Navigating Health Care

First phone call:

Patient: I need to schedule an EKG

Clinic: What is your date of birth?

Patient: xx/xx/xxxx

Clinic: We don’t have you in our system.

Patient: I had an EKG at your facility before and that is why I want one there now so they can be compared.

Clinic: How long ago?

Patient: About 6 years.

Clinic: We don’t keep records for that length of time.

Patient: Then why did I have an EKG that you could use for a baseline if you don’t keep it?

Clinic: Our office isn’t big enough to keep that many records.

Patient: But you archive medical records.

Clinic: I’ll see if someone knows how to get into that system.

Patient: Could you just order the EKG?

Clinic: The doctor would have to see you first and he isn’t taking new patients.

Patient: But I am his patient.

Clinic: No, you haven’t seen him in the last three years.

Patient: Would you just ask him to call me? He knows me well.

Clinic: No, because he isn’t taking new patients.

Patient: When is his next opening?

Clinic: In six months. Someone here was able to pull up your old record so we have it now.

Patient: Well, just ask him to order the EKG and compare it to the old one.

Clinic: No one would pay for it if we did that.

Patient: What am I supposed to do? I was told by a GI specialist today that the EKG done during my procedure with him was abnormal and I should have a repeat one done as soon as possible and compared to a previous study.

Clinic: Are you having any symptoms, like chest pain?

Patient: No, and I really don’t think there is anything wrong with my heart but if I did I would be crazy by now.

Patient: I guess I will have to go to an ER

Clinic: They won’t do an EKG if you don’t have chest pain.

Patient: I’ll call a friend and ask them to hit me across the chest with a frying pan.

Second Phone Call (new clinic)

Patient: I am a patient of (my primary doctor) and I need an EKG.

Clinic: Are you having any symptoms?

Patient: Only those that come with a GI doctor telling me I need to have my EKG repeated as soon as possible.

Clinic: I have the doctor on the other line. Let me talk to him and see what we can do.

Patient: (thinking) Is there a doctor that would wait on a line while his office accepts a phone call?

Clinic: Honey, we can squeeze you in tomorrow at 10 AM. We will get your records from your previous study and then we can compare them.  Now here is the easiest way to get to our office.

Patient (thinking): Has someone prayed between these two phone calls?

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