6 Month Wait? Doctor Appointment Scheduling in the Hudson Valley
It happens to the best of us - the insanity of everyday life, work, kids, grocery shopping, soccer practice. On top of that, let's throw in the 'getting back to normal' after navigating a pandemic for two plus years and during a moment of clarity you think to yourself when is the last time I went to the doctor for a full physical?
Well, that's what happened to me recently at least.
Scheduling Regular Doctor Appointments
I appreciate the routine of some regular appointments, like, when I leave the dentist for my cleaning I have my next 6 month appointment scheduled, or when I take my daughter to the pediatrician, they have us set the date for next year's annual physical before leaving the office. However, I feel like as we get older, things start happening, maybe we have more ailments and health related things going on and that equals different types of doctors and specialists, and sometimes those regular yearly checkups get skipped for a year, or two, or even more.
Our Next Available Appointment Is...
I was filling out some paperwork for an upcoming appointment with a specialist and it asked when the date of my last physical was. Hmm, well, it was a ways before my ankle surgery, and that was March 2021, and I know it wasn't during the early COVID days - then I started to get worried how I'm still standing when I haven't been to my primary in years.
To make matters worse, I needed to find a new primary physician because my insurance changed and I moved from the area where my former one was, so the official hunt began. Naturally I went to Facebook, and also to my group of girlfriends to get some suggestions and began calling around. One particular doctor in a well known local medical group came highly recommended, so I made the call.
Yes, we are accepting new patients, but we're booking out a few months for new patients seeking physicals.
Ok, a few months isn't bad, what I didn't expect was to be told that the NEXT AVAILABLE appointment for a physical was January 2023....January, of next year, I called in May, how is this possible?
I was told I could call up and try to get an earlier appointment if someone cancelled or rescheduled, but there was no wait list and I would need to call (as often as I wanted) to try to get in earlier than January.
Onto The Next One
I sat on this for a few weeks before I finally said enough is enough, I need to find a doctor that has availability before January of 2023. I again sourced the friend group, called through to a smaller, more local medical office down the street from my house, and explained my story (including the fact that I had an appointment for January 2023 with another local medical group) - the lovely woman on the other end of the phone told me I was not the first person to call recently with the same situation, and that she was able to get me in much sooner, even offering an appointment the following week if my schedule allowed it.
I just can't wrap my head around the idea of doctors booking appointments six months out for a routine physical. I mean, just last year I finally found a specialist that diagnosed the issue I was having with my ankle (that nobody could figure out for two years), and in less than a week, I was scheduled for and had a complete reconstructive ankle surgery - less than a week!
Though I initially wanted to stay with the larger medical group because my ankle surgeon and some of my specialists are there, the idea of waiting six months just didn't sit right with me, so I had to make a decision to do what was best for me in this moment.