Psychiatrists office not answering/returning calls or web inquires

FauxLiz

Sponsor
So, I reached a point last weekend having spent two days in bed and reaching the end of nearly a month of serious on-going SI that I should probably speak to my Pdoc about modifying my medications. Not sure how but something has to change for the better.

I started calling on Monday and got a recording that the call could not be completed as dialed. Same message on Tuesday so I went to their website and completed their appointment request form and submitted it figuring that with all the storms that have been going on over the last several months and many places having issues with phone and internet lines being down that it was something along those lines. I still hadn't heard from them by mid-afternoon yesterday in any capacity so I tried calling again. The after hours answering service answered said they had had phone issues but they would get a message to them. Again today, no contact from the office, answering service is taking the calls and nothing is happening.

I realize that I should be understanding but for the past several months the cycle of not answering their phone during business hours, not returning calls after a message is left with the service and not responding to their web contact forms has gotten really old. I have never really felt comfortable this Pdoc but options seem limited. I am thinking of trying to find a new Pdoc, I know it won't be easy but if I can't even get a return call what good is it to have the one I have?

Does anyone else have issues with the Pdoc or their practice like this? Am I being unreasonable to expect someone to answer the office during regular business hours? Is this just me being so dysregulated that I am not seeing things clearly? Input appreciated.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
Never had such issues, but with Telehealth maybe you might be able to find another option? As long as in anyone within the same state doesn’t have to be someone you go to in person? Especially if it’s just for medication management.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Am I being unreasonable to expect someone to answer the office during regular business hours?
Not unreasonable at all. I have come to believe that anyone with a business who will not respond to email or return phone calls is not getting my business. It really says something about their commitment to their clients/customers.
 

Friday

Moderator
Does anyone else have issues with the Pdoc or their practice like this? Am I being unreasonable to expect someone to answer the office during regular business hours? Is this just me being so dysregulated that I am not seeing things clearly? Input appreciated.
Not taking/returning unscheduled calls during business hours is industry normal in medicine, including psychiatric medicine… as those hours are when they’re seeing patients, giving or seeking consults, business appointments, making scheduled calls, etc. Med Admin Staff take unscheduled calls, docs return them either at close of business, or add them to their schedule tomorrow; whilst nurses field ‘need medical advice now’ calls to triage what needs to happen next (seen immediately, by their doc, or in emergency; appointment made; make a hole/squeeze someone in, or reg appt.).

But not returning messages? Is frankly bizarre.

***

Most doctors have times in their lives when their practice goes sideways / may even go upside down & has to shut down… usually when their Secretary/receptionist or nurse quits (for whatever reason). Support staff is what allows doctors to see patients.

My grandfather (doc, half raised me) taught me how to type explicitly for the reason that I “wouldn’t hire the wrong person” because I was desperate whilst in-between secretaries. ((I just loooooooove his assumption was that I would HAVE a secretary, rather than being one. OG Feminist, my grandfather.)) Which is another mistake most doctors make, at some point: Their trusty Secretary &/or Nurse quits, and they don’t want to change how they practice (immediately clearing half their schedule so they can do the work of 2 people until the right person can be found); so they hire the wrong person, and their practice gets even more f*cked; or they don’t clear half their schedule and do 2 jobs badly, and their practice gets even more f*cked.

^^^^
NONE OF THAT is you being dysregulated.

That is 100%, sum total, without exception, the cost of doing business as a doctor. Practice logistics & office management. If they’re f*cking it up? It’s not because their patients are somehow responsible. They, themselves, are. Not you.

Some docs, by the by? NEVER unf*ck their practice. They survive by way of new patients who have yet to get sick of their incompetence & unprofessionalism, people who don’t know any better/different, and the desperate. Do NOT be a patient of these doctors. Just don’t.

How can you tell the difference between someone who is momentarily AIEEEEE!!! and a lazy/incompetent f*cker? You can’t. Not as a new patient. Find a new doc.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
Not taking/returning unscheduled calls during business hours is industry normal in medicine, including psychiatric medicine… as those hours are when they’re seeing patients, giving or seeking consults, business appointments, making scheduled calls, etc.
@Friday I should clarify, this is not a sole practitioner practice. In fact my Pdoc is not even the top person and they have a full administrative staff, psych nurses, NP's, therapists and the full range of counselors. I didn't expect to speak with my Pdoc directly when I called nor did I expect him to be the one to return the call to schedule an appointment. I do expect a member of the admin staff to answer the phone or return calls if they go to the answering service. I do expect someone from the admin staff to be monitoring the websites appointment/refill request form system and making sure that they are properly directed

In the past I have been told by care providers that my expectations are too high, that they are not "crisis" care providers and that the relationship I have had with previous care givers that allowed me to email or call and leave messages with them directly were out of line and did not have good boundaries. The thing is with those providers I never expected immediate responses I was happy with a response in 24 hours but I knew I would get a response. Now, I continue to question what a healthy correct relationship looks like with a care provider because it seems I go from one extreme to the other and not for the better.

I reached out today to several different practices. All but one said they have a wait list. That one said they have a wait list for medication management but not if I am interested in trying their other treatment options. They off TMS and Spravato treatments both of which I have considered so yeah if saying I am interested in those is what it takes to see someone else I will do it.

Never had such issues, but with Telehealth maybe you might be able to find another option? As long as in anyone within the same state doesn’t have to be someone you go to in person? Especially if it’s just for medication management.
@mylunareclipse Just finding someone in the same state is not that easy. Until April, I lived on the west side of this state for 3 years. The first year I was with a great Pdoc but he left the practice and went to work for a private psych hospital managing inpatient individuals only. It broke my heart and after 6 months of searching I couldn't find anyone else so I returned to the Pdoc that I had seen for the 4 years I was in the area I am now and have been seeing him since. I knew something was screwed up this summer when I called to schedule a med management telehealth appointment in August and the practice when I finally spoke with someone informed me that they had terminated telehealth in June and were only seeing clients in person. I threw a MAJOR fit, finally they agreed to do a telehealth session. I logged in to the session, waited for 45 minutes past the start time and then logged out. 30 minutes later I got a phone call and it was my Pdoc calling wanting to have the session, I was about to go into another virtual meeting, told him, I need my meds refilled, send the scripts to xyz pharmacy and I will get my PCP to call in my Adderall since you don't do electronic prescriptions or electronic records. I guess those two things are really all I need to know that it is time to find someone else, we are two years into a pandemic, they discontinued telehealth and do deal with technology.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Have you tried any of the telehealth companies you can find online? Some of them prescribe; you might be able to find one that can help you get through until you find someone near you.
 

Friday

Moderator
Now, I continue to question what a healthy correct relationship looks like with a care provider because it seems I go from one extreme to the other and not for the better.
Partly? It looks like what “works”.

Being half raised by a doctor/nurse couple? Only maaaaaybe 5% of medical professionals rise to the level of someone I’d be willing to work with. My minimum standards are unapologetically high.

Of that 5%? There’s still a HUGE spectrum in how people choose to run their business, and an even bigger spectrum of personalities.

The people I see are always the best in their field, that’s baseline. BEYOND that? It’s all about what makes me happy / do I enjoy who they are as people & how they run their office?


The first year I was with a great Pdoc but he left the practice and went to work for a private psych hospital managing inpatient individuals only.
THIS is who I would hit up for referrals.

Because great providers? ALSO have high minimum standards. If you have one amaaaaaazing doctor? You’re in. That’s all you need; 1 amazing doc. Because it’s virtually impossible for doctors to be friends with -or respect as colleagues- anyone who isn’t as good a doctor as they are, or better. great providers ref other great providers. Mediocre providers ref mediocre providers. Quacks refer to quacks.

For added “I really need 22 seconds of time with that amazing noggin of yours”… I often include a bottle of scotch or box of truffles in with the request for a recommendation… when it’s someone I used to know or they’re a friend of a friend. And am soooooo not above doing a walk-in with goodies (cookies, pizza, whatever) for the front desk staff in order to make that request. Very few people’s days aren’t brightened up by chocolate, and most people are much more helpful when they’re happy / feel appreciated.
 
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brat17

MyPTSD Pro
You are not unreasonable. This is totally unacceptable. How far is the office from you? Can you go in person to request an appointment. I had a primary care dr who had office staff that were not returning calls. I started walking in to schedule or request refill.
 
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