by Bob Branco
I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country, but where I live, I have noticed a trend in the medical profession which I find rather interesting and unnecessary. Think about your first visit to your new doctor and hear me out. Whenever I requested a thorough physical examination from a new doctor in the past, there was no problem. I would arrive at the doctor’s office, do all the necessary paperwork and have my exam, complete with lab work and a thorough bodily checkup from head to toe. There was still time for my doctor to ask me questions about my medical history even when he had my file in front of him. It was a satisfactory visit.
Well, it’s not that way anymore. Now when I visit a doctor for the first time, we sit in the office and have a discussion about my health. She might refer me to other doctors for something specific if I need it, but there is no thorough physical examination. She will likely ask me to return in three months for the exam, and by the way, it would be performed by her nurse practitioner. So instead of making one visit to the doctor, I have to make two. If I am not fully covered by medical insurance, I would have to spend more money. You would think that with all the patients who need to see a doctor or his nurse practitioner, there wouldn’t be time for multiple visits in order to resolve issues that used to be handled in one.
Now, here are my obvious questions. Why is there such a need for this new form of medical treatment? What are doctors doing differently today in order to justify this new arrangement? Why must we make one appointment to meet the doctor and another in order to have a physical examination by someone other than the doctor? Are medical centers delegating authority to additional layers of medical staff as if these centers were multilevel corporations?
For one thing, this new trend toward multiple visits with more than one medical caregiver may affect our relationships with our doctors. We are now forced to bring third parties into personal medical discussions, which some of us would prefer to keep between patient and doctor. Some people believe that it’s all about making money. The more we go to the doctor’s office, the more money the medical facility makes, including those who work there.
I also see this happen in the dental profession. For years I had my teeth cleaned and checked during one visit. Now I have to make two separate visits: one for a dental hygienist to do a thorough cleaning of my teeth, and a second visit in order for my dentist to examine them.
This is yet another example of how society has become more complicated than it should be.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.