Thanks to healthcare reform, reimbursements from health insurers and federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have shrunken drastically — and they’re getting smaller every year.
The result is that doctors are paid less. To compensate, they feel pressure to see patients as
quickly as possible.
It doesn’t matter how compassionate your doctor is; this is simply the harsh reality of our current healthcare system.
In the past, I could spend an hour or more with each new patient, establishing a relationship that I expected to last a lifetime. Nowadays, such a thing is unheard of.
Typically, the first visit now lasts just 30 minutes, and the usual half-hour follow-up is telescoped to between five and 15 minutes.
What this means for you, as the patient, is that you must be fully prepared when you go to a doctor’s office. Don’t waste precious time hunting for forms or trying to recall the names of the prescriptions you take. That way, there will be more time to allow the doctor to get to know you, so he or she can better treat your medical issues.
Each time you see your doctor, plan to get to the office at least 15 minutes early (30 minutes if you’re a new patient).
Why do you need so much advance time? Because every time you go, you will be asked to sign in and also probably verify your insurance information. If you arrive late, you can throw the doctor’s schedule off for the rest of the day.
Arriving early also gives you time to relax and prepare yourself for the visit. There’s nothing like a last-minute rush to cause a spike in blood pressure.
Another tip for new patients: Make sure you know how to get to the doctor’s office ahead of time, and even where to find parking. These kinds of unexpected delays often lead to patients showing up late and throwing schedules off.
This information is usually furnished on the doctor’s website. You can also get it by calling the office for directions.
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