Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I won't bore you with all the mundane details, but why in the world is a good doctor so hard to find? Is it too much to ask to have someone in your doctor's practice-- a nurse, a physician's assistant, someone-- to return your call within a twenty-four hour period?

I'm going to out her because I think her behavior has been abysmal: if you live in Milwaukee, avoid Dr. Nancy Reeder at Columbia East Clinic. She is fine in person, although a bit rushed, but for the second time in three years (about how often I actually need to speak with a doctor) I have called her and haven't heard back from her office. Not from anyone in her office, even after leaving multiple messages. Completely and totally pathetic, no?

Joe and I have decided to switch doctors but, the problem becomes, where do we go? Finding a great (heck, I'd settle for just good right now) doctor is an overwhelming task.


sixty-five said...

Hope nobody has a serious problem!

Welcome to "health care" in the USA.

This is what I observe: Young people don't even want to BE doctors any more, and those who DO are increasingly choosing specialties that allow them to make a decent living (dermatology is hot right now). The cost of malpractice insurance in this litigation-happy society has gone through the roof. The paperwork required by the HMO's and the insurance companies is beyond comprehension.

Remember that "country test" we just did? Well, pretend you were ranking countries by quality of health care. If your last entry was "United States", you got it just about right. "Regular" doctors (internists, family practitioners, etc) just can't manage their patient loads. More and more we're seeing ad hoc arrangments such as doctors who won't accept patients who have insurance (pay as you go and forget the paperwork) or doctors who take on rich clients on an annual "contract" basis (pay X number of dollars per year to assure that you will be seen).

A good (but slightly depressing) read, and not exactly on the subject is How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman, MD.

Anonymous said...

I do hope that everyone is okay. Unfortunately, in my experience, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I've been lucky with doctors who are responsive, but I also "make" them be responsive by pestering them, and emphasizing that "you" are their priority at that moment, and that it is their responsibility and obligation to provide a standard of care consistent with state law. You also need to "work" the system with the office and investigate how to manage the system most effectively to get the results you need (nurses and staff really are the gatekeepers!). All doctors are going to be busy. So it's just a matter of figuring out a system that you can navigate in (and understanding "how" things get done). Unfortunately, you have to be your own strongest supporter and keep calling and contacting them, until the easiest thing for them is to call you back. AND, another unfortunate thing, is that you need to be thoroughly up to speed on everything medical, and you need to be your own strongest advocate. Sad to say, but that's the current state of affairs out there...... xo H...

SuperMom said...

Thanks for the insight. After days of being put through to her PA and never hearing back, I requested her nurse this morning and heard back immediately. She was a great help and seems like a way to bypass the higher-ups who don't return phone calls until I take the time to find a GP that I really, really like (which I'm convinced is out there somewhere).

The kids' pediatrician and, when I was pregnant, my OB have always been SO responsive and excellent that this lack of communication (which I read as lack of concern and professionalism is completely foreign to me).