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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I got your referral!

Don't you just love referrals for doctor visits? I'd like to meet up with the left handed, beady eyed, torture school drop-out that originally came up with the idea of referrals! I'm sure they're dead, sitting in hell, yucking it up with the Devil himself! I could really use a text book explanation of just what a referral is supposed to do. Are they to cut down on frivolous visits to quack doctors? Do they maybe keep the average Joe from racking up frequent flier miles at the endo my belly hurts doc? Is it to keep doctors from sending you for tests you don't need? Hey that's got possibilities! Could it be true that there are docs that send unsuspecting patients for tests they don't need? Is there no Santa anymore?

OK, get a hold of yourself man, you can do this! So I'm having a hemorrhoidal attack. I've had them before. I know if I call my primary care physician she is going to say, I don't do hemmis, you need an endo my butt hurts doc! Because I have had an attack before, I know my she recommends doc X, a hemmi specialist. I call him and happy days, he can see me tomorrow morning! The pain will end, I will be able to sit again, oh joy, oh rapture!

I call my primary care physician and her referral coordinator tells me it takes five business days to prepare all referrals! Are you kidding me? I'll be dead in five days! She tells me that if everyone called with emergencies she would never be able to process them all. I'm the one with hemorrhoids and she wants me to feel sorry for her? Calm down, she doesn't mean it. I explain it was either tomorrow or 3 weeks from now, I had no choice, I beg, I plead, I....she tells me it's ready and can be picked up at the front desk! Well kiss my, what do you mean it's ready? Now I'm mad she did it for me! Make me jump through hoops for nothing!

Water over the bridge, under the dam, she'll be commin around the mountain when she comes, when she comes! I don't care, I'm going to the doctors! With much effort I drive down to the primaries office for my golden ticket, crawl in and get it, limp back out and drive home.

The birds are singing, I see rainbows and fairies, morning is finally here! As I walk into doc X's office, a tear in my eye, I am confident because I have done all my tricks, rolled over, played dead, but most importantly, I fetched! I stride up to the front desk, as much as someone can stride in my condition, referral in hand. The nurse asks if my info has change, my weight, eye color, but nothing of my crisp clean referral. I can't take it anymore, I clear my throat and ask about my referral? She told me she didn't need it, the one on file was still good! WHAAAAAA? Well I'll be, all that for nothing? What was the run around for?
That's right, I decided it was to keep the doctors from sending us for unneeded test, right, right, right.

One question. Where does one go for a referral? It's not what you would think. You don't go to an accountant, or an insurance specialist. You don't even go to your primary care physician. If you need a referral, you go to a referral coordinator, but remember, they need 5 working days to do it!


Jackie said...

Referrals are the worst! I absolutely hate requesting a referral. You say exactly what I'm thinking! Amazing!!

Slammermike said...

I think the entire referral process is an economic stimulus plan that has been conjured up by the insurance companies and the federal government. This plan is designed to take full advantage of the aging Baby Boomer generation. As the Boomers get older they have greater medical needs. By making is necessary to have a referral to see the specialist every medical issue requires 2 visits. This generates 2 insurance claims. Most visits to a specialist lead to a follow up visit with the primary care provider or a referral to another even more specialized doctor.
Most doctor's offices have a person dedicated to these referrals. If a practice makes enough referrals they may need additional staff for more referrals which leads to hiring a file clerk to file the referrals properly. This makes it necessary to hire a supervisor to manage the new referral department. All these newly generated job push money into the economy and broaden the tax base thus adding economic growth. These new jobs help spark new housing helping the construction industry, purchasing of new cars helping the auto makers and so on in a domino effect throughout the economy.