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Paging Dr. Hank

October 26, 2011

Our favorite TV show this summer was Royal Pains. It’s about a doctor who opens a concierge/VIP practice in the Hampton’s. I love Dr. Hank and wouldn’t mind having him as our doctor ( I can dream, can’t I ?). More and more of these types of practices are opening up and many existing doctors offices are changing their practices to this model. They charge a yearly fee and the patient will get VIP treatment…no more time waiting in crowded waiting rooms, in home visits, if necessary, and other special treatment options.

Today, I took my elderly neighbor to see her internist for a check up. ( I do that once in a while, I like to help out when I can.) This doctor is in the process of changing her practice to the concierge model. Some of her new patients are already paying the fee and get the special treatment. While we sat ( my 3-year-old was there, as well) and waited, as did other patients, we saw some VIP’s come in and they walked right into the back.They paid for it so that’s what they expect. That’s great. But what about those patients that didn’t know and can’t afford it?

My poor neighbor sat waiting for almost two hours before the doctor finally saw her. Well, and so did we. Don’t ask how my little one did – poor baby – but she was a trooper. Why did she have her appointment set for a certain time? Why didn’t someone tell her that it was possible she would have a bit of a wait because of the changes going on? I just don’t get it. It happens all the time in doctors offices everywhere. I get that you run behind and that things crop up and an emergency might take you away. But 2 HOURS??? Really.

The part that always gets me is that they will charge you, the patient, for a visit if you are more than 15 minutes late and you have to reschedule. Is their time more precious than ours? I don’t think so.

Ok, I feel a bit better. Venting always helps, doesn’t it?

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  • Hilary October 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    That is crazy! I can understand the VIP model, but not when regular patients have to sit for hours. I would be so angry… Your neighbor is one lucky woman to have you!

    • Susi October 29, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Hilary- the full change over isn’t going into effect until January 2012…until then you are pretty much out of luck as a regular patient, because the VIP’s will get their turn first. And yes, it is crazy…

  • Chris V October 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve actually seen a news report about how long people have had to wait, and the interesting thing is, several people have actually BILLED THEIR DOCTORS FOR LOST TIME WAITING…AND THEY’VE BEEN PAID! Apparently it’s hit or miss, but many doctors will pay the patient the amount, if it’s reasonable. These people write the doctor a letter, with explanation and reasoning behind sum requested for reimbursement. They then deliver the written letter to the doctor in person, or by mail. In person probably has better effect, lol.

    • Susi October 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Chris – I don’t think my neighbor would do that, but it’s certainly an interesting thought! ( something to keep in mind for future reference!!!!)

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