June 19, 2009

A Call to the Doctor’s Office. Updated.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:29 pm


I got to thinking about how a routine call to the doctor’s office might go in the future. Here ‘tis:


Operator: ObamaCare …. Please hold.

(15 minutes later)

Operator: ObamaCare, may I help you?

Patient: My God, I dialed the number for my doctor’s office, and I spent ten minutes responding to telephone prompts to finally speak with a real person, then I was put on hold….

Operator: We’re very busy, sir. How can I help you?

Patient: My name is John Stevens. I’m a patient of Dr. Jones, and I’d like to speak with Dr. Jones when he has a moment.

Operator: That won’t be possible, sir.

Patient: OK, I would like to stop by today if possible. I have a very painful earache. The pain is horrible, and it’s even making me nauseous.

Operator: That won’t be possible, sir.

Patient: OK, I’ll take a bunch of aspirin, but can I see the doctor tomorrow?

Operator: That won’t be possible, sir.

Patient: Who’s his covering doctor? I think I really need to see a doctor. This is getting worse every day.

Operator: Sir, we don’t have doctors here. This is an ObamaCare Call Center. All phone calls to physicians’ offices are automatically forwarded here now.

Patient: Jesus, I don’t understand all that; I really need to make an appointment to see a doctor . Can you make an appointment for me?

Operator: What is your Social Security Number, sir?

Patient: Is all this necessary? I’ve been Dr. Jones’ patient for fifteen years.

Operator: We can’t even discuss an appointment until I get your Social Security Number.

Patient: OK, It’s 111-22-1234. Now, will you please make the appointment. I’m in terrible pain here.

Operator: .(following lengthy pause) It’s not that simple, sir. I’ve checked, and you are not in our system. We will require detailed information about your medical history, family’s medical history, your occupation and some information about your lifestyle.

Patient: Didn’t you hear me? I said I’ve been a patient of Dr. Jones for fifteen years. He has my records – fifteen years’ worth!

Operator: It seems that Dr. Jones’ files were not in a form that could be readily imported into our databases. It’s a common problem and we have people working on getting that information into our system.

Patient: Christ! What do I do in the meantime?

Operator: You have to register in the system.

Patient: OK. Can I do that online? Can you register me now? My ear is throbbing!

Operator: No, sir. I cannot do that. You see, this is a Call Center. You will have to go to one of the area ObamaCare Registration Centers to register. I suggest you call first, so they can tell you what kind of documentation you will need to bring with you in order to be permitted to register. You may need an appointment.

Patient: You’re kidding me, right?

Operator: I’m very busy. Do you have any questions about the instructions I have just given you?

Patient: Yes I do. If I can manage to drive to gather up all the documents this Registration Center needs, and I can manage to drive there without passing out, and I don’t have to make an appointment to register, will they be able to make an appointment for me to see a doctor tomorrow?

Operator: No, sir. As I told you, that is a Registration Center. We make the appointments once you are registered. The Registration Center advises us when your registration is complete.

Patient: How long does that take?

Operator: They’re pretty backed up over there, so I’m guessing it will take about a week.

Patient: A WEEK?!? I can’t want a damned week! I’m in horrible pain. I’ll just go to the emergency room.

Operator: That won’t be possible, sir.

Patient: Why?

Operator: Under the new regulations, treatment of earaches by emergency room personnel is not permitted.

Patient: This is insane!

Operator: Sir, you have to take into account that medical services are now free.

Patient: Free-Schmee! I’ll pay a doctor to examine my ear. I’m worried that this may turn into something really serious.

Operator: That won’t be possible, sir. Physicians are prohibited from accepting payments outside the system.

Patient: Let me guess … the regulations?

Operator: That’s correct, sir.

Patient: Let me ask you as one human being to another. What the heck am I supposed to do? I’m actually worried about passing out while I’m on the phone.

Operator: Well, as a kid, when I would get an earache, my grandmother would some spices and who knows what else to some warm olive oil and put it in my ear. Worked every time.

Patient: OWWWWWW!!! This is positively killing me! I wish I could see your grandmother right about now!

Operator: I believe that is possible. She lives only three blocks from you. I can call her to tell her you’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Will that be OK?

Patient: Oh, that would be wonderful. Thank you so much.

Operator: There’s one more thing.

Patient: What’s that?

Operator: She gets $250 per treatment, payable in cash.

UPDATE: Doug Ross was thinking along the same lines. Good stuff.


  1. Spanked that one…you did!!!

    Comment by Sam — June 19, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  2. That’s so close to reality it’s scary!!

    Comment by Joan of Argghh! — June 19, 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  3. Actually, my doctor (soon to be ex-doctor) now “strongly urges” his patients to arrange appointments and queries solely through a centralized website that is damn near impenetrable. Test results are given the same way, only you have to have the exact test numerical designation… which of course only the doctor has.
    Yeah, I’m looking for a new medico.

    Comment by LeeAnn — June 20, 2009 @ 12:57 am

  4. As an RN, not working currently, but without health insurance, this scares me too…how about our own medical care co-op. Anybody interested?

    Comment by Michele used to be RN — June 20, 2009 @ 7:40 am

  5. That was a little too close to reality for comfort !

    Comment by Angie — June 20, 2009 @ 11:58 am

  6. I think that covers it.

    Comment by Teresa — June 20, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

  7. If you happen to have Kaiser Permanente as your insurer, this scenario is pretty much already happening. After wading through miles of red tape and/or various voice promps, and waiting on hold forever, it is not unusual to find that the soonest available appointment is 3 months away.

    And heaven forbid you should need to go to the ER. You should plan for at least a 5 hour wait, or even up to a 9 hour wait.

    If you happen to be having severe abdominal pain while you happen to be at an appointment with your neurologist, he will tell you that he can’t discuss that matter with you because it’s not specialty. He will advise you to call and make an appointment with your gastroenterologist. For an appointment 3 months from now! But I’m in severe pain right now! Ok, go to the emergency room.

    I am not making this up. I have actually been through all of these scenarios. And I’m with Kaiser because they are the only insurer that I can barely afford.

    So any changes Obama makes to the health care system don’t worry me at all. The system is already fucked up.

    I have friends in Canada that swear by the health care system. One of my friends had to have major surgery, and she didn’t have to pay a dime for it. She also didn’t have to wait 3 months just to be evaluated.

    So I beg to argue that no matter what kind of insurance you have here in the States (and I know people who pay up to $900/month) you will never be able to have a major surgery for free.

    Sure, those of you who can afford high monthly premiums get premium service. And you may not even have to pay for it if your job provides benefits. But there is a majority of us…either self employed or at jobs that don’t provide health care or people who have lost their jobs…we are stuggling. Anything would be better than what we have now.

    Ok….I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    Comment by DogsDontPurr — June 22, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  8. >> Anything would be better than what we have now.

    You wanna bet?

    Comment by Mike — June 23, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  9. […] a lighter mode, Jim posted a peek into the future: A Call to the Doctor’s Office, while Doug was Calling the Democrat Socialized Medicine Emergency […]

    Pingback by Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Obamacare — June 25, 2009 @ 7:53 am

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