Slowly, ever so slowly, we are unpacking and taking care of the things that need to be taken care of. I finally changed my cell phone to a local number, only to discover that the previous owner of my number apparently had a lot of unpaid bills. (At least all of those bill collecting calls for someone on my cell phone are things that are being charged against my minutes, rather than all the wrong numbers we get on the home phone for free.)
I’m still busy hassling the local school district over the kids’ school placement (that’s another post or five for another time), and it occurred to me that one of the things that we need are immunization records in a Georgia format. Because that would be totally different than their current immunization records.
[Their current immunizations are listed as Varicella… MMR… DTP… whereas they apparently need some forms that say Varicella y’all… MMR my stars… DTP with sweet tea….]
[Oh, I am going to get nasty mail from southerners for that one, I just know it. Notice how I don’t delete it, though. Us damn yankees.]
Anyway, Otto was kind enough to get all of us new insurance cards and he’d helpfully placed them on my desk as soon as we moved in. I then promptly piled several stacks of other stuff on top of them and forgot they were there. But today I remembered I had the cards, so I dug them out and asked Otto to show me how to look up the provider directory online.
My logic: I could pick our primary care doctor, schedule appointments for the kids, get all the necessary paperwork, and be ready to roll before school starts.
When I first became a mom I always picked a pediatrician for the kids, because I felt that only someone who specialized in kids was suitable for myyyyy preshus baybeeeeees. Over the last few years I’ve come to realize that it’s very handy for all three of us to be able to see the same doctor, so that when we’re all suffering from the same contagious crud we can schedule one appointment and all get drugs if we need them. So I was looking for a family practice doctor for the three of us.
I ended up picking one based on a very scientific system which I would explain to you if it made any sense whatsoever. But it doesn’t, so I can only tell you that Otto and I are clearly made for each other because the doctor I picked—without discussing it with him at all—is his current doctor.
In fact, Otto pointed out to me between chuckles that I’d selected the doctor ALREADY ON OUR CARDS as he’d had to put someone down in order to put us on the plan.
I phoned the office and explained that we were new patients and I needed to set up appointments for my kids to be seen and get their school paperwork. The very nice lady on the phone told me that she could assist me, and started taking our information. She then interrupted me to ask how old the kids are. When I told her, she asked me to hold on for just a minute.
The hold music was uninspiring.
She finally returned and told me that the doctor in question doesn’t see anyone under the age of twelve. I looked down at our insurance cards, which clearly listed him as the chosen primary doctor for all three of us (two of whom are under twelve). I looked up at the computer screen, where his provider profile lists him as being in FAMILY PRACTICE and seeing patients from BIRTH ONWARD. I politely pointed these things out to the woman on the phone.
“Yes, well, I’m sorry,” she said.
“You, uh, might want to let Blue Cross know,” I said. “Seeing as how they let me pick him and have him listed as a family provider even though he doesn’t actually see CHILDREN.”
“I’m sorry,” she said again, in a tone that told me she wasn’t a bit sorry.
I went back to the provider directory and applied my highly scientific method again and came up with another choice. I then called the office to see if THIS doctor is truly in family practice or if that’s just a polite way of saying “WILL SEE ANYONE EXCEPT LITTLE KIDS.”
The new office was very kind and accommodating, and set us up with appointments for next week, and gave me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings. I got off the phone thinking well FINE, I would rather go there than the other place, ANYWAY.
And then I called the HMO to switch providers.
The nice young man at the HMO asked me to please provide a reason for the switch. “Well, you assigned my children to a doctor who REFUSES TO SEE THEM,” I informed him with all the enthusiasm I could muster. “And that was REALLY SPECIAL and all, but I thought maybe we should go with a doctor who can actually treat them in case they get sick. I’m crazy that way!”
He had no sense of humor whatsoever. “Yes ma’am,” he intoned, and continued tapping away on his keyboard.
Eventually he said, “I have made that change for you, Mrs. Otto, and that will be effective on August 1st.”
I pointed out that the kids have appointments NEXT WEEK, and in fact need to be seen before school starts, so this would not be acceptable. He launched into something about how changes can only be made once a month and blah blah blah and finally I pointed out that I would not be switching if the HMO had bothered to assign my children to an appropriate doctor to begin with, so really, I didn’t care what he needed to do, but it’s not actually, I don’t know, HEALTH INSURANCE unless they allow us to have COVERAGE.
He put me on hold for a minute and came back to inform me that the change is now retroactive to July 1st and we’re all set.
Now. I just hope we like this new doctor, because if we don’t I’m not sure I possess the necessary energy to find and switch to a different one. (And as for my new HMO: Bless their hearts.)