Friday, March 05, 2010

Health Access In Humboldt

No, I'm not talking about health insurance, or lack of it. Well, I suppose that can have something to do with it since those on MediCal might have fewer options than those that have regular insurance or pay out of pocket. I'm referring to just being able to find a doctor for something.

I had to renew a prescription that runs out soon. I was going to what used to be the North Coast Family Practice. That practice went by the wayside but the shell of it continued under a new name. I won't mention their new name here. I will say it was a real pain to deal with them but it got better when I started seeing the Physician's Assistant there, rather than the doctor.

But they moved and they aren't listed in the phone book anymore. I vaguely knew where their new location was but decided maybe it was time to go elsewhere. I called Eureka Family Practice, where the old P.A. I used to see at North Coast Family Practice is now working. I tried to set up an appointment with him but was told the earliest I could see him would be in June(!?!). Maybe I should of asked if there was anybody there with a more open schedule?

All I needed was a prescription renewed so then I tried that Eureka Community Health Center I'd seen on Buhne Street. I was under the impression that was some kind of walk in facility.I drove by there and they told me they were closed to new patients.

Yikes! I thought that might be the last resort for the poorer folks around here like me. What to do?

I wasn't but a few blocks from the new location of the place I used to go so I drove by and, lo and behold, they actually had a sign visible from the street. It's probably the most run down building in the area, at least as far as the medical buildings go. The sign out front also had my old P.A.'s name listed among the staff. Cool. Maybe this won't be so bad, I thought, and I parked and went inside.

Nope. As is par for the course with this group, my P.A. no longer worked there. They just don't change their signs very often. The waiting room was as depressing as at it was at their last location and the signs on the walls telling everyone what they must and must not do while in the facility made me feel like walking out the door.

But I stuck with it and managed to make an appointment with their Nurse Practitioner, the name of whom escapes me now. The best part is the appointment is next Monday. Not bad compared to having to wait until June to see John Brimlow P.A.

Still, I find it almost scary how so many medical practices can't accept new patients and the only ones you seem to be able to access are the ones you'd rather not go to if you had the choice.

BTW; In trying to find a phone number for the medical practice I was using, I came upon this page that tells you a little about your doctor. It even lets you give doctor reviews. I gave mine one but in never showed up with the others he already had.


At 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't "free market" medicine great?
Enjoy it, Fred.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Fred, enjoy it. Soon 30 million more "citizens" will be taking their brand new obama-care health insurance out for a test drive with the same size, or smaller, pool of heath-care providers. It's a great idea! Since they've done so well with Medicare and Social Security, and of course the Post Office.

At 2:52 AM, Anonymous William Van Hefner said...

You might try calling Eureka Family Practice and just ask for whoever is first available. If you don't really care which Doctor/PA you see, it isn't very difficult to get an appointment within 1-2 days. Perhaps the same isn't true for new patients. I'm not sure. I've been going there for 30+ years though, and have often gotten appointments with them the same day.

The practice was really screwed up for awhile when they were bought out by St. Joseph's Hospital and turned into an HMO. They have since reverted back to independent ownership though and any problems they had are in the past. I've always had good luck with them.

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

5:10 wrote, Isn't "free market" medicine great?.

Dumb thing to say since you seem to assume it would be better if government controlled every aspect of health care.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

WVH suggests, You might try calling Eureka Family Practice and just ask for whoever is first available.

That's what I should have done, but didn't think about it at the time. I'll likely do that next time I need my prescription renewed. The place I have an appointment with on Monday is a real downer. Not only that, but it costs me $65.00 just to see anyone there for just a few minutes.

Back in the days of the old North Coast Family Practice the out- of- pocket cost would vary, depending on what was done. It cost me as low as $37.00 to a high of over $100.00, depending on how much time they spent on me and how many issues were dealt with.


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