Even if you are not currently impacted by the Affordable Care Act, and even if you have health insurance provided by your employer, the medical profession has been totally changed by the Affordable Care Act. (See New York Times.) Here are some personal changes that I have experienced over the last few weeks:
1. I have gone to the same dermatologist for over 30 years. Prior to my visit to the dermatologist yesterday, I was advised that I had to bring my insurance card, a list of my medications and a photo ID (as if they don’t know what I look like after 30 years). When I arrived, I was not met by the long-time receptionist or the same familiar nurses, but rather an administrator from the new clinic now associated with my doctor. Everything was computerized, and I spent significant time waiting for the administrator to input my data. Appointments were set at five minute intervals, so naturally I waited for my appointment. My doctor was the same–just as kind and interested and supportive as ever, but he too seemed caught in the mire of new regulations, of which he had little to say.
2. I recently took an elderly relative to the doctor with an 11:15 a.m. appointment. Again, we waited. We were told that the “powers that be” changed the rules and now the clinic had to take walk-ins and emergencies, both of whom had priority over the 11:15 a.m. appointment. While it is easy to understand emergencies, it is not easy to understand the priority of walk-ins when you have a long-scheduled appointment. When asked by the 89 year old women why she had to wait, she was told that the decision-makers had ruled……..not unlike the explanation at my dermatologist’s office.
3. My internist retired. He sent a letter saying “Medicine has changed (electronic health records, insurance, technology, finance, politics) along with the rest of the world.” It seems to me that many of our best and brightest but older doctors are making the decision to retire from the profession. This is a great loss to me, who has had the same physician care since arriving in Milwaukee in 1977.
4. I have been referred to some good doctors now that my regular physician is retiring. I felt secure that I would be able to obtain a good physician recommended by friends and family. No way! The doctors that I called for appointments were “too busy” to handle new patients, so each time I was referred to the younger generation of physicians. I think in the legal world this is called “succession planning,” but it sure is unsettling when you are the one being shuttled out with little say in the process. But with good luck and good contacts I have found a new doctor, but I wonder if others will have the same good luck and good contacts. I worry about my parents and my family. I worry about how the world is changing and its impact on my little granddaughter. What type of medical care she will obtain in her future? I highly doubt that she will receive the same type of personal care provided to me. http://www.vhdlaw.com/practice-areas/
I agree with my doctor, medicine has changed along with the rest of the world. Give me the good old days.