Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Speaking Assertively on A Subject I'm Ignorant About

I just got off of the phone with a certain pediatric conglomerate in the Northwest Arkansas area. Rosalind has a bit of a cough that has been persistent and seems to be bothering her, nothing serious, and she is due for her next well-baby check up. In any case, I called to see if we could get her in to see someone today or tomorrow about the cough. Because of the structure of the pediatric trust this means getting an appointment at the urgent care clinic. While scheduling the visit I asked if we could go ahead and get her well-baby check up done at the same time, this seemed to me like an efficient way of getting things done, after all, they will be weighing her and asking us general medical history questions anyways, why not ask two more developmental questions and measure her height. I was informed that the urgent care clinic and the wellness clinic were in separate buildings, I said I realized this but was pretty sure they had the necessary tools in either building: you know pen, paper, and a measuring tape. I was then told that that just isn’t how it’s done; I asked to speak to an administrator. After being transferred to a voicemail, getting back to the operator, and finally getting someone on the phone I asked what the rationale was for the strict no-diagnosing a cough and asking about development in the same building policy. I was told that the doctors were only allotted a certain amount of time to see urgent care patients and that taking the extra time to complete the well baby check up wouldn’t be fair to afternoon patients. “I see, so it’s about efficiency”, I said. “Yes, exactly” the administrator responded. “So how much longer would it take to finish the well-baby”, I asked. “Probably 10 minutes.” “So this is about efficiency on your side, because having to schedule another visit and then paying for a separate visit is not efficient for me.” “Well I understand that.” “I understand you are running a business and you need to see as many patients as possible and two visits are more profitable than one, right?” “That’s true.” “Okay, thanks.”

A few of things. First, what if my child had a hard to diagnose illness, do the doctors leave mid-visit because their allotted time is up? Second, I didn’t realize doctors were now factory workers. And lastly, this seems to me to be a perfect example of why our health care system needs some change. I’m not advocating what sort of change, (readers of this blog probably have no doubt how I lean politically, but this isn’t about that) but to me this doesn’t make sense. By all means let me know why this is the best way to go or why I’m wrong, seriously I’m not in this field and I don’t really have the knowledge to make that call.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration. But in all honesty every since Samantha was little that is just the way things have been. I have had it explained to me in a different way which seems to be easier to understand. At urgent care, which is normally in a different building/room, is for sick kids. Well baby check ups are normally done in a seperate building/room and even sometimes only on certain days to help prevent the spread of germs. They do not want to mix the "sick" babies with the "well" babies. Even if you think that she is not really sick, just a cough, she could actually have something that can be spread to another baby. They do not want to try and make that call over the phone. I hope this helps you feel a little bit better about the situation.

Amanda

Anonymous said...

And one other point, they should see her for her cough and as long as everything is ok, then they could send you to the other doctor without another co-pay!

Amanda

Anonymous said...

I guess I am just old, but are there not any family doctors anymore that see your baby and continue to see her until she grows up, the famiy doctor.

Retha

Anonymous said...

Wow,so niceeee!! Thanks exchange for sharing!
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