November 11, 2014
About a year ago I asked my primary care physician how the new regulations attached to the Affordable Care Act/ Obamacare were going to impact his business. He was not sure exactly but he did feel like it was going to be harder and harder for him to make him make money being a doctor. That in itself is a pretty scary proposition. How can it be in the greatest country in the world that a professional like a doctor cannot make money?
The first of the year I received notice that my Primary Care Physician was closing his practice and that I would be notified when I could pick up my records. My doctor decided that he could not make money on his own and felt like it was important for him and his family to go to work for a hospital. Maybe if he hired a business coach, things would have been different.
One of the strategies a professional like a doctor or an attorney should employ to maximize their results would be to hire a business coach. As one doctor put it to me “he got all the medical education he needed. He finished his education, went through his internship while setting his sights on opening his own practice. He was able to set up his own practice, however in short order he realized he had no idea how to run a business.” That's why all businesses, especially professionals, need a business coach.
After my primary care physician closed his practice I procrastinated until prescriptions ran out. Meanwhile I started getting inundated with Medicare information because I was turning 65. This continued to influence the procrastination. Once I decided I really did need to get a primary care physician I began to ask people for referrals. Every referral I got turned into a nightmare.
The first doctor’s office I contacted told me that despite the fact I had Blue Cross Blue Shield I fell under the Medicare Umbrella. Their practice was taking only eight new Medicare patients per month and the practice currently had a waiting list of over 200 people. The next doctor’s office I called told me they had a four month waiting period for Medicare patients. The next said they could not talk to anybody on Medicare until next April.
I finally found someone that would see me. After the initial visit I had to go back for a fasting blood test. When I arrived on Friday morning about 40 minutes after their scheduled opening time I was the only patient in waiting room. I have no idea how many were in front of me, however it took 20 minutes before I was called for my simple blood test. This doctor conveyed that they would set up physical therapy for me for an issue. After 2 weeks I called them and they said they would call me back that day. Here it is 2 days later and I still have not gotten a call back.
Another medical nightmare during the past month was I went to my urologist for my annual check- up. During my last visit we agreed that if I did not want to I did not need to deal with a hernia that I have. This visit I felt like I needed to do something about the hernia and asked their advice. The doctor agreed it was time to take care of it because it had grown so much. He recommended several surgeons. I called one and got a voicemail. After eight days I still had not received a return phone call. The good thing is that the second one I called set up a consult with a doctor immediately.
No wonder many people are frustrated with the state of medical care in this country.
One last thought is that when I talk to nutritionists and others that are focused on wellness I am often told that physicians focus on treating the issues and not wellness. Another added communication from a nutritionist was that medical doctors received very little training in nutrition. I am not sure I fully believe that doctors are not concerned or fully trained on wellness, however, if that is true it is just plain scary.
My advice is that you ensure you have all your doctors and physicians lined up prior to getting put on Medicare and at the same time ensure that you are flexible enough to have medical doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors, and other wellness professionals working for you and your health.
By the way how is your health?