In case you haven’t noticed…doctors are continuing to leave their practices without a forwarding address; some have chosen to move on to different locations while others have decided to call it quits. For those people needing specialty doctors the story gets worse; there are not enough specialty doctors (such as Nephrologists, Endocrinologists, etc.). I’ve already found a few specialty clinics permanently closed in suburban areas. Also, notice name changes when it comes to your medical facility…depending where you live, there are some hospitals removing the ‘hospital’ name (which directly follows the facilities’ name) and replacing it with ‘Medical Center’. Like everything else today, the medical profession is surely undergoing its share of changes, and the shortage of staff members (such as RN’s, therapists, and office personnel) also plays a role in this current shift; similar to customer service jobs it’s become the ‘revolving door.’
I do a lot of reading on the Mayo Clinic’s site, along with specific studies done by medical colleges and so forth; as my own health is compromised and it’s been stressful having to ‘start-over’ every time I get a letter in the mail letting me know my (specialty) doctor is leaving the practice. It will be my fourth doctor in the last two years that has left before retirement age. Trying to find a replacement is very difficult, and so…the wait times to get in are worse; some appointments are 6 months out for a new patient. Starting over with a new doctor can be challenging, as it now becomes your first visit, which is more like a ‘consult’ and a ‘getting to know you’ visit, along with any questions you might want to ask. I mention this because I’ve already started with a new person (doctor) and suddenly on my second visit I am told I need another new doctor as the first one didn’t work out for their office (or some other excuse); this one made my head spin. I now ask (and so should you) the question “Do you plan on staying for a few years?” It sounds humorous, but its reality today.
The main cause for the massive exiting of medical professionals is because of the pandemic. So many of these people have suffered from depression, anxiety, fear, the lack of sleep and self-care…I can’t even imagine really. While I might be frustrated with the lack of staffing as well as the forever lengthy appointments, I surely understand what’s happening. The medical field took the brunt of this terrible virus, and their lives along with their family’s lives were changed forever. These are the individuals that are truly heroic and go unseen every single day.
So, if you are one of those people searching for a new doctor, this is what you should be looking for; 1) the age of the doctor; if over 60 you need to ask when they plan on retiring. 2) Credentials; even general doctors have specific things they take an extra interest in. 3) Comments by patients; in regards to current staff and doctor(s). 4) Awards in their medical field or any magazine articles ‘Top Doctors’. 5) How long they’ve been practicing for. Check it all out at https://www.healthgrades.com/ or https://www.vitals.com/ . For what it’s worth, be patient and kind to our healthcare workers; they need all the support they can get right now, as staffing will most likely be a long term issue. May God bless them.
Make your week count.