Years ago I had a primary care physician (PCP) who I really liked. I saw her for several years and then she moved to a new practice. As much as I liked her, I didn’t want to follow her to her new practice, which was in a different hospital network and also a really lousy location for me. And so it began.
Next I saw someone else at that practice. He seemed good enough, but after about a year, before I really knew if he was going to work out for me, he moved to a new practice. His new practice was one I’d have loved to join, except for the location. Oops.
I asked around and a friend recommended someone. That lasted until my first illness. It was a horrible cold that wouldn’t go away. I lost my voice completely and had to write notes in response to the doctor’s questions. She examined me and they took x-rays of my chest. And then her office never called me back! Since I couldn’t speak, I had a friend call to find out what was going on, and she had to call several times. Goodbye PCP!
Another recommendation led me to my current doc. I’m not thrilled with her. At my annual exam, including gyno exam, she never even asked if I was sexually active. That was weird. When I went in for an odd infection in my hand, I didn’t like the way they handled it. But a few weeks ago, when a cancellation finally got me an appointment with a specialist I’ve wanted to see for a long time, she wouldn’t give me the referral that the insurance required. Why? Because I’m not in her hospital network! Apparently, it’s more important for the hospital to make money than for a patient to get the best treatment possible. So guess what? They lost me as a patient and won’t be getting any more of my money, even for the PCP!
And that brings me to today. I desperately need a PCP, because without the referrals that a PCP provides, insurance won’t cover any of my specialists. I’m now considering a practice that sounds good. It’s a teaching hospital so I’d occasionally be seeing residents. This has downsides, but there are probably plus sides too. It’s more expensive (the visits are covered by insurance but I’ll probably spend $10 per visit to park.) It’s not the greatest location. There’s always traffic to get down there and it isn’t as close as I’d like. Then again, how often do I really see my PCP? A few times a year? Sometimes less? And I haven’t come up with any better options because of the referral issues. I’m determined to find someone who will refer me to the doctors I want to see.
It shouldn’t be this difficult. I’m just looking for someone who has experience with autoimmune diseases, who is thorough, who won’t exhibit any prejudice towards bisexual patients, who won’t scoff if I tell them that I’m seeing a naturopath, and who will refer me to doctors at other hospitals if it is in my best interest. Why is that considered too much to ask for? Something is definitely wrong with our system.