Issue # 1
I have heard for years from headache patients that one of their most frustrating things about seeing a headache specialist is the long wait to get in, and then a brief visit. While we will keep our visits as long as the patient needs, we are experiencing a crunch for available appointments due to high demand for our services as word is getting out.
I’m writing about this because I want patients to be aware of the situation. Previously they could call and we could work them in the same week. Now, even though we work through lunch most days, we do not have an opening for a several weeks. I advise, that if you think you need an appointment, try to call early.
We will maintain a waiting list as sometimes a patient will have to cancel and we can fill the slot with someone on the waiting list.
Issue # 2
Most headache clinics do not seen patients who have low-reimbursement insurance plans (for example; DSHS, Molina, Medicare, Tri Care). The cruel fact is that it cost us more to process the claim than we get in return (what I call net-loss appointments). If you want to know more about that issue click here.
Up until now, we have accepted all insurances (however Group Health will not allow their HMO patients to see us). In accordance to our philosophy of putting patients first, regrettably, we are going to have to start putting limits on seeing new patients who have the low paying insurance plans. If you are a established patient, don’t worry about it. The simple fact, as a business, if we can not stay solvent, we will have to cease to exist. If we cease to exist, we can not be here to help patients. You can not run a business when you it cost you more to sell a product than what you get in return.
We will continue seeing all insurances including the net-loss insurances mentioned above. However, we have to start limiting the number of such new patients we see each month.
I’m going to follow the same principle that we followed at Mayo Clinic. There we had ten patients asking for appointments for every appointment we have available. We choose patients by the criteria of who could we help the most.
If you subscribe to one of the low-reimbursement insurances and you want a new appointment, I will review you past records. I will offer a limited number of new patient appointments per month based on our ability to help you. This not accessed by how complicated your headaches are. We love a challenge and patients who have failed other treatments is not a problem. The choice is based on patient compliance. If I read in the outside records that the patient had not done their part to get better, it is often a waste of time for us to see them. We are happy to see compliant patients no matter how difficult their headaches are. If you want to know more about the issue of compliance and how it effects headache treatment read “Why some sufferers don’t get better.”