Tuesday, December 08, 2009

No More Waiting for the Doctor

In the past month I've had about a good half dozen medical appointments and at not one of them -- not one! -- was I ushered in without a wait, even though I was perfectly on time, often early. One time it was more than an hour. This morning I put my foot down.

When the receptionist deigned to appear, ten minutes past my 8:00 am appointment, cheerily asking how everyone was, I said loudly, "You're late."

Silence. Several late-coming jump-the-line patients edged over to her desk, so I called out "You're not going to ignore the clipboard on which everyone signed in order of arrival, are you?"

"Let me boot up the computer," she said.

"If you hadn't arrived late that would be done already," I replied.

What is wrong with these people?

They can't make an appointment even if you're sick for less than three weeks later, but when you arrive you have to wait for their royal highnesses to give you the service you pay for? There's 10 percent unemployment out there and it's catching.

OK, part of it is that it's an HMO, Kaiser Permanente, to be precise. "Better than nothing," as a cab driver told me. Not much.

Kaiser is imperious and quixotic with its rates, but short on service. They remind me of Helen Hunt's famous scene in As Good As It Gets:
CAROL (HH): Fucking HMO bastard pieces of shit... I'm sorry...
DR. BETTES: No. Actually, I think that's their technical name.
Health pseudoreform or not, I refuse to wait any more. If they make an appointment, they keep it.
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