Consumer Watch: Waiting for your doctor's appointment

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 26 at 5:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Time is money, and the people who run doctors’ offices know it. That's why many of them charge their patients for missing scheduled appointments.

This is a problem that's expected to get worse before it gets better. Playing the waiting game at the doctor’s office is a drag, but there are some ways to keep your family healthy and on schedule.

Breast cancer survivor Doris Webb spent an hour in the waiting room recently for a doctor's appointment she made a year in advance. “They finally put me in a room, and I told her when she put me in there I said I’ll wait ten more minutes because I’ve been here an hour. And in ten minutes I still hadn't seen the oncologist so I went out front and asked for my co-pay back and told them I had waited long enough," explained Webb. No apologies were offered, but Webb later learned the doctor was triple booked that day.

Health care experts recently reported to Angie's List that there simply aren't enough doctors to meet demands of more patients and the problem is only getting worse.

So how do you hedge your bets for more timely care? "The key here is  to check in with the doctor’s office before you show up. Find out if they are running on time so that you can adjust your schedule as well,” explained Angie Hicks from Angie’s List.

A recent Angie's List poll found that 65 percent of respondents said they waited an hour or longer to see a health care professional and to make matters worse 37 percent of  them said they felt rushed and didn't ask questions they had planned. “We are our own advocate and if we don't step up and demand treatment and care and that they be responsible, then we can't expect better," reasoned Webb.

The key is to treat your health care just like any other hiring decision. If you're still having problems after talking to your doctor it's time to find a new one. If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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