Monday, April 15, 2013

Finding a great pediatrician

I never truly understood what it meant to have a good pediatrician until we moved out of state! We were very lucky that when Jax was born, we had already had this fantastic pediatrician for 7 years.

I know you have heard the problems we've had finding a doctor here in California. In a year and a half we've tried and dumped 6 docs, and talked to dozens more on the phone. Most wouldn't touch Jax with a ten foot pole. Some said I needed a doctor that worked out of a childrens hospital, because they deal with complicated kids. But I found that those doctors offices were super busy, filthy dirty, and had residents that made the appointments twice as long and not as personable.
Then I thought I'd found the perfect doctor. She was outspoken, just like our ped in Utah was, and she was very involved. I thought, finally, after a year we've found the one.

Then came the incident.

Now most would tell me I just need to chill out, or that I'm over reacting. But walk a day in my shoes with Jaxson. You would agree with me in a heartbeat!
I took a form into her office that needed her signature. The lady at the desk told me it would be 10 dollars to sign the form. I about dropped dead. I have a stack of five or six forms at home that needed to be signed for Jax to start school. Your telling me I have to pay 60 dollars to have papers signed?? Now a bunch of people have told me their doc makes them pay to sign. Thats fine if you stay with them, but I will not! I've NEVER had a doctor make me pay to sign a form. I feel like that is part of their job as a pediatrician!
When I talked to her on the phone about it is what sealed the deal that she was kicked to the curb. She claimed that she signed this paper at home, at 11 at night. To which I replied....bull crap! It takes 30 seconds to sign a form. The way she was talking to me made it clear that she was more concerned about money than the children she cares for. When she told me I could find someone else I said, I sure will, click!

Now doctors in California are different than doctors in Utah. Its just the way they do things. I've accepted that, and remembered that when looking for a pediatrician. But I work so closely with the pediatrician, that I'm an expert when it comes to what you need in a doc. I say this because most people that I talk to say they LOVE their ped, but I could walk into the office and find multiple things that would have me looking elsewhere. This is probably why my pediatrician in Utah that I had for 13 years wants me to sit down with her and write a book. I'm all for it, and we plan on getting together at some point and actually do it, if I can ever get back to Utah for a long enough period!

I have finally found the pediatrician I've been looking for the past 1 1/2 years! And you want to hear something strange? She does not have that much experience with fragile children. But I would still recommend her to any mom of a fragile child that asks for help finding a doc.
First thing, she does NOT charge to sign forms!
Second, her office staff is amazing! They answer calls quickly, and return calls usually within the hour. My prescriptions are refilled as soon as they hit her office, and messages are sent to the doc immediately.
Like I said, she has never had a complicated kid, Jax is by far her most medically fragile. But she listens and goes by what I tell her. She calls whoever she needs to call to get our answer if she doesn't know it. She has jumped in with both feet, and she gives her time and undivided attention, which is what we need.  I actually think Jax is great for her. I think he is going to further her education. He is going to make her think and he's going to make her use those skills to the best of her ability. I'm really excited to see where this relationship leads us. Hopefully it will be like our doc in Utah, who is still like a member of our family, and we continue to talk on a regular basis.
I found this doc just in time, because we have kept them super busy with paperwork and insurance crap getting things covered this past month. I can't even begin to imagine what the other ped would be saying, or how much she'd be charging me for this "extra" stuff.
She needs to remember that this paperwork is not "extra" for us. Its what we deal with on a regular basis. I don't get paid one cent for the phone calls and paperwork I do on a daily basis, and she shouldn't either!

There is one thing still missing with the doctors here.
Our ped in Utah started the Medical Home program. Its basically where the ped is involved deeper with the child and family than a regular doc. Instead of all the specialists being separate and getting conflicting info, everyone goes through her, and she is the "center" if you will, of care. They have a nurse that helps, and its like having your own team that is always available 24/7. I haven't found a medical home here. I may bring it up to our new ped. If your interested in learning about medical home, here is my old pediatrician talking about it. Ask your doc if they have that program, or know about it. If they don't, its something to research and try to get in place in your local peds office!
Man I miss this women so much!! She actually talks about Jax in one of her interviews, makes me tear up every time I watch it!


momof4inNY said...

I truly hope you have finally found "the one"! I LOVE our peds office. My 17 yr. old has CP-amongst other things. Our ped has been fantastic since day one! They are also amazing with my other kids-even calling my home on the weekend to check on them.

charity said...

i wish drs around here would be like the medical home. i know my daughter's pediatrician gets the papers from appointments we go to with the specialists but i dont think she reads them. her doctor is nice but i don't think she has ever met a special needs child like my daughter.with that being said i cant change pediatricians because i was told it would interfer with her being able to see some of her specialists. im glad you have finally found a ped for jaxson.

The VW's said...

Glad you finally found a doc who is up to the task! You need a great one for Jax!

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

I can't believe the doctor would charge you to SIGN a form. That's ridiculous. I'm glad you found somebody else, and I hope that she works out well for you! The medical home thing sounds super cool. It's sounds similar to the special ed IEP system. (I have my degree in sped, so that's what I can relate it to). :) Your kids are so fun to follow! Thanks for sharing.

Astrin Ymris said...

Re: "It only takes 30 seconds to sign a form"

If all she does is sign it-- yeah. But if she actually READS the form before she signs it, probably not. Especially if, after reading it, she has to go back to your child's records and review them in order to decide whether she CAN sign approval on whatever the form is for. Signing forms without reading them could theoretically cause legal problems for a physician.

From what I've read, some physicians started charging because they were spending hours dealing with such requests for their time and expertise which health insurance companies do NOT reimburse for. The fees charged don't usually generate a profit for the doctor; they simply partially compensate doctors for the time and overhead required to fulfill such requests.

Lacey said...

Astrin, I understand what your saying. But this form was not something she would have had to research, and his school forms are simply saying ok to letting him go to school with a trach, feeding tube, etc. My problems lies with the fact that families of medically fragile children are nearly bankrupt as it is! There are so many little extra things we have to pay for on a daily basis, and its tough! This new ped had to sign a form, to which she did look up his history, and I made an appointment so that time was allotted for her to sign the form. Then she gets paid for that time, and I'm not paying extra for forms! Just a doctors visit that is covered by my insurance anyway! I'm totally ok with that!

Astrin Ymris said...


Re: "...But this form was not something she would have had to research, and his school forms are simply saying ok to letting him go to school with a trach, feeding tube, etc..."

Um, has it occurred to you that because of Jaxson's medical fragility she WOULD take the time to review his records carefully before signing off on his going to school? If she's always been straight with you before, why would you doubt her word that she signed the form at 11 pm?

Re: "... My problems lies with the fact that families of medically fragile children are nearly bankrupt as it is! There are so many little extra things we have to pay for on a daily basis, and its tough!..."

This is a valid point. I think she might have cut you some slack here, given that Jaxson is a special case. I'm guessing a good portion of the forms you need signed are of the "Yes, this kid still needs special services" variety, which WOULD only take 30 seconds to sign!

Hey, if you're happy with your new pediatrician, then it's all good. I just always feel compelled to present the other side of the story.:-)

As chance would have it, my own doctor returned a call I made to him shortly after I posted this-- well AFTER office hours in our time zone.

Lacey said...

Astrin, I totally understand what your saying. This ped that wanted to charge for forms, I only had for a couple months, so we didn't have a relationship yet. My ped in Utah went WAY above and beyond what she was getting paid to do! Honestly, I wouldn't have mind paying her 10 bucks a form, because she called me at all hours of the day as well. I also had her home and cell numbers, although I never used them unless it was a dire situation, which is why she trusted me with them. If this doc was that great I wouldn't have minded much, but when she got all huffy and nasty with me, I knew then that she had NO idea where some of her patients were coming from, and I didn't feel like I would be able to form a good doctor/mom relationship, so it was better to try and find someone that I would be able to.