Monday, January 9, 2012

Medical Venting

Don't get me wrong: I am very grateful to live in Canada and have our universal medicare, skewed as it may be on occasion, but today is a day of dread! It is time once again to go see my bone specialist in another province.  Since each province has some regulations that are different than each other it means that I cannot at will go to a different province for a specialist's appointment.  A lot of rigamarole is involved.  For the out of province appt. a letter from my present home province ministry of health is required, agreeing to cover the publicly funded costs involved.  It should be straightforward:  I should be able to request that my present physician write a short letter of explanation as to why I need to leave the province for an appt., send it in, and in my experience a letter of approval usually arrives back in his office within a couple of weeks.  Then it is forwarded to the out of province specialist's office and all is well.  

Oh, that it were so logical and simple.  Instead I am the one that has to engineer the entire operation. 

1. Contact the office of the specialist in the other province to confirm that such a letter is needed in order for the appt. to be made.  Chances are about 80% the person who answers the phone has no idea and will "get back to me".  After several days I have to call again and refuse to be hung up on until that information is confirmed.

2. Contact my local physician, in person as soon as possible, and explain and explain and show sample letters and previous response letters etc. and explain some more why I require permission to go to the other province for help, and why it isn't possible to just switch my appt. to the one and only SK specialist in the same field of practise. (Too long and complicated to go into here)

3. After having my local doctor agree to do this, then I have to call the office every 2 weeks to pester and cajole and make sure he has actually sent the letter.  This can go on for up to 8 weeks before he or she caves and actually sends the blasted thing. This policy has been in place for several years and yet my local physicians in the last 2 towns we have lived in seemed completely unaware of the policy and procedure.

4.  Then once it is finally sent I have to call the local doctor every couple of weeks for another 4 to 6 weeks until I find out the letter of permission has been received and sent on to the out of province doctor.

5.  Then I have to call the out of province doctor and make sure the letter has been received in that office and that my appt. there is set to go.

6.  Then comes the trepidation of actually driving for hours to the appt. and waiting to find out that I was given the correct info and that precious permission letter is really and truly there.  (once it wasn't and a fiasco)

So, once again I am set up for all this nonsense. So stressful.  But other than that, life is good.   

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