My doctor visit and recommendations

This week I had a doctor visit at the HealthPartner Clinic for the annual physical exam. And I learned something new.

At the check-in, I was given a brochure by the receptionist. I didn’t pay attention to it because I found some more interesting materials to read in the waiting room.

After I was called in by the nurse and after she was finished with the initial exam, I was left alone in the room to change and to wait for my doctor.

It was a long wait. I had finished reading the whole magazine and the doctor still didn’t show up. Not knowing what’s going on, I got inpatient.

Dressed in my hospital gown, I opened the door, stuck my head out and asked the nurse standing in the hallway where the doctor was.

A few minutes later, my doctor finally came. She apologized for the delay because she had to do something for the other patient. That’s OK with me as long as I was told what’s going on.

The doctor did a few manual exams here and there on my body. She asked if I had any concerns. I did.

I have had shoulder, neck and back pain on and off. They come and go. So I asked the doctor about it. She advised me to take Ibuprofen whenever I have the pain. I said I was not interested in the pain medication. I was not concerned about the pain, but I was concerned about the cause of the pain. I didn’t want to take pain medication to not feel the pain. Pain medication doesn’t solve the problem for me, it only covers it up. Then my doctor said I should do physical therapy. She didn’t say anything about what I could do to prevent shoulder, neck and back pain.

I also asked the doctor about any effective treatment for nail fungus that doesn’t have any side effects like the oral medication has. She mentioned laser treatment. Then she left the room to let me change.

After I finished changing and while I was waiting for the doctor to come up, I picked up the brochure to read because I had nothing else to do. I was glad I did.

The brochure was about preventive care visits and billing. It says when patients come in for the annual preventive care visit, if they also discuss with their physician a medical issue unrelated to their annual exam and the physician spends extra time to talk about and assess other concerns, it is considered as two distinct services in one visit and as the result the physician will bill twice, one for the routine preventive care visit and one for the illness related office visit. The process is known as split billing. In this situation, the patient is responsible for paying a copay and/or deductible related to the “non-preventive” portion of the visit.

Immediately, this raised a red flag in my mind. Because I did ask my doctor about two concerns unrelated to the preventive care, I could be billed for it and have to pay copay and deductible.

When my doctor came back, I asked her about the billing. She hesitated a little bit and said she won’t do split billing because she didn’t spend a lot of extra time.

I wondered whether the result would be different if I had not asked her about the billing and if I had not waited for her for a long time. The time I spent waiting for her was a lot longer than the time she spent with me for the visit.

So here is the new thing I learned.

During the annual physical visit, when the doctor asks what concerns I have. I am supposed to keep my mouth shut and not discuss any concerns I might have.

My question is, why do physicians ask patients about their concerns? They should stop asking: “Do you have any concerns?” It feels like a set up now.

I have been thinking about changing my doctor since this last doctor visit. I wanted to find someone who

  • doesn’t rush in and out the room,
  • is interested in dealing with the causes of any issues I have than just prescribing medications to deal with the symptoms,
  • is more knowledgeable about alternative medicine,
  • does a better job caring for the patients.

Today I paid a visit to Weili Shen’s Acupuncture Woodbury. I had always wanted to try acupuncture, but never did before.

My first acupuncture visit was great. I will definitely go back and intend to continue in the years to come.

I believe acupuncture will do a better job in preventing and healing a lot of medical concerns. Even if you don’t have any concerns, acupuncture can still be good for your overall health and well-being. Any it doesn’t have any side effects.

BTW, if anyone has a recommendation for any good family doctor in Woodbury, please let me know.

If anyone needs a recommendation for an acupuncturist or orthodontist, I would recommend the following:

Weili Shen – Acupuncture Woodbury

She started practice in Woodbury only four years ago, but has already gained loyalty of  patients some of whom have to pay out of their own pockets to visit her.

Read a related article about her and acupuncture.

Dr. Robert E. Eng – Mendota Heights Orthodontics

He is my son’s orthodontist with offices in Mendota Heights and St. Paul. He has the honesty, integrity and trustworthiness that I often don’t feel in other doctors.

Last week I visited Dr. Eng with my son who the dentist said needed braces. After the visual exam, Dr. Eng told me, my son could benefit from braces, but he doesn’t necessarily have to have braces. It was up to me to decide. I like him for putting patient’s interest first instead of his own interest.

I mentioned Dr. Eng in a previous article.