Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is this Patient-Centered?

My physician's group utilizes an on-line patient portal to schedule appointments, view lab results, and to communicate with my provider. Fortunately, it is very rare that I need to actually schedule an appointment. I've only been a patient of the practice for just about 2 years and I thought I'd schedule my second annual physical. (In fact, I've been there once, a year ago, for a physical on a Saturday). Now, I do question the real value of the annual physical examination but as we all get a year older, there are certain screenings that are recommended.

Nonetheless, I fired up the handy patient portal web address and requested a physical examination for any early Saturday appointment in June or July. Since I do work Monday through Friday with my own patient load and responsibilities, I don't think I should need to take a day off to have a physical. The practice has Saturday hours and I thought this would be ideal for me and my schedule. This is the response that I got back from the office staff:

Dear Mr. Ferrara: We don't have our schedule in for June yet. Our schedule for Saturdays will go in at the end of May. I'm not sure which Saturday Dr. X will be working. We don't usually do physicals on Saturdays because it's a short day he likes to keep it open for emergency sick visits so if you could come during the week Dr. X is late on Monday nights. Thank you.

So what is one to do? I am extremely annoyed at this response. Mind you, I have absolutely no current medical issues, am not on any medications, have health insurance, and in all likelihood, I would be in the waiting room longer than I would actually be in with the clinician. They can even code higher for a physical than for a sick visit! I am not asking for any favors or special treatment, just to have a Saturday appointment - up to 8 weeks from now. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.

And some wonder how to fix the many problems of the health care system today. How about we start with access and getting our foot in the door.



7 comments:

NP Odyssey said...

Wonderful. Wouldn't it be nice if we treated people seeking health care as well as veterinarians treated their patients.

Kimberly said...

I'm just wondering why you are not seeing an NP? :)

Stephen Ferrara, NP said...

Hi Kimberly,

I knew that I should have prefaced that in post! If I had a primary care NP in my area, I would gladly go. Unfortunately, I haven't found one...yet.

Stephen

cna training said...

We should try and treat nurses with a little more gratitude they put up with a lot of rude people.

Rhonda said...

I believe the problem is the size of the population with respect the number of medical professionals out there. Most physicians I know work long and hard. Even some nearing retirement work 10 hour days. The fact is, the road to becoming a physician is long and arduous and no one wants to do it.

Emily said...

I'm wondering the same thing as Kim lol

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