Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Adventures in healthcare!

I've been signing up for new health insurance this week with Blue Cross. Filling out the application was super easy - just a few forms on a web site. Today however, I received a voice message that the primary care physician I chose was not available given the plan I had selected.


Don't you hate it when you don't have a recommendation from a friend? Anyway-- easy enough to fix, I thought. Logging back into the Blue Cross site, I assumed I would have pages of doctors to pick from. Unfortunately, I had one. One page of doctors. Not only was it only one page, they were broken up into essentially three small groups. First, there were two independant doctors. Then, there was one big group practice with a number of doctors - this could be good, right?

So, first I decided to look up a few of the doctors in the group practice. I mean, at least if MY doctor is unavailable when I'm sick, someone will be able to see me. So, I Googled the practice and low and behold, there were actually a few complaint letters with the practice's (and one of their doctors) name on them. Wow! Well, "maybe those complaint letters were one time things," I thought, so I kept scrolling through Google. Nope - I actually found an article written in a medical magazine listing the practice as well. The article was about keeping good staff in a medical office. It started off with an example of a top notch practice and how they work to keep their employee turnover rate at almost 0%. Then it said, "...and at the opposite side of the issue is XXX practice in Santa Monica, CA." One of the doctors at the practice actually gave a quote about how although they give employees a trial period, if the employee doesn't work out, they haven't been able to fire them, because they really need the help. And so, they take just about anyone. Well, with that I was officially convinced that this was not the doctors' office I should be going to.

I set out to find out a little bit more about the other TWO available doctors. I couldn't find much on the first doctor.
[As a side note, I'm looking for a doctor who will treat me as a respectful, intelligent, AND responsible HUMAN being. It must be a young looking girl thing, but I cannot tell you how many times a doctor has tried to convince me that my boyfriend is cheating on me or that a bladder infection is something much worse that must be related to some sort of non-existent promiscuous behavior. When I hurt my feet last year, the first doctor that saw me talked down to me, saying that my irresponsible behavior had let me down this path. The foot specialist I saw found that my legs are two different lengths and my feet are shaped oddly. If you can imagine being treated like a stepchild 90% of the time at the doctor, that's me. Most recently, I had a suprisingly positive experience at a doctor. The doctor actually LISTENED to me and he PRAISED me for being so responsible and for bringing in notes about my health history. This is the kind of doctor I'm looking for!]

So, back to my search--
I put in my final and last hope of a doctor into Google and suddenly, tons of articles popped up - 275 pages to be exact (keep in mind, this guy is just a primary care physician and a family doctor). Anyway, the first page that popped up said that one of his specialties is treating drug addicts. I thought, this could be good - with my ultra clean lifestyle, he will for sure treat me with the respect I'm looking for! So, I kept looking. I found out that he's Jewish, he plays guitar, he lived in NY before moving to Laguna Beach,CA, he's been in practice for 25 years, and he even gives a 20% discount to actors. Oh, and his office is 1 mile from my apartment. All very good. But, this still didn't answer the question of why in the world did he have almost 300 web sites with his name on them??

I'll tell you why! It turns out, he is Paris Hilton's personal doctor and his name and phone number were in her hacked Sidekick! The media apparently latched onto that page I mentioned above that said he helps drug addicts with their recovery and forgot about the whole "family care" gig that he's got going. It spread so fast that he was even quoted in Star magazine (this was one of the searches that came up - I do not read Star) as saying that he's gotten so much attention from the incident that he's going to have to change the phone number at his practice!

With all that said-- and considering my lonely 3 options, I picked him! He's going to be my doctor for these reasons: 1. In comparison to his other patients, he's definitely going to realize that I'm not some crazed 20-something and 2. I assume that someone as wealthy and as prim and not so proper as Paris is SURELY going to go to a reasonable doctor. So anyway, I did get my referral for a doctor after all - and it was from Miss Hilton herself! :-)

On to other news, my new shoe store is doing great! It's brand new and you should be sure to check it out. It has a huge selection, unusual sizes, low prices, and free shipping and returns!

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