.  He asks, “Do you have her medication with you?”  “Yes, plus I have this list”.  He looks at the list.  “Why did you bring this?” Again. “The nice computer man on the phone asked me to prepare and bring it with me.”  He says.  “I don’t know why, but it’s good information.  You have mg and everything.  I’ll put it in her file” and I’m thinking “great, now there are 2 copies of my ‘neatly’ prepared form in your files”. 

So, finally I get the scripts, my yellow copy of the visit, and the $65.00 charge fee for the visit which took approximately 15 minutes.  It wouldn’t have taken that long if they had known why the nice computer voice on the appointment phone had asked me to bring my ‘neatly’ prepared patient information sheet.  But anyhow, I was feeling much cooler after our 1 hour wait time and 15 minute doctor visit. However, it was still 98 degrees outside!

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