Sutter

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Cancer Care Further Delayed

Published November 5, 2018 by lynn k scott

Friday, I was supposed to have an appointment with a new oncologist.  The insurance, without my consent, chose my doctor and told my primary doctor to have me call for an appointment.

I did and told them I don’t see male doctors (which of course, that’s who they selected because they can ignore my preference; by law).  I let the office know I needed a female oncologist.

After the new patient coordinator made a condescending remark about, “I should be able to understand her”, the appointment was booked.  I updated my phone number so they could call my cell phone if they needed to reach me.

Five minutes before I was to leave work for the appointment, a 45-minute drive from my job, I received an email cancelling the appointment.  They called the home number as my cell number was never updated (sigh + eye roll + not surprised).  They told me the staff wasn’t aware of the special conditions of my appointment.

After I called them unprofessional for pulling this stunt at the last minute, the Office Coordinator was nice enough to put in writing some clarification points.  Apparently, only one doctor agreed to see me.  It’s common practice all doctors in an office will see a patient and are backup to the primary oncologist.  Not in this case.  It would seem because of my ‘history’ only one doctor would agree to see me.

My ‘history’ turns out to be one of non-compliance.  I didn’t let that one go.  I am not non-compliant; it doesn’t exist.  What exists is a patient’s right to choose his/her treatment.  I have not completed several tests ordered because the doctor left out crucial information that negated my right to informed consent.

I couldn’t complete the CT scan that had been ordered because the facility, that is able to start an IV and add a contrast dye was unable (more like unwilling) to numb the arm before the IV was inserted.  It takes anywhere from two to four attempts to start an IV in either of my arms.  I will not be a pincushion because it’s easier for them not to inject an additional needle in my arm.

I still have no care.  I requested yet another oncologist to see me.  Now, I have to wait an additional 7 to 10 days for that approval to be reviewed.  Then I have to see if the oncologist I chose  (an hour away and a bridge toll) will see me.

Patient care, especially with a life-threatening disease, should be taken seriously and doctors should only receive the patients file with diagnosis and current treatment.  All other matters are completely subjective.  This subjective documentation has cause a lapse in care.

If you  have a moment, please click HERE, sign my petition and share it.  So many people are affected by cancer and we need to stop the health care industry from villainizing patients for choosing that best suits them.

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Sutter Health – 9/25/18

Published September 25, 2018 by lynn k scott

It’s a sad reality when I have to document every phone call and issue because Sutter Health and its providers are fine with denying care to (cancer) patients.  If necessary, this will be a play by play for a lawyer.  I’m also throwing it out there, any lawyer who reads this has my permission to contact me.

  • Current oncologist knew they would not be under contract as of 9/1/18 – failed to notify patient in order to process a referral
    • Now have to see PCP and establish care just to get my referral
  • Try to establish care and the office sends a message and doesn’t make an appointment.
  • Call to follow-up and rude medical assistant claimed she made the call (she didn’t) and then said I swore at her (I didn’t) and disconnected my call.
  • Manage to make an appointment with another doctor in the office.
  • Received call to say appointment was cancelled because “the doctor reviewed your file and won’t see you)
  • Received a call this morning to reschedule with the doctor listed on my medical card.  *Note:  Insurance will let you see any doctor within the practice; this is a point of harassment by the PCP’s office
  • Site Supervisor calls me to tell me I cannot use an “unprofessional tone” with staff.  The tone he is referring to is a frustrated one of being harassed by his staff.
    • Surprisingly….he backed his staff
    • Accused me of being unprofessional with him; oh wait – I was frustrated at this nonsense
  • Threatened my appointment would be cut short if I was not 100% professional with his staff
  • I ended the call telling him my responses would be “yes” and “no”, said, “Good day, Sir” and hung up.

I have no rights.  Sutter Health and its providers should be embarrassed, ashamed and liable for what they are putting me (and no doubt other patients) through.  This is not acceptable and we have no recourse.  They can write anything they want in the chart.  Any complaints to the state, that’s supposed to govern them, only reads the chart and does not contact the patient for details and/or clarification.

I simply ask that people share this.  Silence is their success in being allowed to continue to mistreat, deny care and abuse patients.  Patients are allowed to say “no” and do what is in their best interest; not what’s easiest for the physician’s office.

 

Cancer Journey: Part 14

Published June 21, 2018 by lynn k scott

After yet another phone call with Sutter Health, my oncology referral to Sacramento was denied.  The reason is the doctor is limiting her practice.  They referred me back to Vallejo.  I lived in Vallejo for eight years.  It’s gotten progressively worse and we moved away from that cesspool over six years ago.

I will be getting to see a native-English speaking doctor.  However, she is only in Vallejo one day a week, because her primary office is in a better city.   Colored me surprised…

I tried to make the appointment yesterday, only to be told the new patient coordinator was already gone for the day.  What?  It was 2:15 p.m.  Must be nice.  I left a voicemail that I needed to make an appointment and asked her to return my call.

Now, I tried to schedule an appointment with this provider three months ago.  They were unable to accommodate my schedule and Valerie, the coordinator, either hates her job or believes she is above us poor cancer patients.  I had the displeasure of dealing with her again.

Conversation starts with her calling me back and asking how she could help me.  Ummm…I know I left a message regarding booking an appointment (you know…you’re job – but I didn’t say that).  So, we had to start from scratch.  She never bothered to look for my referral before calling me back.  She had the wrong address (even though I corrected it last time we spoke and it was on the referral).  She didn’t like my exasperated tone.  She kept telling me to stop yelling at her.  At that point, I wasn’t.  However, after the third time she said it, and I told her she was part of the problem, she said, “did you just hear yourself?”

It was then I asked for her supervisor.  I wasn’t going to tolerate her crap a second time around.  Even my coworker, who could hear everything, and knows I wasn’t initially yelling, said, “I can’t believe how much trouble they are causing you.”  See, it’s not just me.  Part of the biggest obstacle of seeing a provider is their staff.  I finally raised my voice at Valerie, didn’t want to make a liar out of her, requested her supervisor and muttered a few not-so-nice words.  Ooops…she heard me…oh well…

Spoke to the supervisor and she starts to tell me that the doctor doesn’t go to the city I live in.  Umm…DUH!  I never said I wanted to see her there.  I knew she was in Vallejo and that’s I was trying to make the appointment.  Valerie couldn’t even get that straight.  We made the appointment.  I was supposed to receive a form to authorize the release of my records.  Three hours later…NOTHING!

I found the form online (which the supervisor should have known it was there).  Completed it, called for the fax number and printed the confirmation that it went through.

So now I sit and wait until my appointment next week.  The only benefit of seeing this doctor is that if I have to have any procedures, I will cross the bridge (same distance as going to Sacramento) and be seen in a better facility, in a better city.

Physicians and their staff need to be held to some sort of standard by the insurance carrier.  Patients need to have a recourse against them and their ‘holier than thou’ attitude.

I admit, I am less-than Christlike in my dealings with the medical community.  I attempt to “behave” for every interaction, yet it rarely plays out that way.  I keep praying for tolerance, but I’m not great at waiting for a response.  I have been “labeled” by my insurance and the providers; almost like a medical blackball.  I’m not giving up and I’m going to raise Cain, Hell and whatever else needs raising til patients are seen as people who need help; attitude be damned!

Cancer Journey: Part 5

Published December 8, 2017 by lynn k scott

I met with a new oncologist yesterday.  Truth be told, I had several mini-meltdowns, at work no-less, trying to get an emergency referral to this new doctor.  I’m on my “off” week for my chemo-cycle and needed the referral, be seen and have the medication ordered and delivered, by today, in order to stay on track.

Prayers were definitely answered.  If you have followed up to now, you know I have received less-than-stellar care for my cancer.  To the point, the doctors should be sued.  Yea, it was that bad.

I walk into this new office; very apprehensive.  Very nice office staff.  They pointed out coffee and tea were available, if I wanted some.  Coffee?  That HAS to be a sign!  The computer system wasn’t cooperating, and the staff was apologizing to me for the wait and having to switch rooms.  Respect?  I’m not used that.  Such a simple thing, yet so many people no longer offer common courtesies.

Then I met the doctor.  She genuinely seemed concerned.  Part of the reason is because I’m technically too young to have colon cancer; without a family history of it.  I told her, what I have told a handful of doctors, there has been a lot of different cancer in my immediate family.  She took note of it.  Then mentioned something no one else has:  Lynch Syndrome.   She thinks I may have this.  From what I have read on the syndrome, it would explain the cancer in my paternal grandmother, my father and my 37-year old sister, and of course, now me.

I have previously declined genetic testing because two previous doctors were focusing on my risk of breast cancer.  They failed to elaborate when I didn’t see a need for it.  Based on other family member’s testing, I am almost certain I have an increased risk of breast cancer.  I didn’t need a test to confirm that.

My new oncologist pointed out, if I had Lynch syndrome, it’s more than just treating me; it could affect my children.  They would have a 50% chance of having the gene that causes the syndrome, thereby increasing their risk of certain cancers.

I am extremely grateful and blessed that I have been assigned to an empathetic, compassionate and caring physician.  This is how healthcare should be.  It shouldn’t be getting patients in and out in record time with minimal information.  Communication is so crucial, yet, often downplayed because too many doctors have their routine and expect patients to conform to it.

Toward the end of the appointment, she said, “you have five children and you need to live.”  That almost brought me to tears.  My chemo has been pushed out (more cycles added).  Extra testing has been ordered.  Vitamin D has been added to my daily dose of pill consumption.  There will be a PET scan and other testing once all the chemo has been concluded.

Overall, my prayers and those praying for me have been answered.  Prayers are still needed (and welcomed) as this battle is far from over.  At least now I feel like I have a fighting chance.

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