Your Doctor’s Time More Valuable Than Yours?

I guess Diabetes management got tired of being stood up by patients who never showed up for their appointments, and didn’t even bother to call to cancel. Thus, doctors took some actions to protect their income. It is a fact that another patient could have been scheduled in your place and secure your doctor’s income. It is understandable that you should be held responsible for not honoring your commitment to show up on your scheduled appointment. It makes perfect sense for the doctors to charge a no-show fee; after all, time is money! The only problem with this picture is that patients do not demand that doctors act the same way toward them when they waste their time. Why should the rules and policies set only work in doctors’ favor?

Let’s assume you have a 10 o’clock appointment and, you show up at 9:50 AM, hoping that you might be seen early. At 10:05, you are still waiting although you have a burning desire to let someone know that your time is up. Although you don’t want to wait any longer, you don’t have a choice; it is one of those unspoken rules you are expected to observe.

It’s 10:20, you are still in the waiting room. You don’t want to complain even though you are growing impatient and slightly irritated that no one from the staff members volunteered to give you an update. You try an eye contact with the assistants on the other side of the window but they are deliberately (maybe not) not looking your way. Is it wrong of you to expect to be informed ahead of time when you will be waiting longer than your scheduled appointment time?

Evidently, you expect to be given a choice when the doctor is running late. The office assistant should have called you just as he/she did the day before to confirm your appointment and, give you a choice to come late, reschedule or just show up and wait. In a least favorable situation where no one called, the staff should have informed you upon your arrival about the waiting time. This would have given you an opportunity to decide if you want to wait or reschedule. Should you request to be compensated for the time you spent at the doctor’s office waiting to be seen?

Well, if doctors have the right to ask you for a fee when you don’t show up, you should have the same right to ask them to waive your deductible when you are not seen by or after 10:30AM. Why should you waste an hour (1hr) of your time waiting for doctors who are running late? Especially, when they knew it ahead of time. It is understandable that sometimes, some patients take longer than others and, other times doctors might be called for an emergency surgery out of the office; which triggered the delay. You are not saying that doctors should let patients die because you have an appointment, what you are saying is that the doctors’ office should inform you in advance.

Finally, you are called in the patient room, the doctor’s assistant weighs you and take your vitals and ask you to wait. You are half-naked in a very cold office laying down on the patient table, waiting, waiting, waiting… You read all the little articles on the wall. You even got a chance to learn the things you missed in 5th grade regarding how some of your internal organs work (you are very confident that you will Ace all the “Are you smarter than a 5th grader science questions). You might have even fallen asleep and was brought back to reality when the doctor finally decided to enter the visiting room.

Seriously, the waste of your time is outrageous! Your time is just as valuable as your doctor’s time! If doctors set punitive rules when you don’t show up to your appointments or cancel within 24 hours, you should be compensated when they fail to notify you ahead of time that you will be waiting for 30 minutes or more.

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