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.