Going to the Doctor - Do you need an advocate working for your best interests?
Tips and Pointers for making appointments and more ..
How often have you called the doctor to make an appointment and they can’t get you in for a week or sometimes longer? Are you too sick to wait? If so, what can you do? Your alternative is Urgent Care (or the ER .. which if you’re that sick you should have been headed there already). Personally, I’ve liked some Urgent Care doctors better than my own doctor. Check to make sure your insurance covers Urgent Care visits.
How about Tele-Health? My insurance covers this. 24/7, 365 days a year where I can call and speak with a doctor. I forgot I had this option .. would have come in handy when I recently broke my toe. It was pointing in a direction you don’t want your pinky toe going. Ouch.
Years ago I started helping people make their doctors appointments. I worked in the Personnel Department so a lot of the employees knew me. They would tell me that they were having a hard time getting in to see the doctor quickly, within 3-4 days. I offered to call the doctor for them, and more times than not, I was able to get them in right away. Maybe it was the way I asked. Maybe the way I explained the illness. I think the delivery is the key. Always be nice but stern. Let them know how badly you need to see a doctor.
Think about the person answering the phone and making appointments. They hear the same thing over and over all day. I think every doctor has a few openings saved for something serious, or they can squeeze you in.
My first rule is to never be rude to the person who makes appointments. Kill them with kindness. If you can’t get in right away and can wait, ask to be put on the cancellation list in case an appointment time opens up.
Keep good notes. Date. Time Called. Outcome. Did you leave a message? Was it with an answering machine, answering service or a person. Ask the person what their name is and make a note of it. You might want to ask for that person the next time you call. Build a relationship with that person.
So .. now you’ve made your appointment. Make a list of questions for the doctor beforehand. That way, you’ll be prepared and not forget to ask about something important. Remember, no question is a dumb question. If you’re going to the skin doctor, draw a diagram of your body and mark the spots that you want them to check.
If you’re being seen for something serious, you should take someone with you. Four ears are better than two. Have that person take notes. If the doctor says something quickly and you didn’t catch it, have them repeat it or write it down for you.
If you have a PPO, is the office asking you to pay more than your co-pay for the visit? I always tell them I will pay the bill when I receive my EOB (Explanation of Benefits).
On two occasions, we have been asked to pay an amount before a surgery. We’ve paid that amount and then the EOB comes and we are owed money. I have to call and ask for a refund or a credit to be put onto my account. Boy, those offices have never called saying they owe us money! You need to keep good records and make sure you aren’t over paying.
I always ask my doctor about an alternative to a pharmaceutical drug. I would rather find the cause of say, high blood pressure, and correct it naturally first before they put me on some drug. This is a personal preference for me as I’ve had bad reactions to two drugs. I have found doctors are very quick to prescribe you something. That subject can wait for another post.
I hope I’ve made some good tips and pointers for you and that they help in making an appointment or during your doctor visit.
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