I had my first doctor appointment today with my new doctor with my new health insurance. While I cannot comment on the quality of care at this point with the new facility, I can say that in this new system is so much easier in terms of managing my health care. I now have Kaiser, which is like one giant all-inclusive medical campus. I cannot believe how easy their system is. Need to see a specialist? The primary care doctor enters the referral directly into the computer system and then you make an appointment, right there in the doctor's office. No paperwork, no wondering if the doctor takes your insurance, no pre-approval. Same goes for tests, like blood work. All ordered right from a computer in the doctor office. Need a prescription? The doctor entered all my meds into the computer and the pharmacy is right across the hall. No more driving to another location. Need refills? Go on-line and have them mailed to the house. I cannot believe I dealt with the hassle of the traditional HMO, when this wonderful system has exist for years now. The main reason Kaiser works so well is they manage all of their health care digitally. Its beautiful.
This new doctor was so responsive and helpful. He gave me all the referrals I requested and wrote prescriptions for all my meds, no questions. He even ordered PFTs for me and I didn't even ask him to. Additionally, he wants a chest x-ray on record and order an EKG. He just wants to make sure that the right side of my heart, which pumps all the blood to my lungs, is healthy. Above all that, I was the doctors last appointment and he spent well over an hour getting to know me! I do have a complicated medical history, but I couldn't believe how much time he spent with me.
It will be interesting to see how I assess the quality of care as I continue to meet new doctors. I am just thrilled I don't have to deal with the hassle and frustration of my old insurance. Actually I have an example of the level of frustration the old system had:
On October 23, I saw my CF doctor. Only when I got to the office, they asked me to see a different doctor, my docs new CF Clinic partner. I had no problem with that. The visit went fine. I knew it was going to be my last visit with the insurance switch, so I said my good-byes. A few weeks later, I got a bill. The bill indicated that I did not have insurance on record. I called my doctor and they said there had been a mistake (duh) and it was now fixed. Disregard the bill, they would be billing my insurance. Fast forward a month, I get another bill. This one shows that I had insurance. So, I called the insurance company to see why they didn't pay. They were never billed. I called my doctor. Again, they made another mistake as they didn't have the current billing address of my insurance. Once again, I was told to disregard. She told me either way I was not responsible for the bill (yeah, that is why I have insurance). On December 31 I came home from my holidays to a voice mail from a collection agency asking why I had not yet paid the bill. I thought I was going to go through the roof. After speaking with someone about this (twice) and being told (both times) it was corrected, I get a call from a collection agency? While this seems to have been fixed, this is the type of thing Kaiser eliminates. All the doctors work for Kaiser, they all get paid by Kaiser.