Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Administrivia

Someone recently asked me, "don't you ever have any good news?" Of course, that was after she called me over and told me in detail about all the terrible things that had happened to her, and then asked me a lot of questions about our (now ex-)landlord. So, I don't know.

I was supposed to see my endo on the 6th (after making the appointment six months ago), but two days before, they called me and said she won't be in that day, so it got changed to the 25th. I took a big hit for that paycheck-wise, because when you take time off, you not only lose the pay, but you lose the health insurance subsidy normally paid by the employer. It was too late to work those hours, and I'll have to take more time off on the 25th, so it was pretty significant. Anyway, I figured I had plenty of time to review my labs, so I called the receptionist (the lab at this place doesn't do copies). She said cheerfully that the doctor hasn't reviewed them with me yet, so I can't have a copy until the 25th. I asked if she was sure, because I'd never heard of anything like that, and she said yes. Okay. The more I thought about it, the more confused and annoyed I became. Doesn't HIPAA say you have to be allowed access to your medical records? I wanted to see the results before my appointment so I could get an idea of what was going on and because I'm totally anal like that.

I called back, and this time I told the cheery receptionist I thought they couldn't do that. So, she transferred me to the nurse, who made more sense, but said all the wrong things. She said it's the doctor's policy not to release labs without reviewing them. She said I don't have to wait until the 25th, just until the doctor is back in the office in a week and that normally this is never even an issue. Then she said, "unfortunately, you picked the week when the doctor is out of town." Aargh (like I picked the week). She said they do this because they had a problem with patients misinterpreting the results. Well, okay, but I think the law allows them to do that, and I don't think I'm that patient. Although now they'll probably all think I'm difficult.

I really love my endo, but I have a really low tolerance for this kind of administrative stuff. I may have to look into other options. I mean, does anyone see why this is annoying?

5 comments:

Cody Turner said...

WOW, I always get my results before the doctor has reviewed them. But then again my doctor and his staff are so familiar with me that they recognize my phone number and voice. He knows that I can interpret them myself so he has okayed the nursing staff to give me the results when I ask for them.

Carol said...

I think that is supremely annoying. There is all this talk of "consumer driven healthcare" but you can't even see your test results? Bahhh!!! I feel pretty strongly about this since I had to diagnose myself after my doctors office told me that all my bloodwork was "normal". I had been exhausted, urinating frequently, and drinking tons. Fasting glucose of 380 is NOT normal, and I only found that out after insisting that I get a copy of my results. If you use a tax accountant, they have to give you your records if you request them (even if you haven't paid your bill). Not sure why the same doesn't apply to doctors.

Jonah said...

My endo sends me results after every blood draw, unless they're snafued, and then he calls until he gets me on the line and can talk to me. But my endo is awesome.
My other doc I'm not sure if I could get results from him without him in the building, but I'm going to find out. I think that's a very reasonable think to ask for, especially if half of what your doctor does for you is run tests.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Yes, I totally see why it is annoying.

For what it's worth, I too was denied lab results before my appointment, and yes, it bothered me.

I didn't do anything about it because it wasn't a huge deal to me at the time, and let's face it - it's a PITA to switch docs. It's a shame that we have to be sufficiently motivated to make that kind of change.

Sarah S. said...

Yes, that is very annoying. I'm in a bit of the same fix - I'm starting up with a new endo and when I suggested to the nurse when I made the appointment that I was overdue for an A1C, she said that they never do an A1C before a new patient intake appointment. Since that's the whole reason I'm going to him, I'm kinda annoyed too. Stupid endos - we know what we need and they seem to almost take malign pleasure in preventing us from getting information that would actually help us. Gr.

-Sarah