No one in today’s world can question the reality that the face of your medical care has changed. With new laws, requirements, insurance requirements and medical office billing, trying to see “your” doctor isn’t always your choice.
Whether you have a chronic medical condition or just need to be seen for newly developed symptoms, making an appointment isn’t as easy as it used to be. In today’s world, the emergence of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) are the new “in” thing.
“Hi, I’d like to make a doctor’s appointment”.
Seem’s like a simple enough request. After all, most of us are pay enormous premiums and/or copays for the privilege of a doctor to spend 10 minutes with us. That’s in addition to two or three patients being scheduled for the same time slot so the doctor doesn’t lose any money, should there be a cancellation.
“Sure, you there is an appointment with Jean Smith at 3:30.”
There you go…your appointment…WAIT! Where was the word “doctor” to go with that name? Ahh…did you catch that too? That’s because in this case, you won’t be seeing a doctor; but a PA instead.
Awesome. No, not really. I already have issues with doctors “practicing” medicine. If I’m going to drop $45 on an appointment that a General Practitioner wasn’t able to resolve, why in God’s name would I entrust an on-going, chronic issue, to someone who isn’t even a board-certified doctor?
I don’t have the flu and I don’t need a throat culture performed. I need a real diagnosis, made by a doctor, that will resolve my issue; the first time around. “Oh, sorry, there are no doctor appointments available then”. Don’t you just love the system?
Truth be told, PAs and NAs are half the price of a real doctor. They are in even in the specialist’s office…the specialist! Someone who may, or may not, have done any clinical work, who is now entrusted to see, diagnose and treat you, independent of a doctor reviewing their work.
Does that leave you with the same lack of confidence it does for me? So, what are the other options? Urgent care…yea..seeing a doctor, at double the cost of your primary’s copay only to refer you to your primary doctor. The emergency room. You’re in pain. You have severe symptoms; chronic symptoms…just go to the emergency room. Sure all the testing will be done right then. You’ll be lucky if you only walk out owing about $2,000 as your portion of this wonderful care provided by your insurance.
All this, because carriers and medical offices prefer using under-qualified medical personnel instead of having you treated by a physician of your choosing. After all, it’s only your hard-earned dollar that is footing this medical nightmare, right?