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OT- Where are the doctors?

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I’ve said before I work in mental health. I spend day in day out helping others deal with whatever crap they have to. I do this because I honestly love my job but of course it can had a negative impact on you. On top of this I had a DNA / environmental soup growing up that wasn’t exactly perfect.

Here’s the thing that really bothers me. I work in a hospital, in a mental health ward, and I have company provided insurance. Guess what I can’t do…. That’s right I can’t even access the same care my patients get.

GP’s don’t want to touch my mental health issues. They don’t want to prescribe my medication to start with let alone tweak it to work better. Hey I understand and personally I don’t want them trying either but when I call my insurance help line they want to send me to a place that is 3 hours away. I’m not exaggerating. The only other option they give me for where I live is a walk in clinic that doesn’t actually have appointments and is part of the reason we have such a high return rate. It takes over 6 weeks to actually get in with a DOCTOR during which you HAVE to speak with their rotating staff of bearly out of school social workers to do “therapy”. For those who don’t know when you leave acute care the doctor gives you a 30 supply of medication. That means our clients go out and CAN’T get their medication refilled through this location.

This isn’t a new issue but it’s sickening. I think EVERYONE should have access to the medical care they need be it mental or physical but isn’t is disturbing that the person who’s supposed to be treating you can’t even get treatment themselves?

Despite living in one of the most populated locations in my state there is a severe shortage of psychiatrist.  Then on top of it my insurance won’t cover the few there.


NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

I pay $630 for my portion of health insurance.  I think that's pretty pricy.  So earlier in the year, my pediatrician suggested my 11 year old might be suffering from depression.  This is my daughter that was in the gifted program who would react very strongly to clothing and how it fits and feels on her skin.  She suggested she might have a sensory processing disorder and wanted me to have her tested.  Now I have health insurance.  There was NO ONE who would take my blue cross blue health health insurance for a child.  NO ONE.  Not one provider.  If she was an adult, yes but a child?  NO!  And the test?  Just the test alone was $3000.

So her father and I called a conference with her two teachers at the gifted school and they both agreed they didnt see any signs of depression.  We just ended up changing her school and she seems fine.  Not depressed.  It was just situational and no chemical imbalance and she seems to be growing out of the sensory processing disorder concerning clothing as her doctor said she would.  She is wearing other clothing now.

But my friend's son just committed suicide.  He was a sophomore in high school.  He was 15 years old.  She is a house wife and her husband installs kitchen cabinets.  I don't think they have health insurance and were using whatever was free in our county which was very subpar and clearly didn't help.  I honestly feel, I do, that if they had better insurance he would still be alive today.  But then again, I pay a crap a load of money for "good" insurance and there wasn't anywhere I could use it.

So my kid's stepmother works at the University and she ended up putting my daughters on her health insurance during open enrollment.  We are hoping if the issue of depression ever comes up again, we will have more options.      

notasm3's picture

When I was first on Medicare I could not find a single gyn. who was taking new Medicare patients.  I have no problem going to a GP/Internist?NP for a PAP smear - but none of them here want to do that.  And I was in a highly populated area with a major medical school - lots of providers.   My sister had a client was was a gyn. who agreed to see me as a favor for my sister.

And I could easily afford to pay for a doctor's visit out of pocket.  I also had as secondary insurance from my previous job.  The problem is HEALTH CARE.   I've lived in multiple states from one end of this country to another.  I always had great insurance, but I often did not have access to good MEDICAL CARE even in major metropolitan areas.

Sometimes it was easier to find a psychologist than a medical provider.  It's nuts.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I wish I could pay out of pocket but I can't. Just the copay is honeslty difficult to come up.

Don't get me wrong we'll make it work becuase it's a must but it comes at a cost.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I'm sorry to get political, but as long as the people we elect to represent us have Cadillac health plans and are bought and paid for by Big Pharma and the medical insurance industry, we will continue to suffer. 

People in this country are DYING for want of health care. All of this talk of removing the stigma from mental health means nothing if treatment options arent even available or financially accessible. Each year, our health care dollars buy FAR less. And dont get me started on the dental insurance industry, where coverage caps haven't been raised for DECADES.

We are in the midst of a health care crisis in this country. The system is BROKEN - overpriced, under regulated, unaffordable, under serving its patients. And it's going to get worse. *steps off soapbox*

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

That's part of what this post is about. As I said ALL people should have assess to health care. I'm upset becuase the insurance company I have through my job doesn't even provide me the same care I as the employee give.

It's like someone working at Wal-mart not being able to afford food.... Wait........

Merrywey's picture

Health care is a human right.  It isn’t just about coverage but availability of providers. Every citizenin the USA should have access to care.  We need to only elect candidates who support this.

Livingoutloud's picture

Health care facilities often have really crappy health care for their employees. My DH is RN and every hospital he ever worked at had rather crappy health care plan. High premium high deductible. No full coverage even after deductible is met. That’s nuts. 

Saying that there is no shortage of doctors or medical facilities by us (heavily populated major metro area). No one drives 3 hours or waits for months to see specialists including psychiatrists etc I know professionally and personally. It’s all available 

The issue is huge difference in accessibility, income, life styles, health care  etc between different states and sometimes within the same state. If you live in rural area, small town, middle of no where etc etc your ability to obtain necessary services is very limited. There is also a huge difference between income levels. Ton of people below poverty line and ton very wealthy and only few of us in the middle. 

When I met my DH he lived in the middle of nowhere (just two hour drive from me) and nothing was available. When he moved to be with me to metro area he couldn’t believe how everything was in arm reach and no need to wait for appointments etc Vast difference. 

But it’s also a trade off. My DH sometimes complains how everything is expensive where we live. Then he remembers how everything is cheap where he was at but nothing was available. 

For example if you move to area where making doctors appointments is easy and things are more easily available, you’d likely won’t be able to survive on your income. You need to make much more to pay rent etc So a lot of is a trade off. People choose where to live using trade off logic. What’s more important. School district or cheap rent or better hospitals or better services but high cost of living  etc etc Choices. Most of the time if you  live in low cost of living areas, you sacrifice ton of conveniences but save a buck and vice versa.

Going by what you post you lice in a low cost of living area, things are likely much cheaper than in other places (you mentioned very low monthly rent and low salary), so it’s likely one of the reasons why many conveniences just aren’t there or are 3 hours drive or 6 months wait. That seems unfair but that’s how it is. 

Also Unfortunately middle class gets smaller and smaller. People are either  very poor or very rich. That’s a reality. 

DPW's picture

I work in mental health and addictions as well and I do not have a benefit plan with my employer because I'm part-time and also because I work for a national not-for-profit and with the way funding is happening with mental health in my province, well, there just isn't much money. Thankfully, I was able to put in a benefit plan with our small business so at least I have coverage now for meds, psychologists, etc...

I live in a small city and we are also struggling with enough coverage for psychiatrists. I just moved to this city a little over a year ago and my personal mental health needs are being managed out of a walk-in clinic that just closed down. I have enough meds for three months so hopefully I can get in somewhere else. I also struggle because I work in the field and it's such a small city that my own personal mental health issues will be more public than I'd like them to be (i.e. my client and I having the same psychiatrist or whatnot). How do others deal with this?

Livingoutloud's picture

That what happens in small town and if you work right where you live. That’s reality of a small town. My DH was RN at a hospital in his tiny town where BM was admitted as psych patient during one of her psychosis outbreaks. She threw a major fit about it but what was he supposed to do? Quit his job? Even now when we are almost 3 hours from she  lives there is no guarantee she won’t be brought up to his hospital. I live an hour away from where I work and still all same suburban/metro area but at least I have privacy. My work and personal life are completely separated. 

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I don't live in a small town. Where BM lives there is one standalone mental health hospital. We are an hour from here and there are three of us up here. The issue isn’t acute care, it’s outpatient and just having a shortage of mental health doctors. Like I said I was seeing one but they shut down the outpatient adult part of the practice because they needed him for inpatient which pays higher.

On top of the limited options already my insurance won’t cover who is available. That’s a LARGE part of the problem. I can name at least 5 in the nearby area that they don’t cover. This has been a problem with them since I lost the last doctor. They tried blaming ME for losing him to cover their a** then expect it to be reasonable for me to travel 3 hours into a completely different state. That’s not 3 hours total. That’s 3 hours there and 3 hours back.

I’m not being picky EXCEPT one of the doctors who isn’t in network already is one I work with directly so of course I can’t see him. That would be completely unethical on his part and honestly I do think he’d turn around a black list me to be fired as he’s done to some of my coworkers.