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.

Friday, May 13, 2011

DNP Series: Published!

The systematic review that my colleagues and I have been working on (for what seems like forever!) was finally published in the Joanna Briggs Library of Systematic Reviews!

It is very gratifying to have an official peer-reviewed publication under my belt. The title of our Review is, "The effectiveness of group medical visits on diabetes mellitus type 2 (dm2) specific outcomes in adults: A systematic review."

The work that we studied on group medical visits (GMV) is truly interesting and can serve as a viable model to aide in type 2 diabetes management.

Graduation is just over a week away and we just have one more presentation standing in our way. I will be posting some of my reflections on the program and on the DNP in the weeks to come. For now, I will enjoy this moment!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Poll Results on the NP Modernization Act in New York

Here are the poll results from the show New York NOW on the the NP Modernization Act Bill that has been introduced in the New York Legislator. I particularly like the comment from "Stephen" - for obvious reasons ;-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

National Health Service Corps

I was recently contacted by a member of the National Health Services Corps (NHSC) and asked to highlight their program here on my blog. It certainly sounds like a wonderful opportunity for NPs regarding loan repayment. So here it goes:

The NHSC is a federal program that offers primary care providers financial support in the form of loan repayment or scholarships so they can practice in underserved areas of the country without the burden of educational debt.

The NHSC is currently expanding to help meet the need for primary care professionals. The current application cycle for loan repayment closes on May 26th and applications are now being accepted for the NHSC scholarship program.

As the country faces a shortage of primary care providers, the NHSC plays a critical role in bringing primary care medical, dental and mental health professionals to communities in which people would otherwise have to travel miles for health care, or go without help. In return, the NHSC offers help in repaying loans. For example, clinicians who join the Corps can receive up to $60,000 for a two-year full time commitment and up to $170,000 to help back loans for completing a 5-year service commitment.

If you have any specific questions, contact me and I can put in you in touch with someone who would be able to answer them. There is a definite need for eligible providers and loan repayment helps those struggling financially. It's a privilege that primary care NPs (as well as PAs and other health professionals including physicians, dentists and more) are recognized for this important and meaningful program.