I live in the SE. We moved into Alabama 4 years ago. It’s really stinking hard to get into a drs office here. They want you to fill out new patient forms BEFORE you are considered for scheduling an appointment, a lot aren’t accepting patients at all. Then its really hard to get an appointment with an endocrinologist’s office, you need a referral, it’s a 12-week wait for an appointment. And the nearest one is 90 minutes away, so you take off a half-day minimum to go for a checkup every 2 months. It makes working with vacation time extremely difficult. Then almost every place I’ve worked here takes a half-day on Fridays and so they want you to make all your appointments on Friday afternoons…but Drs offices are also closed on Friday afternoons.
They (My endo and my GP) don’t give out prescriptions for a full year’s supply, to make sure you continue to come to appointments, which is fine. I’m normally very good about attending appointments I make…but my boss recently had a major health emergency resulting in my needing to reschedule my appointment and they couldn’t take me this season and I ended up needing an emergency prescription. She filled it for 1 month, but it took 8 weeks to get an appointment. So then I had to make an appointment with my GP to get an emergency prescription because we are moving and won’t even live here by the time the endocrinologist can see me again. And I’m not sure he will fill the prescription at all because he’s not my endocrinologist and told me he doesn’t “do” diabetes care.
We are getting ready to move to another small southern city in less than two weeks and so it starts all over again. I need a referral to even get an appointment, which isn’t even required by my insurance. It’s just a way to make it harder for me as a patient to get service.
I know, there’s all these protocols and privacy regulations and maybe it stops people from getting upset with them for not having insurance coverage or not following their insurance protocols and messing up their coverage, but I just wish it were a bit easier. (I have ADHD too… so making things more complicated with additional steps is doubly-hard on me. I know that isn’t the provider’s fault, it just is what it is.)
I just feel defeated dealing with work requirements and managing my health care. I do not have a job yet in SC, so I’ll at least get established.
Well, it wouldn’t be fine with me–yeesh. We don’t take these drugs because they’re fun and make us feel nice. Seems like something they might do with an uncompliant patient as a last resort, not inflict it on everyone to make sure they come in. My entire life with T1 (35 years) I’ve relied on being able to “stockpile” a few supplies over time precisely because our sh**** health system is so unreliable. Getting stuck in a situation like you are (righteously) ranting about is precisely why!
Other than sympathizing with your anger, the one practical thing I’d mention is that you can get R & N insulin for pretty cheap without prescription from Walmart. It’s a very different regimen from the basal-bolus routine most of us are used to, whether we use a pump or MDI, but if you’re really stuck for a while between prescribers, you can bridge the gap with it. Hopefully it won’t come to that but everyone should know about it.
My endo usually has emergency supplies that she constantly gets from the pharmaceutical companies reps that she gives out when needed. But I always try to stockpile, I hate when I’m switching to something new because I don’t have a stockpile yet, although usually I have my insulin etc left from what I was previously using.
You know what – there could be an earthquake, a flood, a fire, a volcanic eruption, an emergency of some kind (and not necessarily a natural disaster) that could leave you without your regular health care for weeks or even months.
Every doctor for an insulin-dependent patient should be thrilled to know that their patients have at least a few month’s worth of supplies to tide them over in such an emergency.
Yes, finding a doctor is always a pain. I hate when insurance companies want you to switch ones in a heartbeat as if they are identical twins. Try Urgent Care if there is such a thing at your place, may be they can help you with a prescription since you need care and its urgent. Also, you might want to inflate your insulin needs, it will let you build a safety net.
Just a quick question - is the place you are moving to, even though it is also a small city, going to be better off for you? I live in a small Southeastern City and yes it took me several months to get an appointment with the endocrinologist here when I first moved here too, and had to get an emergency prescription from a GP as well. Once I was a patient with the endo, though, it became a lot easier to get appointments that fit into my schedule. Mine are also closed on Fridays as is my Family Doctor (PCP) and yes, that is a nuisance but we do have an urgent care available so that helps. You may find your new city will be somewhat better, but your whine is certainly valid!
May I ask what State and area you are in or moving to?
I currently live in Tuscaloosa, AL but we are moving to Greenville, South Carolina. I’m assuming it will be easier because the population for Clemson/Anderson/Greenville area is 1 million. The pop of Tuscaloosa is only 125,000 w/o university students. I have to drive into Birmingham, but so does the entire rest of the NW part of the state.
We moved here from Fort Wayne, IN and I never had an issue with getting an appointment or scheduling. There were 2 endo practices, and both had CDE/NPs as well as Drs. The pop there was 300,000.
Good luck with the move. Greenville, South Carolina is quite a lovely part of the country - I am in between those two locations about 25 miles south of Atlanta in a smallish city of 27,000. I have to go to Atlanta for some things but fortunately have a really great endo practice here. You should find it a lot better in the Greenville area in many ways and hopefully you will not have any problems establishing a new medical support group in the area. Good luck and enjoy your new home.
My last endo gave me a 6-month prescription on everything so I would have time to find a new doctor. I just moved to Wyoming from Colorado. I waited 5 months there to get into an endo. I hope you can get a prescription for 6 months so you have time to find a new doctor. I totally relate with your frustration and have experienced similar in Idaho and Colorado.
All I can offer is a virtual shoulder to cry on and tons of empathy. Stick with it!
I’m in Canada, so things work a bit differently here, but some things are the same. I moved to this area a few years ago. No doctors were accepting new patients. I would drive 3 hours back to my old doctor and visit drop-in clinics. Eventually, I found a few that were taking new patients. I filled out their applications and three said no. Others never got back to me or said that they were full. One doctor had actually taken on my brother-in-law the week before. Doctors should not be able to pick and choose their patients.
I was finally accepted by someone in another city. An old geezer who kept contradicting himself and getting my prescriptions wrong. I have a reliable one now, still in another town, but closer. Guess what, she only works tuesdays and thursdays!
OK, I’m done. Don’t give up. I know it feels like a full-time job in itself, but keep trying. It’ll be worth it in the end.