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Moving and getting a new doctor
Old 04-06-2016, 12:36 PM   #1
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Moving and getting a new doctor

A few random facts, preceded by a simple question:

Question, what is a reasonable amount of time to see a new doctor in a new city after moving?


I moved started a new job 130 miles away Feb 22
My house is set to close April 29 in old location
My brother died of colon cancer in 2012. I was checked in 2011 (I was 38 at the time) and need to be checked again, as I am 2-3 years overdue, and I am having some complications similar to his when he was diagnosed.

Most medical practices in my new city are not taking new patients
the one I found which did said first appointment available is in 3 weeks. I happen to be out of country working then
the next one was 4 weeks later.

Even after I see the new primary care which can issue the pre-authorization for the colon cancer screening, it will take me a while to get in and see the specialist.

HMMM

How much of this is ACA
How much of this is "normal"
suggestions?
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:51 PM   #2
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Varies by region and specialty. I know that, other than in the year or two after she started up each of her practices, DW has always had a longer wait than that for her patients. (Specialty not germane to your issue though.)

Do any of the folks you want to see allow you to be on a "will call" or waitlist that they can contact you on short notice when another patient cancels? That is an option in some practices. How about getting insurer to let you opt out of whatever the pre-authorization requirement is? Sounds like you'd be a candidate for that if there is any wiggle room.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jIMOh View Post
My brother died of colon cancer in 2012. I was checked in 2011 (I was 38 at the time) and need to be checked again, as I am 2-3 years overdue, and I am having some complications similar to his when he was diagnosed.
I'm really sorry to hear you've put yourself into this situation. I've done the same and know how you feel. You procratinate for 2 - 3 years on getting a test you know you need and then panic when you finally decide to get around to it and can't have immediate access.
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How much of this is ACA
I can't see any. If you had scheduled your colon exam in a timely manner, we wouldn't even be having this thread. I'm not a fan of all aspects of the ACA, but in this case, it's looks like it's more an issue of your failure to take care of business.
Quote:
suggestions?
Go ahead and get an appointment. Give it some priority in your life and follow through. It's your health and life and you need to treat the situation congruently with how you feel about that.

I truly don't mean to be insensitive to your dilemma. But, OTOH, when you procrastinate 2 - 3 years on a needed med test, you're really making a decison to put yourself in harm's way. Believe me, I understand. I'm way overdue seeing a specialist for followup and your post reminded me that I'm putting myself at risk because something may come up (like your situation) where a speedy appointment is unlikely.

Get yourself scheduled and best of luck.
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Old 04-06-2016, 02:52 PM   #4
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Are you restricted to medical care in your community? It would be worthwhile to find a PCP in Cincinnati as that community would also where you will find the best selection of specialists?
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:13 PM   #5
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This is normal and is nothing to do with ACA. Since it's only 130 miles and you're 3 years late why not see your old doc and get the referral and test done now. Schedule a new doc visit when for whenever you can in your new location.
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:36 PM   #6
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I agree with MRG's reply just do it at your current location.

I sometimes drive 50 miles just to see my chiropractor, the drive is longer than the treatment but it works for me.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:10 PM   #7
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If you are worried and if you need a referral (I don't with my insurance), ask your present doc for a referral that is closer in time, in network, even it is requires more travel. With a colonoscopy you will need someone to bring you back home... can you find someone to help you in your new location?
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:35 PM   #8
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I agree with youbet. You've procrastinated, and now you seem to be looking for excuses and someone/something else to blame. Just do what it takes to get into a doc now. I'm betting the one that has the opening in 3 weeks has one after you get back from being out of the country. Or take MRG's suggestion and go to your old doc, or see if he'll do the referral over the phone. Or keep trying local docs.

Best of luck.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #9
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I agree with other posters in suggest ing that, if you are now ready to proceed with your tests, consult your current physician.

If you were a new patient at my busy clinic, I would be very polite and would schedule you for a comprehensive review as soon as possible without compromising my existing patients, at a time when your old medical records have been made available to me.

To put it another way: Procrastination on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:05 PM   #10
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I have to agree with the others that the easiest way out would be to simply schedule with your regular doctor and drive the 130 miles, staying in a hotel if necessary.

BTW, if you have travel expenses that are solely for medical care and isn't lavish, extraordinary, and has little to no entertainment value, that is a deductible medical expense. Recently when DW and I stayed in a hotel while I underwent a cardiac ablation I could put part (but ONLY part) of the hotel bill on my HSA debit card. It is covered under IRS publication 502 begining on page 10 on the lower right part of the page.

I fully expect the HSA administrator to write back and want some documentation for the charge but I think I have my ducks in a row on this. Worst case is I have to pay the normal income tax rate on the withdrawal since I'm over 65 and the 10% penalty that would otherwise apply is no longer in effect.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jIMOh View Post
...
How much of this is ACA None of it
How much of this is "normal" All of it
suggestions? See your old doc now
A co-worker of mine was diagnosed with colon cancer 2-3 years ago, and she is just now getting her life back to "normal" if you can call it that. The treatments and surgery were hell for her, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

My sympathies on the loss of your brother, and I hope you get checked soon and that everything is ok with you.

Having said that, I have to agree with the rest of the tough love advice in this thread. It's your responsibility to make your health priority number #1, and you already know you haven't been doing that.

Finding a "new patient appointment" with a doctor always takes time. I am currently trying to find a dermatologist who is taking new patients, and I am finding it exceedingly hard. I have been told by one practice that the first available new patient appointment is in June, and by another practice that their first available one is in August.

Instead of blaming someone/something else because I procrastinated, and now cannot get an immediate appointment when I decided I want one, I get on the phone every single day and keep calling dermatologists on my insurance plan. I ask all my coworkers who they see, and I make the calls. I'm sure my persistence will pay off - I just have to keep at it and make it a top priority.

In your situation, with a family history and similar symptoms to your brother's, I would do whatever was necessary to schedule an appointment with your old doc now, and get a referral from them. If it isn't covered by your new insurance due to the distance, I guess you'll have to decide how much risk you're willing to take with your life.

It's only money - and if you wait too long to get checked, you may never enjoy early retirement, or any other kind of retirement.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 04-07-2016, 07:31 AM   #12
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This is normal and is nothing to do with ACA. Since it's only 130 miles and you're 3 years late why not see your old doc and get the referral and test done now. Schedule a new doc visit when for whenever you can in your new location.
I agree with this. The same thing would have happened 20 years ago, 15 years ago, etc.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:53 AM   #13
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We had a problem when our doctor died suddenly. The new doctor was reluctant to order referrals (to my existing medical team) and I was overdue for several (mole man, cardiologist, ophthalmologist). Fortunately nothing serious cropped up during the transition.

(I wonder if your existing specialist can give you a referral to your new city?)
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:58 AM   #14
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Another data point - we're on the cheapest silver plan that's an HMO. Wife called to set up an appointment as a new patient. The first consult was scheduled a few weeks out. She met with the doc, he agreed to do a minor surgery to take out a skin thing the next day. Done. $20 copay for each visit, and we might end up owing a small amount for the biopsy.

So our ACA plan worked out just fine when we needed it, costs seemed reasonable so far (but haven't seen the claims as processed by the insurance company). DW chose the same family practice our family has been at for years (though she hasn't been in a long time so had to go through the new patient route for an appointment).

The procedure went smoothly, DW's doing fine, and the doc said it looked a completely normal non-cancerous small lump of fat when he removed it. Biopsy is a "just to be sure".
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:36 PM   #15
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If you are worried and if you need a referral (I don't with my insurance), ask your present doc for a referral that is closer in time, in network, even it is requires more travel. With a colonoscopy you will need someone to bring you back home... can you find someone to help you in your new location?
I don't have anyone to do the drive in the old location or new location, which was the biggest reason for delaying the test to begin with.
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:39 PM   #16
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I called a gastoenthamologist directly and they said an urgent care could give them the referral the insurance needs, whether the first visit is a colonoscopy or consult is TBD.

I do appreciate the tough love from strangers on the internet I will never meet
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:42 PM   #17
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You need to ask friends and family members to help with transportation. Your children and their mother have an interest in your living a long life.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:41 PM   #18
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I called a gastoenthamologist directly and they said an urgent care could give them the referral the insurance needs, whether the first visit is a colonoscopy or consult is TBD.

I do appreciate the tough love from strangers on the internet I will never meet
I'm really glad to read this. Now take care of it asap!
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:05 PM   #19
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My nephew had colon cancer in his early 20s, almost died. After he was treated his physician referred him and his brother for genetic testing.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:48 AM   #20
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You need to ask friends and family members to help with transportation. Your children and their mother have an interest in your living a long life.
My closest friends live 300 miles away and my closest family member is 450 miles away. My life is not like a typical one... I moved for a job 20 years ago not knowing a single person in area. And the ones which I knew OK I lost in divorce.
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