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My View: Finding the right doctor for what ails you can be very, very complicated

By Adele R. Haas

I truly am grateful for the excellent medical care that I have received through the years and for the specialized care that was top notch when needed, but I have a problem.

Nowadays, outside of office hours, if you are seriously in need of care you are urgently directed to go immediately to “Really Fast Care For Really, Really, Sick People Incorporated.”

If you just need help to fix your various parts you will then need to make appointments. You wonder which bits and pieces fit into which specialties so you start with your family doctor (general practitioner) but instead you get a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant and wonder how badly off you need to be to see the “real” doctor.

The new style of medical care is more complicated and does not allow the doctor and patient to be the ones in charge. Instead, others in the pyramid decide who takes care of which part, and when, if and how.

Having to self-diagnose in order to get the right specialist or nonspecialist is a dilemma, so I get on the computer and confirm that I have beri beri or scurvy or the vapors. Then I am not sure which of the specialists I should see.

Apparently I need a specialist who manages obscurities and then of course the specialist in obscurities may not be on the approved list and you pay out of pocket for this and then you are diagnosed with beri beri or scurvy or the vapors.

And, does insurance cover anything any more, or just what you don’t have? You pay a whopping copay and then get additional charges because beri beri and scurvy are no longer covered (were there shots for that?)

Eventually I get to go to the big shiny specialist mega medical building that now, in house, slices, dices and provides post-op therapy. There, the parking lot is as big as two football fields and at 8:30 a.m. no parking spaces are left so apparently you should park your car the night before and use Uber to get there the next day. You check into what appears to be the lobby of a luxury hotel and you are thinking, “Wow, now who is paying for all of this?”

This is reminiscent of the old days when you could judge the elite status of your specialist by his magazines. If they were mostly Skiing Today, Travel and Leisure and Golf Digest, you felt secure because you are thinking he must be really good. You also get a pretty good idea of who is paying for all of this.

If the office of your new doctor has only out of date National Geographics piled up, you might be thinking, “Uh oh, this can’t be good.”

So thinking it would be efficient and prudent to mention more than one problem to a doctor, when I went in for my one-year checkup after a knee replacement, I thought I would ask about my arm that has been bothering me.

I was told I needed a separate appointment, because of insurance rules. Yeggh.

Yes, Virginia, this is why medical cost are so high.

I love my orthopedist and bless him daily for doing such a great job on my knee, but he sadly agreed I needed a separate appointment for the arm.

Wait until he hears my head is not doing too well because of the vapors. This could go on and on.

Megaplex here I come, again. Save me a parking spot, this could be a regular thing (I have a lot of parts).

Adele R. Haas is a retired dietitian/instructor. She and her family wish you a healthy, happy year ahead for all your parts and pieces.

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