Girls Write Out
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I've worked with you enough in the past that I know I can count on you to give me--actually, Mel and me--some excellent ideas about what to do next. You see, he's planning to go into private practice. It's a scary decision, and we won't have an employer to cover us with benefits and health insurance, so he's waiting until we can plan this all out and make sure we can have a viable practice.

We have a wonderful assistant right now, who would work with Mel temporarily to get the office set up. I want her back, and I know she's not crazy about working full time with the public, so she'll be in charge of hiring, setting up the office, managing employees, and then she'll return to me here at the house. Our office would be downtown right here in our own city of 1300. We are, of course, hoping for more people to hear about Mel from other surrounding towns and discover his kind bedside manner, his natural ability to diagnose, and his calm demeanor in stressful situations. After all, he's been working as an ER doc for over 20 years. Now he's ready to be his own boss and call the shots.

I may be dreaming here, because I'm his doting wife, but I expect to see a lot of patients from out of town come to see him with difficult diagnoses. That's what I believe he's best at. Did you ever watch House on television? Well, Mel wants to be like him, only much kinder, and he actually wants to be right and not kill the patients the way he believes they kill their patients on TV every week. We may even have the full-time assistant in mind who would be able to help him. We already have my webmaster sitting on the sidelines, possibly waiting to come back and work for us on the computerized system, as well as helping clear things out at the end of the day, wash clothing, make sure everything is sparkling clean. I haven't convinced him, yet, but we're working on it. A nurse would be necessary, and Mel likes mature nurses who already know what they're doing and don't get upset or stressed. We even have a good friend who is a nurse practitioner who has worked with Mel in the past and wants to work with him again. That part, we have covered.

But we're wondering about our patients. If you are looking for a new family doctor, what are you looking for? We will have a pharmacy across the street, a bank across another street, and a grocery store just down from the bank. We haven't decided how much to charge. Eventually, that would depend on how much time is needed, but at first, Mel wants to take plenty of time to get to know his new patients. He loves to listen. He plans to make a list of medical treatments offered, but we'd like to know what patients might want. You will need a listening ear, so he can catch something that you may not have caught as you've sought answers to pain or illness. He listens. You will want time, and that's what he loves to do--spend time with his patients. If you were to have unbroken time with an experienced ER doc who has seen it all,  how much time do you feel you would need? Mel especially loves working with children and elderly, so the whole family can come see him. As for cost? We're talking anything between 50.00 per visit to 75.00 to visit, depending on time and difficulty. He would be open to reading thick files if you've been to multiple docs without answers, and he would charge by the hour. He loves to place puzzle pieces where they belong.

Any ideas? Our computer would print out a superbill that you will be able to turn in to your insurance company for reimbursement. Our own family doc has offered his help to get Mel set up. Our local pharmacist has offered to sit down and discuss how they could handle certain situations. We're getting our balls in a row. Tell me, what would you want in a perfect doctor?


Hannah Alexander  
posted at 11:59 PM  
  Comments (24)
 
 
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24 Comments:
At 4:59 AM, Blogger jel said...

Mel, sounds like our kind of Doc.
DH say. cause we are elderly,with child like mind! :)

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

My favorite doc of all time was my OB (who moved away, boohoo), and it was for lots of the things you mention in the post, and specifically the way she'd chat with you like you were her new best friend. We'd talk about all kinds of things unrelated to medical issues, but it made me feel totally at home and at ease with her when she had to do more uncomfortable bits :)

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

All the things you've said sound perfect to me! Your hubby sounds like just the kind of doctor I would love- someone who truly listens and cares.

Your charges sound very reasonable, something most anyone could pay, with or without insurance. If more doctors would go that route, more of us could just pay for catastrophic insurance and not hassle with insurance companies- that would be a blessing in itself!

We've been hassling with a doctor & insurance company & collection agency for 6 months over an er visit. The hospital was on our insurance plan, the er doctor was not. Of course, I didn't have a choice of doctors- in fact, we were told while waiting in an empty waiting room, that they were waiting for the doctor to get there! Yep, no dr in the er. Anyway, the er doctor would not accept our insurance plan's payment as in full, even though they reprocessed the bill as in network. He sent us to collections for the balance. Oh, and he had added an "inconvenience" charge to the bill. It has been a frustrating experience. Sorry for the vent.

Having a caring doctor is so important and all the rest is secondary. If I know a doctor really cares about what I'm going through, even if he's having a rushed day, I'm ok with that. I wish I lived near you- I'd be his first patient and office helper! Oh, and I would work for books. :)

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

We have a good doctor friend who has a practice similar to what you're talking about. I think it would really be worth a phone call. It's a bit much to go into here, but his practice is a great one. He's also a crack diagnostician, so I'm sure he and Mel would talk well together. I'll email you more.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger stefanie said...

Mel sounds like a doctor that I would drive miles to see. A good doctor to me is one who knows his stuff (experienced and intelligent), patient, unhurried, kind, treats you as an equal and doesn't look down on you, and you can tell really cares and who can diagnose quickly where you don't have to go through expensive and unecessary tests. The fees are very reasonable too, in this day and age with high insurance costs and high deductible (like Sheila G stated) anyone could pay those fees. Also, you want a doctor who knows which prescription is best for the diagnosis and PRICE. Yes, I feel he could have a thriving practice once the word gets out.

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My husband & I saw a Dr. that we liked last year. She took her time & reviewed our info. So, this year, we made two more appts with her. We had to drive three hours to get to her & considered it time well spent to have a caring, concerned doc. Since we needed early morning blood work, we had to get a hotel. The next morning, when we arrived for blood work, she hadn't sent in orders for everything. During our visit, she spent about five minutes with my husband in a private room, then brought him into my exam room. We went over his stuff & then she was done. She started to leave & I reminded her of my appt. I got about two minutes. (And, I had some serious concerns.) We were very disappointed & yes, we informed her & staff that we would be making the long drive. So, after a second hotel night, they finished up his blood work this morning, but still haven't called in our prescriptions. We will find a new doc in KC next week. Moral of the story, value your patients' loyalty & time and they will keep coming back. We were willing to make the drive, incurr the costs of gas & hotels just to have a good doc spend a few minutes reviewing our concerns. Too bad that the doc didn't share our view.

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My husband & I saw a Dr. that we liked last year. She took her time & reviewed our info. So, this year, we made two more appts with her. We had to drive three hours to get to her & considered it time well spent to have a caring, concerned doc. Since we needed early morning blood work, we had to get a hotel. The next morning, when we arrived for blood work, she hadn't sent in orders for everything. During our visit, she spent about five minutes with my husband in a private room, then brought him into my exam room. We went over his stuff & then she was done. She started to leave & I reminded her of my appt. I got about two minutes. (And, I had some serious concerns.) We were very disappointed & yes, we informed her & staff that we would be making the long drive. So, after a second hotel night, they finished up his blood work this morning, but still haven't called in our prescriptions. We will find a new doc in KC next week. Moral of the story, value your patients' loyalty & time and they will keep coming back. We were willing to make the drive, incurr the costs of gas & hotels just to have a good doc spend a few minutes reviewing our concerns. Too bad that the doc didn't share our view.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger Barb said...

The situation we are finding ourselves in is that, while we have health insurance that we pay quite a bit for, we cannot actually afford to go to the doctor because of high co-pays, deductibles, and lab tests that somehow are not included in the price of the office visit. I want a doctor who actively tries to keep MY out-of-pocket costs down.

 
At 1:40 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Jel, I know Mel would love working with you and DH! Of course, the three-hour or so drive would do you in.

Ruth, that's what Mel wants, time to spend with his patients. Someday he plans to hire a female nurse practitioner who is a lot like him. I know I would always prefer a female for tho OB stuff.

Sheila, that's the reason Mel will do the superbill so anyone with insurance can use it, if their insurance will pay. I have NEVER heard about a doctor being paid separately from the hospital. That sounds so hokey. He just needs enough to help pay his employees.

 
At 1:48 PM, Blogger SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I wish there was a directory of doctors with that mindset and the same sort of billing structure. How on earth do we find a doc like your hubby?

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Oh, and Sheila, if you wanted to work for books, you'd be welcome!!

Ane, I want that number. Mel's getting more and more excited about getting out of ER.

Thanks for those kind words of encouragement, Stephanie. I do believe Mel will eventually build up a practice he'll have to either expand, or will overflow and have to stop taking patients. He's well known around here and has had many ER patients ask him if he has a private practice.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Unknown, I'm so sorry about your experience. I've found a specialist in Springfield, MO., who works with hormones and other weird problems, and she spends tons of time with me--never less than an hour--every single visit. Of course it does cost more, but she's fabulous and combines regular medicine with natural medicine. She's a dream of a doctor. The tests are expensive, but she doesn't run tons of them until she thinks they're necessary. Her name is Dr. Anne Roberts. Ask me if anyone in the Springfield MO area wants her number.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Sheila, you just have to use word of mouth around where you live. I know Colleen has a great doctor in Indiana. Mel and I are in SW MO. Oh! Also, go to a pharmacist that does special combining of meds ordered by doctors, and ask who's the best.

Barb, I have been where you are. Actually, I'm there right now. Everyone has high copays, and I use a doctor who isn't covered by my insurance, because I don't like other doctors. That's one reason Mel wants to try to keep costs down.

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger Iola said...

I live in New Zealand and have previously lived in England, both of which have excellent public healthcare systems.

In England, doctor appointments were scheduled for 10 minutes. You could ask for a double appointment if you had more than one problem, but in actual fact, the doctors just spent as long as the patient needed (I timed one elderly patient at 40 mins. Doctor visits are free.

Here in New Zealand, the appointments are scheduled for every 15 minutes, but some doctors used to double-book (essentially providing 8 appointments per hour). I'm not sure if this is still the case - I never feel rushed when I visit, but I'm usually not in there for anything major.

The government pays NZ$35 for each visit, and the patient covers the other $30 (under 5's are free - they are fully subsidised by the government). But we are in a small city (pop. 120,000), and I've heard that doctors in the bigger cities charge more. There is a lower charge to see a practice nurse (e.g. for an injection).

I don't know if that sounds like a lot or not, but remember that all hospital stays and operations are also free, so doctors don't have to factor that into their fee structures.

Hope that helps.

 
At 2:55 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Lola, that's a whole 'noter matter. LOL. Mel has decided he'll be able to do some medicine for short appointments, and longer appointments, and change the charges for those, but he's not going to be subsidized by the government. He's on his own.

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger Rockin' Ruby said...

i'm in Chicago and my family and friends always have a hard time finding a good doctor... so most of us prefer not going unless its serious stuff. they're all either extremey rude, extremely racist (my parents are Mexican), or somehow never get to pinpoint what the issues are. i know it sounds crazy but we just don't feel comfortable going to doctors. Mel sounds like someone we'd like to have as a family doc :)

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Ruby, you need to move to SW Missouri. LOL. Mel has a reputation with ER patients that he treats everyone with respect and kindness. He is not prejudiced, and even though sometimes he seems like one of those (absent minded professors) when he's trying to figure something out, he is kind to everyone. Thank you for your input.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Sandie said...

He sounds perfect, like the docs of my growing-up years. Not to get into politics, but will Obamacare affect a startup of this sort, financially and in options for patient care? I know hospital costs have been greatly affected. Some insurances only allow you to see doctors on their list so that might affect some choices. I'd pay cash for basic care to see a doctor of his caliber but couldn't afford to pay cash for extensive testing and such, not that I live anywhere near there!

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

There seem to be more and more doctors going to this kind of set-up. The good part is, if you do have insurance for testing, etc., your script from Mel will be for anywhere you have insurance. That's how we do it now. We pay to go to our doc because he's not on our insurance, and I refuse to change doctors, but when he sends us for tests, he writes a script for, say, stress test and that's it. Then I can go to my insurance-covered medical center for the stress test. Interesting that last year he sent me for stress test, and I went to St. John's in Joplin, MO, which is closest. Two days later the place was destroyed by the tornado that took out so much of the town. Believe it or not, a nurse found the results of my tests in the office, and called me with an all-clear AFTER the hospital was destroyed.

But anyway, that's how you can keep your own doctor, or find one you really like, and have insurance pay for any testing. Mel's trying to decide how much lab and other equipment we could afford so his patients wouldn't have to go to their hospital for simple tests.

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine said...

Have you talked to Rachael Phillips and her husband, Steve? It sounds like his set up is just what Mel is interested in. If you need contact, just let me know.

My hubby loves his ER and group and I don't think he'll ever leave it. Though times change. He was in a group once that was a nightmare, but God answered my prayers and it was amazing how it all orchestrated. :)

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Mel's typical nighttime menu is tweakers, abusers, users and killers--who are guarded by police stupid enough to let them wrestle their guns away from them, and the doc and nurse have to rescue the officer. Mel works three nights in a row and sleeps the rest of the week, so I don't see him for a week. He's tired of the cesspool. He wants real patients and reasonable hours. 21 years will be enough for him. He's decided he can save other lives while saving his own. Thanks for the info. We're thinking another half year before the doors open right here in our hometown.

 
At 11:08 PM, Blogger The Muse said...

Easy peasey... Perfect doctor is one who can see you when you ARE sick-- not next week or a month from now. I've stopped seeing my so-called family practioner because she's always booked.

When I was a kid (and sick), my parents who drive at night to our family doctor and ring his doorbell that was outside his garage door. He'd come out with his black doctor's bag and fix me right up. Good guy. You don't see that anymore!

Good luck with your hubby's new practice!!

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger The Muse said...

Easy peasey... Perfect doctor is one who can see you when you ARE sick-- not next week or a month from now. I've stopped seeing my so-called family practioner because she's always booked.

When I was a kid (and sick), my parents who drive at night to our family doctor and ring his doorbell that was outside his garage door. He'd come out with his black doctor's bag and fix me right up. Good guy. You don't see that anymore!

Good luck with your hubby's new practice!!

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Thanks, Muse. No, you don't see that anymore. I wish there were Urgent Care facilities that stayed open all night, because the ERs are swamped all the time now. Mel is attempting to work something out so that he will be able to have some open time each day in case his patients are sick and need to see him that day.

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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