Friday, January 31, 2014

Change! Not all it's cracked up to be.

Visiting the doctor these days is not all it's cracked up to be anymore.  I remember a time when I could sit down with my doctor and discuss face-to-face the reason for my visit and feel that I was being heard.  Not anymore. thanks to the new EMR system.

Have you noticed when you go to the doctor that they are spending more time typing on a computer and less time with you as their patient?  Did you know that that new computer software your doctor is using was mandated by the implementation of Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?  That's right!  Obama strikes again.  In fact, if your doctor's office does not implement the new EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system by I believe 12/31/13 their office would be penalized and have to pay a fine.

My family and I have been going to the same doctor's office since Lexi was a baby. (she will 15 in June)  I love my doctor's office!  They have been amazing at diagnosing medical conditions in Lexi and in my husband.  In fact, because of their quick thinking and attention to detail, they literally saved Lexi's life.  I cannot say enough about this office.  They are wonderful and they work very hard to take care of us.  BUT, now that this new computer software requirement has been put into practice, I notice a huge difference at the office.  The first problem I have noticed, is that I cannot get in to see them as quickly as I would like, or need to.  I have NEVER had to wait to get into their office, EVER.  If I call now, it could be a day or two before I am able to get in, and that I don't like at all.  Then when you sit down with the doctor they are busy filling out a computer screen and not talking face-to-face with me anymore.  I don't like that.  AND the entire office seems to be on edge now, and that is not fair.  I do not like that at all.  There is a lot of whispering by the office staff going on now and that is never good.

Yesterday I had an appointment to discuss my uncontrolled asthma issues.....again.  The bottom line, more medication for me.  However, my doctor and I discussed the issues I was having with getting in to see her and the overall attitude in the office.  She and I talked for over 30 minutes about what she was experiencing.  She said she had to lighten her patient load and that was the reason I was experiencing trouble in getting in to see her.  She said it use to be that, if a patient was coming in for something like a cold she could take care of them in a few minutes and fill out the paperwork on their chart and have them on their way in 15 minutes.  She said she use to overbook, seeing at least 3 of these patients at a time.  Now with the new EMR system it takes 45 minutes to complete all the requirements the software has in order for her to complete the task and move on the to next patient.  So, for those folks coming in with major issues and/or multiple problems, it can take hours.  She said she has had to complete work at home at night, on the weekends, and she has started to take extra days off during the week to be able to just keep up with the load.  She also mentioned that certain insurance companies have required more documentation, as well, in addition to the governmental requirements.  My doctor said she has been up late at night working on patient electronic medical records.  She has even called me on a Saturday to help me with my issues in the past.  She never calls me on the weekends.  I was impressed by that until I was informed why she had to do that. 
She then mentioned a situation she had with another patient who had to be referred for tests.  My doctor was trying to recall all the information discussed during their office visit but needed to talk to her patient to confirm some things.  When she called this patient her entire family was there and when the patient answered the phone and realized it was the doctor, she burst into tears.  She said if you are calling me on a Saturday with my results then I must be dying.  It took my doctor a good half an hour to get this patient to calm down enough to explain the real reason for her call.  She did give her results, but it was good news she had for the patient.  Can you believe that?  Doctor's generally do not call on the weekends.  This is their time to spend time with their families unless they are on call or something, right??

My doctor said the EMR system is NOT user friendly, it does not help the doctors do their job more efficiently, and has made most patients feel like they are just a number, or being herded in like cattle. I totally agree!

All and all, my visit with the doctor was good.  She is amazing and she always makes me feel like she is helping me find the solutions to my medical issues as she works to find the best care options for me. 

When I got home from her office I went online to find out more about this new requirement.  Did you know that there are incentives provided to the software companies and not to the doctors?  That's right, the incentives are not for the doctor's offices that must use the software but for the companies selling their crappy products to the medical offices. So, bottom line, my doctor's office paid to buy the software, had to decrease their patient loads which means less revenue for them, and they are also taking away from their personal time at home with their families now to just keep up with the work loads!!!  That sucks big time!  My doctor said her son's teacher has even noticed a change in the one-on-one time that she was giving to her young son, helping him with his school work.  She hasn't been able to do it.  So, he is suffering, which is not good. 

What is happening to our country these days?  We have the new Common Core garbage for schools, the Obamacare garbage dictating our medical choices and the way doctors function in their practices, AND we have federal employees losing pay, or having to use their saved vacation time to cover the time the government decides to shut down just because they can't make decisions.  So,those considered as "first responders" such as police and fire are required to work WITHOUT pay during these times of the shut down and once the government decides to open back up, they do not get reimbursed for their time.  If these individuals want to get paid for that time, they have to use their vacation time.  I think those that are required to work during these times should get paid double time when the government decides to open up again.  In fact, I think the money to pay these first responders should come right out of the those pockets of the individuals who made it necessary for the government to shut down in the first place.  I bet that would make them think twice before another shut down occurred!  What is happening to America?  It's so sad.

I for one, did not vote for Obama and I have heard from many people that they regret their decision to vote for him now too.  I so wish everyone would have realized this before the elections.  We could have had a president like Mitt Romney.  Everyone I talked to was concerned that Mitt Romney was too conservative.  Is he too conservative now?  I still believe that man would have been great for our country. 

Bottom line, I got a lot of information during my doctor visit yesterday.  I learned a lot more than I expected to learn and I have a new appreciation for all that they do for me and my family. 

Give us your feedback about Obamacare or the high cost of medical insurance.  We want to hear from you.  Thank you.

The Mormon people who are citizens of [the United States of] America today are intensely loyal to its Constitution and desire in every way to promote the God-given freedoms it was designed to protect. They have had experience with the tragedy that results when those freedoms are not protected, but this only feeds their determination to do all within their power to protect these freedoms, both for themselves and others, everywhere.
( Source: Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball 405; from an address given at the rededication of the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Bridge, Omaha, NE, 21 April 1979 )
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