First let me explain concierge medicine since this is integral to the rest of the post. I pay an annual fee of $1500 so that I get access to my doctor 24/7. I get half hour appointments often same day. I always see him and not a nurse. I can call him directly after hours without having to go through an answering service. I have his email. Blue Cross pays for the medical services, appointments and tests. What I pay for is access and continuance of care. And yes, it is elitist and classist and I had to really think hard about it before I signed up years ago.
So here is my pros and cons list with regard to my doctor. This exercise is to help me decide whether I should stay with him or not.
- He believes in CFS/ME. He knows it is real. He doesn't doubt me or any of my symptoms. This is HUGE!!!
- He treats me well and listens to what I have to say (most times).
- He tolerates my use of alternative medicines.
- I always see him even for little problems, which leads to a continuance of care that I haven't had with other practitioners where I get foisted off on the nurse practitioner.
- I have half hour appointments. Longer if need be.
- I can talk with him on the telephone or via email for off hour care or problems.
- He is good about giving me referrals I ask for.
- He is good about adjusting meds for my weird reactions.
- I've been with him for years so he knows me prior to CFS. He knows I'm not faking or seeking attention or a slacker.
- He is good about giving me med samples if he has them so I don't have to pay for new meds that may not work for me.
- He is good about filling out forms for work, insurance, legal and anything else.
- He is good about dealing with my lawyer and writing affidavits.
- I can get same day or next day appointments.
- I don't have to wait. He runs on time.
- He is a pretty good physician.
- He is genuinely concerned about my physical and mental health.
- He is part of the Winchester Hospital network which is one of the most highly rated hospitals in my area. My hospital care has been top notch.
- I have access to Tufts Medical in Boston with some of the best specialist in the area.
- He has a wait and see attitude. If I want something done I have to push. It took my husband going in with me for me to get to see a virologist when I first became sick. This lead to me not seeing the specialist in Boston until I was sick for six months. This is a BAD problem for me since I tend to not push for things but I know how to deal with this problem and it isn't insurmountable. I just have to grow a pair.
- He sometimes skips tests that later would have helped diagnose/document problems.
- He always says my gait is fine even if I am using a walker to get around with and can't walk unsupported. Not sure why this keeps happening.
- He forgets to set up referrals, particularly if he doesn't think they are important but they are ones I've requested. I have to call to remind them.
- He doesn't like prescribing pain meds. I will have to find a pain clinic if things take a turn for the worse.
- He didn't discuss the potential revocation of my driver's license with me first. I wouldn't be so angry if he had explained his reasoning first, instead of my finding out from the copy of the placard application.
- It costs $1500 to see him.
So I guess I'm staying with him. At least for now. The cons aren't that bad and I have work arounds for most of them. I get to much good stuff by staying with him even if I do have to pay extra. Hubs is just going to have to accept it.