Good morning, and welcome to day 20 of the Migraine Awareness Month blog challenge.
Today's challenge prompt is:
Migraine Awareness Month Blog Challenge #20: "Run, Forrest, Run!"
Describe the approach you think is best when it's time to move on to a new doctor.
First, it's best to have an appointment set with the doctor we want to see before we tell our current doctor we're leaving because we never know long we might have to wait for that appointment, and we don't want to be caught without a doctor.
For the most part, I believe in the direct approach - in politely, but honestly telling the doctor why we're moving on and requesting a copy of our records. There are a couple of possible temptations here:
- One is to take the easy way out, and tell our current doctors nothing. We can always have the new doctor request a copy of our records.
- The second temptation, if we're angry or especially frustrated, is to lash out at the doctor. I'd recommend avoiding this because it puts the doctor on the defensive and seldom accomplishes anything.
I think it's best to explain to our doctors in person why we're leaving whenever possible. Letters are the next best choice, but sometimes, office staff read and file letters, and the doctors never see them. Being honest, but polite and constructive as we tell them what the problems have been is important. Hopefully, at least part of what we say will resonate with the doctor and make things better for the patients who come after us. When we're going to have the opportunity to speak with the doctor in person, it's best to make some notes of the main points we want to make so we don't forget any of them.
Regarding getting a copy of our records: I've had office staff try to tell me that they couldn't give my records to me. Not only can they give them to us, they're required by law to do so. Once we request our records in writing, HIPAA requires them to provide them within 30 days. HIPAA also limits what they can charge us to what it actually costs them to make the copies. They cannot charge for "research" time, staff time, etc.
This isn't an easy discussion to have with a doctor, but in the long run, it can end up being good for us, the doctor, and their future patients. Just make some notes, be honest, calm, logical, and polite. You'll feel much better about it when it's done.
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