Over Pakistani food in SF, my friend told me about her recent HMO-related troubles. I am writing about it now, a few months after the fact, because I have recently had more than my fill of hmo-nightmare womb stories. But let’s take them one at a time.
My SF friend had gone to the ob/gyn for a routine pap smear and check-up. After waiting for several hours she was asked to change into a gown. She was left in the exam room for almost another hour before the doctor came in, told her to put her feet in the stirrups, and slid his stool between her legs.
Doctor: “Oh, by the way, am I supposed to have someone else in here while I do this?”
Friend: “Uh— I don’t know. I don’t know the policy.”
Doctor: “Well, I don’t really know,” [both silently look at each other for a moment before the doctor continues,] “It’s not like I’m not going to do anything funny or anything.”
Friend: “Good.” [Exam proceeds for several minutes, an unnaturally long amount 0f time for the doctor to then inquire…]
Doctor: “Um–has anyone ever had any trouble finding your cervix before?”
Patient (truthfully): “No. Is something the matter?”
Doctor: “Well. I’m just having a lot of trouble finding it.”
My friend could hardly believe she took off the day from her meager-paying job to wait several hours (and pay for the parking privilege) just to have an exam that couldn’t be trusted to accurately clear her ob/gyn health.
I asked her if she’d ever been to this doctor before and she told me that Kaiser’s clinic always had a new person working there. She never gets to see the same person twice, no matter how often she goes. As is typical of clinics, they also treat her like she’s there fore the first time, every time. Every time she goes she has to bring every piece of identifying information she has just to reregister so that they can open a new file for her. It takes a trip to the intake office just because her insurance is in her father’s name. I bet I could more easily get access to her credit information that she could sign into a doctor’s appointment.
At the same Kaiser clinic a few years ago she told her doctor that she was not and had never been sexually active and the doctor still told her that her sniffles were “probably HIV.”
Friend: “Even if my mother doesn’t have it? Even if I’ve never had a transfusion or used any drugs?”
Doctor: “Yeah, probably.” He told her, glibly– only providing her an HIV test after she requested one.
He was, of course, gone by the time she phoned to follow-up.