It was decided at some point that the United States ought give everyone health care. Why not? Europe does it, Canada does it, why shouldn’t we?
So now, I have health care! (woohoo!)
The state in which I live (no, not insanity or just plain weird, though I do reside in those places as well) has all kinds of plans with sliding scales so we can all have the health care we need. I can see June Cleaver pitching this ever so clearly in my head.
I received in the mail a multi-page, brochure style thing from which I was to choose a doctor and a dentist. I knew none of the doctors listed, so it was pretty much chucking a dart at the thing and going with whomever got skewered. Actually, I talked to the S.O. and made sort of a choice from that. I filled out the form with my choices and sent it off to the insurance folks.
Not long after that, I received my insurance card with my doctor’s name listed and instructions to make an appointment within X amount of days.
The first snag: the doctor they assigned me was NOT the one I had choosen.
I rang the clinic where said doctor practiced. They mailed me the enormous new patient packet, and told me once I brought it in, they could arrange an appointment.
Snag number two: They were three months out in appointments. Not the specified time frame I was given by the insurance.
Okay, nothing I can do about that. Once I received my packet, I dutifully filled out all the paperwork, medical history, records release, etc. and turned it in. I was told the New Patient Coordinator would ring me as soon as my paperwork was processed. I was also told if I needed anything, the walk-in clinic would be happy serve me until I had an appointment.
This all took place in August.
Because I needed two maintenance medications, I presented myself at the walk-in clinic. I saw a doctor who gave me prescriptions, which I had filled there at the clinic pharmacy.
This all sounds pretty good, eh? It was going okay. I had to go back after one month for labs to make sure my levels were correct (I had most of my thyroid removed in 1969. I take levothyroxin, and have now for 45 years). Everything was pretty peachy.
Until last week.
I had refill my thyroid medication. I rang, I was told they needed to ring the doctor because there were no more refills. Now, in the past I have been given about a years worth of refills on this med. Then I go for a lab, they see if everything fine or needs adjusted and all is well. But this doctor, who required I go for labs twice, only wrote my prescription for three months. I don’t know why he did that. But that’s not what this is about.
The lovely recording on the pharmacy phone told me to wait 48 to 72 hours before picking up my prescription. This was to give the pharmacy time to get a refill from the doctor. I rang in my prescription Monday morning before the pharmacy opened. I stopped in on Thursday to see it was ready.
‘No. We haven’t back from Dr. ___ yet. Are you out?’
“Yes, I am out. It generally doesn’t take this long’
‘We can forward you three pills off your refill. Then we take those three out of your next batch.’
‘Three will only get me through to Sunday.’
‘We are open Saturday. Maybe by then Dr. ___ will have rung us back, but we can only give you three pills.’
(Understand that Dr.____ works only in the walk-in clinic only. The walk-in clinic and the pharmacy share a waiting room. So Dr. ____ can’t mosey 20 feet to refill a prescription?)
‘Okay. What if Dr. ____ still hasn’t rang you back?’
‘Well, he is a walk-in clinic doctor and may not refill this prescription. You may need to see your primary doctor.’
‘I am still waiting to see my primary doctor. I haven’t been given an appointment yet.’
‘Oh. You ought to go over to the ladies at the reception area and find out what’s going on.’
So I moseyed the 10 feet over to the reception ladies. It seem I can’t get an appointment because my old doctor hasn’t faxed my medical records to them yet. I asked what would happen if I had never seen a doctor before? Would I just not get an appointment ever? What happened to the walk-in clinic keeping my all healthy until I got an appointment? If my old records are so important, why did I fill out the endless medical history?
After waiting 30 minutes to get three pills and arguing with the New Patient Co-ordinator, I have an appointment for December 9th. But, they can cancel that appointment if my old doctor hasn’t faxed over my medical records by then. And I have to call them the night before to tell them I am coming, or they will cancel the appointment.
I rang on the pharmacy on Saturday. Still no response from Dr. ____.
As of today, I am out of my medication. I have an appointment next month. I have a clinic doctor who is not telling the pharmacy anything, and a pharmacy who won’t bug the clinic doctor for an answer.
Yeah, this health care stuff is just wonderful.