Thursday, June 03, 2010

Waiting for Dr Godot


Back in days of yore, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post saying don’t wait more than 15 minutes for your doctor—he or she is selling you a high ticket service and if you don’t like how you’re treated, find another vendor.

There ensued an enormous food fight—one day a whole newspaper page of letters from doctors saying I better never come to them or they would kick me to the curb, that if my father (I had mentioned he was a doctor) was alive, he probably wished he was dead with a kid like me….on and on. Then the next week, the Post printed a whole page from doctors offices and patients saying doctors routinely overbooked, often putting two people at the exact same time.

Two of my doctors fired me—never darken our worthy doors again!

First, when there is a long wait, they say it was an emergency and wouldn’t I want the same care if I were the emergency? I say put some slack in there!

One of my eye doctors was so awful about this he scheduled patients for 8 am and walked in at 9 am. Everyone knew it. There was a minimum of 3-4 hours’ wait. They even passed among the doomed and passed out crackers to the diabetics.

An ad here in Arizona for an ER shows a skeleton in clothes waiting. This was supposed to show their waits were short in that ER. It creeped me out!

There is now a web-based tool doctors can subscribe to—patients check in on their schmancy phones to see how long the wait is.

Of course, the office staff has to keep posting the waits. And the doctor has to pay. I see no problems there, do you? (medwaittime.com)

And just when you are about to get seen or at least taken to “the little room” for another wait, in come the drug company detail people who breeze right in.

Ack.

Of course, all this will get worse under the impending doom of Obamacare—fewer doctors, more people trying to see them.

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