Oh no! My doc is going to retire!
This seems to be a popular statement this year. What the heck is going on?
For me, it took decades to find my DOC CREW. I have the magic potion that finally gave me a better quality of life. Together, we made the crazy and complicated journey to good health, with tests, trials, and finally, treatments. This was by no means an easy journey. I admit. I did my share of doctor hopping. I am guilty of this. I highly recommend not doing that today.
They sure do not make them like they used to. I remember my family doc coming to the house or meeting at his office no matter the time of day. He became an extension of my family. We did not have a time limit and if my insurance didn’t work he found a way.
Through the years these types of practices have come to a halt. We are now lucky to get fifteen minutes and we have to go to war with the insurance companies on a regular basis. You would have thought medical advancement and technology would have made life simpler.
If you are looking for a new doctor because yours retired, or for other reasons, here are a few key things to think about:
● What insurance does the doctor take?
● Are they accepting new patients?
● Do I need a referral?
● What do online reviews say about the doctor?
● Do I have my medical records ready to go?
● How far away is the doctor? Can I reach them in inclement weather?
● What is the doctor’s education?
● What is the doctor’s specialty?
● How long has the doctor been in practice?
● Do you have a hospital preference? If so, which hospital is the doctor affiliated with?
● Is age and/or gender important to you?
● How long will it take to get an appointment?
● Who will help me with all this?
Rest assured that the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter is here to help! We have a Physician Directory available, and our many patient navigators can help you with your research if you feel overwhelmed. Visit our website at www.lupusgreaterohio.org for more information or to connect with your local patient navigator.
It is true that physicians are facing many challenges today. Some are choosing other fields such as research and others are choosing to retire.
A recent study, conducted in July, by the nonprofit Physician’s Foundation found that many doctors were leaving their practices because of the pandemic. Of the 3,500 doctors surveyed, eight percent said they had already closed their offices. Nearly half had reduced staff and seventy two percent had reduced income.
In addition to financial pressures, others were retiring because of their health, age, or medical conditions put them at risk.
Another survey by the California Medical Association (CMA), found that eighty seven percent of doctors are worried about their financial health. Overall, their revenues were down by a third. A quarter of the respondents said their revenue was down by fifty percent.
Doctors’ ages are a factor as well. Especially for primary care physicians. As the baby boomers age, they require more specialists.
I know this to be true, from personal experience. It is a challenge for us, as patients, that each time we visit our docs we are often shipped off to other specialists.
Frustration and worry are what we are stuck with. Now what do we do? The first step is to find out if you need a referral and what the plan of action is. Do you need to continue to see that doctor? Or is there no need for follow up?
In my years of experience as both a patient and President of the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter, I have often felt that we learned lupus together. It has been a long road, and one that we are still riding, but we’ve made great progress! I was diagnosed at a time when there was little to no knowledge of lupus.
Fortunately for most of you, there is the Internet. However, I caution you to only visit reputable sites, including www.lupusgreaterohio.org and www.lupus.org. You can also call us at any time at 1 (888) NO-LUPUS.
Remember this too…please hand write a note of appreciation to that special doc that is moving on to retirement. That doctor made great sacrifices in their life to treat you. They deserve your farewell and respect, it was earned. Poor soul most likely just paid off their student loans.
Looks like I am going to roll up my sleeves and start doc shopping. Please do not overwhelm the new guy with your hours of medical stats and lessons learned. Medical history will help him but let him come up to breathe. Most likely, the new doctor has already looked over all your records. Share with the doctor your most pressing concerns. Together, you’ll come up with an action plan that works.
Best of luck!