Medical groups ... g'damn 'em all!

Doctor’s appointment at 10:30 this morning. I was waiting two weeks to get in; it would be my first visit with a doctor in the Kansas City area. I don’t know any, so I picked one out of the HMO provider guide that would be on the way to work.

Last night, there was an ice storm. Roads were somewhat slick this morning. I’m also relatively new to KC, so it took a while to find the place. Anyhow, I show up at 10:35. I’m desperate to see a doctor, because on top of the various referrals I need, I’ve got a raging case of dermatitis of some sort, and all the over-the-counter histamine blockers and cortisone creams in the world aren’t helping. I’m scratching out chunks of flesh … not a good thing.

The receptionist … well, she tells me because I’m five minutes late, I’d have to reschedule. FIVE MINUTES LATE, and I’ve got to reschedule. You know what would have fucking happened if I arrived early? I’d be made to sit in the lobby for a half hour, then sent to a little waiting room where I’d sit for another hour. No … I took the morning off of work, and raced on slick streets to find the place, only to be told “never mind.”

To their credit, they’re squeezing me in on Friday morning. Still, though, it seems as if there’s no such thing as a physician practicing alone, or with one or two other doctors. It’s all huge, impersonal "medical groups, and because I didn’t follow Der Recepionisten’s rules, I’ll have sleepless nights and roughly serrated flesh for two more days.

I poop on you!

I would have been tempted to hover over the receptionist’s desk and let her know how badly I needed to see the doctor.

"Boy, this itching is horrible (scratch, scratch). I dunno if it’s eczema (scratch, scratch), scabies, ringworm (scratch scratch skritchskritchskritch) or maybe even leprosy. But it’s sure driving me crazy, and I’d be real grateful (scratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratchscratch) if you’d let me keep my appointment.

Say, can I borrow your phone?"

Hope you’re better soon.

That’s nasty, elmwood. They shouldn’t treat you that way.

Sounds like an environment that you may not want to be a part of anyway. The front desk is 9 times out of a 10 a direct reflection of the “tone” that office sets with its staff and its customer service. This is true in any profession. Would you want your medical care in the hands of a staff (doctors and lay staff) that acts this way toward people?

Gotta admit, though, that’s pretty funny.

How much greif did you cause her. Not much I bet. You have to argue with her. I know, it’s stupid, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Sounds like the office overbooks its appointments. More than a minute late, or if you make the mistake of going to the bathroom or not hearing Der Receptionstein, and you lose your appointment. It’s understandable in the age of minimal reimbursement, but it’s still a very scuzzy practice.

For future reference: If you have an acute problem that will not go away, and you can’t get in to see the doctor right away, ask for authorization to go to a walk-in urgent care center. You might have to wait a bit at the urgent care, but you will be seen, and you can follow up with your regular MD.