Yesterday my sister went in for her annual checkup. The normal routine at the office is that a nurse(?) or some such takes care of showing her to a room, handing over one of those embarrassing gowns, weighs her, takes her blood pressure and such, and then tells her to wait. After a bit, the doctor comes and proceeds to question her about her health, checks her heart and lungs and eyes and ears and all that. After that it varies, according to what might be going on, like a prescription or referral for further blood work or a visit to a specialist, whatever.
This time after the nurse (maybe, could be she’s some type of med tech or whatever) did her thing, instead of the doctor it was a Nurse Practitioner who came in and did the rest. When my sister asked, the NP said the doctor was too overloaded with patients and therefore they had NPs to do the ‘ordinary’ wellness type checkups, and only set up another visit later if anything out of the ordinary was found. In this case, nothing was.
But my sister (and I) find it very strange that a patient can be fobbed off to a lesser professional without her being informed first and asked if this was okay. And, will she be charged the same amount for the physical as if she’d seen her doctor? No offense to the NP, who my sister said was polite and seemed to know what she was doing, but it sort of feels like she got a ‘bait and switch’ pulled on her. She’d ordered a steak, and the waiter delivered a hamburger.
I mean, we pay what we do for doctor’s visits for the doctor’s skill and medical experience and all those years of extra schooling – and sister didn’t get the benefit of that.
It just seems shady.
Note: I understand that GPs can be facing heavier work loads now, what with the pandemic, but this wasn’t even a case of my sister wanting/needing an appointment. The doctor’s office called my sister to tell her she was due for a checkup, and set up the appointment for the visit WITH HER DOCTOR, and then deliberately didn’t provide the service expected. Can this possibly how medical practices are supposed to operate?