Time for My Not-So-Annual Physical

Time for My Not-So-Annual Physical

15-Kaiser-Permanente-2013I hate going to the doctor, but I am getting older and I have an aluminum plate in my leg and I am recovering from a gosh-darn blood clot , so I scheduled a physical with my new HMO, Kaiser Permanente. My appointment is at 8:30 next Friday morning (8:30 on 8/30. Hmmm…).

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I am not at all happy with my new insurance provider and I hope that the experience gets more pleasant very quickly, because I am about to cancel my appointment and go doctor-less for another 5 years…

To begin, I had to get a new doctor because I have only been to specialists since I moved to the great state of Colorado: a neurologist for my seizures, a dentist for my (lack of) teeth, an internist for my blood clot and an Orthopedic surgeon for the plate in my ankle. Much to my chagrin, she insists that her new patients make their first appointment with one of her Physician’s Assistants. Now, I purposely selected this doctor because she was a woman and Indian (dot, not feather). I am not going to get either of those when I see the PA — my appointment for a physical is now with a white man (who isn’t even a fucking doctor!).

Second, when I made my appointment, I was told that I would have to go to the lab at least 3 days ahead of time to have the standard fasting blood tests run (blood glucose and cholesterol, no problem). I asked if I would be able to have other tests run so the PA could take a look at some of them as well — thyroid, hormones, sodium, etc… I was told that I needed to talk to the lab directly to order those tests, but it would be no problem. The reservationist took my information and told me that the lab would contact me shortly, which they did. When we spoke, the lab tech proceeded to tell me that the “doctor” will only check my blood sugar and cholesterol at my first visit and then only run more tests if he felt I needed them.

This is when I started to get a little bent out of shape. I told the lab technician that I have never been insured with an HMO before and I was starting to get a little frustrated with the bureaucracy. I then asked her, “Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of my even making a ‘doctor’s’ appointment if my ‘doctor’ isn’t even going to check the things that I am worried about?!?!” (not to mention the fact that he isn’t even a doctor!!)

Lab Tech: “The ‘doctor’ can order more labs for you on the day of your appointment.”

Me: “Will those also be fasting blood tests?”

Lab Tech: “Yes. But your appointment is early enough in the morning that you can wait to eat until after your appointment if the ‘doctor’ orders more labs.” (stop calling him a freaking doctor already!)

Me: “My appointment is at 8:30 and I will have already fasted for 12 hours at that point. If I wait to eat, I won’t be eating until lunch. What if I actually have an issue with my blood sugar?” (I don’t. At this point, I was actually trying to be difficult because I didn’t want to be forced to wait until after 10 to eat my breakfast two days in one week!)

Lab Tech: “Then you will have to come in another day to have the blood taken.”

Me: “I actually have a job and there are no Kaiser office locations even remotely close to my home or to my work (truth!). This is really turning out to be more of an inconvenience than it’s worth and another reason WHY I wanted to have those other blood tests taken before my appointment!”

Lab Tech: “I guess I can make a note here to have the ‘doctor’ review your request and get back to you.”

Me: (I guess… Whatever…) “Thank you.”

NeedleThis morning, the “doctor’s” office called and left two of the exact same messages on my voice-mail within 5 minutes of each other!! (OMG – can we say, “Patience!”?) When I had a chance to call back (because, as you know, I have a job!) I had to wait on hold for 22 minutes for the receptionist to simply tell me that the “doctor” denied my requests for additional blood tests. I am clueless as to why they couldn’t just tell me that in my voice-mail — it’s not like they were very secret about it or anything, the receptionist was the one to give me the message.

I knew it was pointless so I didn’t say anything, but I am feeling very disenfranchised about my own health care.

Aren’t I the patient here? Am I justified in wanting to have those tests run before my appointment in case I need any prescriptions filled, further tests, etc?

That Physician’s Assistant better be HOT, HOT, HOT!!!!!


6 thoughts on “Time for My Not-So-Annual Physical

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