This past May I started seeing a new PCP. The idea was to find someone with an office closer to our house and someone who didn't mind continuing on my current medication plan, on top of that I wanted a doc to turn to if something comes up outside of my usual chronic migraines, fibromyalgia and endometreosis.
So far the experience has been bumpy. She is one of only two physicians in the office but they are part of this massive medical/hospital network in the area. The women who work in the office don't seem to grasp the importance of accuracy and precision so my prescriptions are not being handled accurately. Between the mistakes being made by the doctor's support staff and the mistakes being made by Optum Rx, I'm again having to spend a bunch of time trying to correct these problems.
I tried to call the office a couple weeks ago and left a message on the voicemail system. It took them an entire week to return my call. A WEEK! I gave up on them after a couple days and was scrambling trying to figure out how I was going to get my prescription. When I finally got a call back, the gal explained that it took so long because she was on vacation the previous week. So apparently there is no contingency plan for vacation and illness so the entire office just falls apart when someone isn't there. So fingers crossed that I don't need to get in touch with my doctor during another vacation or illness.
I expressed my frustration over these matters during my visit with her yesterday. She explained that the office has been understaffed for quite some time despite her pleas for help over the past year. Her only suggestion was that I sign up for the network's patient portal and use that as a means of contacting the office. I'm not entirely comfortable with this simply from a privacy standpoint. I guess I'm just not convinced they can keep my information safe and secure. Plus, I'm don't really see how this is would solve the problem of being understaffed. If they can't return phone calls they can't return online messages either, right?
As far as the mistakes being made by her staff she basically just said there isn't anything she can do about that.
Her responses to the big communication problems at her office lead me to believe she doesn't have any power. Her support staff are employees of the larger medical facility they all work for and do not work for her. She is also just an employee doing her thing. And clearly the larger facility doesn't really care.
I have some serious misgivings between her lack of power and the poor job her support staff is doing. Ideally, I could find a doctor who runs his or her own practice and is competent, compassionate, reasonable, respectful and who demands the same from the staff. Finding an ideal situation may not be realistic and certainly wouldn't be easy.
I don't want to spend the next 8 years doctor hopping but I do believe patients should be treated better than this. After reflecting on the situation and trying to look at the big picture I've decided that I want to try to make it work with this doctor because I believe it will prove to be less time consuming and less stressful.
Now, we were able to make a plan for my medications and will meet every 6 months to go over stuff. I think if we can get her name on all my regular meds and get them squared away then things should smooth out on that front, despite the support staff's lack of care. Beyond that, my needs are not significant because she will not be treating my migraines, fibromyalgia or endometreosis. Her only role will be looking at the big picture, taking blood and helping me if something new comes up. She does seem open to listening and she is fairly easy to talk to so I want to try to make this work for now.
Time will tell if I'm making the right decision.