Medicine vs. Profits

I know my doctor isn’t perfect, as I’ve mentioned before; he’s just been convenient (he takes walk-ins). I’ve been planning to look for a new doctor, and now I pretty much have to.

I went to his clinic yesterday with this allergic reaction—swollen eyes, slightly elevated blood pressure, all the fun stuff. That’s when I discovered that he’s changed his practice to something that I expect he considers semi-retirement. He only takes walk-ins now, and apparently he’s made deals with employers in the area such that he does the physicals and drug-testing for employment screenings.

There are signs up all over the office saying that they don’t take people back to the exam rooms in the order they arrive because they triage folks for who needs to go back first—this is something I understand and can live with. Certainly if I came in bleeding all over the floor I’d want to be seen before the person with the sore throat, and if I was the one with the sore throat, I’d also agree that the guy bleeding all over the floor should go first. However, over the time I waited to see the doctor, it became apparent what the triage priority was. Anyone who came in for an employment-screening physical had first priority. Anyone with an actual medical condition had last priority.

I waited for, literally, four and a half hours while folks (most of whom arrived after I did) went in and out getting their physicals at $90 a head, paid for out-of-pocket, because of course the clinic will make more money off of that than it will off of my insurance-subsidized visit. (And I’m not the only one who came for a medical reason who had to wait that long.) After 6 pm I finally went out and told the receptionist that my blood sugar was getting low enough that I would have to leave soon one way or the other, and miraculously he suddenly had time for me.

Money should not come before health. I understand that there are cases where that isn’t practical, but in this case it seems a simple case of the doctor deciding that the only thing he cares about is maximizing the money he makes. I wish the clinic had at least had the guts to say, “we’re shifting our priorities, and you should really look for a new doctor,” rather than lying about it. The receptionist was giving an estimate of an hour and a half wait to folks coming in the door, and that’s about what the folks with physicals had to wait. The difference between that and four and a half hours is ridiculous.

Posted in News & Musings
2 comments on “Medicine vs. Profits
  1. Chessack says:

    That is really pathetic. I hope he at least treated you properly when he finally saw you. I would definitely look elsewhere if I were you.

    It’s tough though. Fortunately I have not needed medical attention much over recent years, but the few times I have, it is very hit and miss. Some doctors seem to really be on the ball, and others… not so much. Finding one of the former ones can be like looking for a needle in a hay stack sometimes.


  2. heather says:

    He’s… pretty lackadaisical. I stuck with him for this long for several simple reasons. The ability to drop in as a walk-in was really convenient sometimes given the occasional unpredictability of my husband’s work schedule; it was worth the long waits before now. I also know enough by now about my own medical peculiarities that I could sanity check anything he did or suggested, particularly as my first reaction upon being given a prescription is to immediately look up anything and everything I can find out about it. And finally, as you said, it’s so tough to find the right doctor that honestly, I just didn’t want to deal. I’ve had a couple of really great doctors over the years, and I’ve had a couple who fairly messed me up. (One who even eventually got barred from the hospital in his area for repeated misdiagnoses.)

    I’m kind of an odd patient. I get weird reactions to medications, and I have a ton of allergies and sensitivities. I need a doctor who’s willing to rub two brain cells together, who communicates well, and who doesn’t dismiss me out of hand when I tell him I’ve had a reaction to something that past experience tells him people shouldn’t have. The one and only good thing this doctor had going for him was that he did listen; I’ve met doctors who seemed to have you evaluated and diagnosed before word one came out of your mouth, and nothing you said that contradicted their opinion would get taken seriously.

    So, yeah, I kinda dread having to hunt down a new doctor, because I don’t know how many I’ll go through before I find a good one. I still need to hunt down a new psychiatrist for the same reason—the last one I had pretty clearly just cared about writing her prescriptions and getting her patients out the door so she could get back to her latte, and I’ve just been getting my meds from my regular doctor for the past year or so.


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