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Old 03-24-2011, 03:58 PM   #1
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What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

I'll try to keep this as short as possible. Just some quick background on my situation. I shattered my L5/S1 disc at work 13 years ago and have been dealing with Worker's Comp insurance since then. I have had 3 major back surgeries and am left with Failed Back Syndrome with severe back and leg pain levels (usually 8/10) even when using pain meds & a spinal cord stim device.

Things are much tougher when you don't feel like your doctor cares!
I had to change doctor's two years ago when my last doctor suddenly quit his practice and left his patients on their own with little warning.

It was extremely hard for me to find a doctor that would accept a new Worker's Comp patient who only had Medicare as a second insurance. I must have been turned down 20 times before finding this doctor.

Unfortunately I don't feel he cares about my health in the slightest bit. I've only seen him once and then he passed me off to an assistant who speaks with him in his private office, then returns to write my prescriptions.

He only lets me schedule an appointment every 3 months. The assistant will ask me the same questions every time. I usually tell her I'm in terrible pain even with the meds and ask if there is something else we can try. Not necessarily higher doses, but maybe something different. She leaves to talk to the MD, returns and says "Sorry, he wants to keep everything the same"... Even though it's NOT working!

My prior doctor would at least try some new meds or change things up. He would always see me in person and ask me questions while actually LISTENING to me. Just this alone made me feel better after walking out of his office. Even if nothing changed. I still felt like I was being heard.

From bad to worse
My worker's comp insurance is so terrible they actually tried to accuse me of being a drug dealer! They wrote a 20 page letter to my doctor explaining that if I am requesting brand name pain meds I am surely doing this "to increase their street value"!

Neither the doctor or Travelers would issue me a copy of the letter, but I just walked up and asked the receptionist for a copy which she provided.
What I read was appalling and made me extremely angry!

I have been on pain meds for over 12 years and have never once given them a reason to judge me like this. I never lost a script or even filled a single prescription early. On occasion I even told the doctor to REDUCE my pain meds because they weren't working.

If this doctor would have just read my past doctor's notes he would see that I have tried the generic for Percocet and Duragesic and they both made me more nauseated.

After this secret letter to my doctor and I feel not only like my pain concerns are being ignored, but now I am being treated like a drug abuser!
In fact he wouldn't even let me leave the office until I gave them a urine test (which he's charging me for also).

I am so disgusted by this doctor, but I don't seem to have any other options.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? Was I just lucky with my original doctor?

 
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

Wow.

I'm really sorry you're going through what you are. I couldn't imagine my mother's situation being much worse in the past (re: Worker's Comp), but... yours has it beat. May I ask what state you live in? It all sounds so wrong to me.

Yes, I truly believe you were extremely lucky with your first doctor. And lucky to have had only one in 12 years? Did I understand that correctly?

I can't imagine having to have a secondary insurance (Medicare or otherwise) to see a WC Dr. It's been really tough finding mom a Dr. who would take WC at all, when she has been basically medication only for 10 years. She has been treated by a total of 8-10 WC doctors since her injury in '96. One Dr. was 300 miles from where we live - and we are 90 miles out of Houston, TX. But if she had to have another insurance to back it up? Hmmm.

The laws must be really different where we live.

 
Old 03-26-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyAmanda View Post
Wow.

I'm really sorry you're going through what you are. I couldn't imagine my mother's situation being much worse in the past (re: Worker's Comp), but... yours has it beat. May I ask what state you live in? It all sounds so wrong to me.

Yes, I truly believe you were extremely lucky with your first doctor. And lucky to have had only one in 12 years? Did I understand that correctly?

I can't imagine having to have a secondary insurance (Medicare or otherwise) to see a WC Dr. It's been really tough finding mom a Dr. who would take WC at all, when she has been basically medication only for 10 years. She has been treated by a total of 8-10 WC doctors since her injury in '96. One Dr. was 300 miles from where we live - and we are 90 miles out of Houston, TX. But if she had to have another insurance to back it up? Hmmm.

The laws must be really different where we live.
Thanks.
I live in NY.

I've had a few doctors. It's just the last doctor that I had that seemed to care the most. He was a Doctor of Osteopathy and had a good understanding of how to treat pain.

I realize not all doctors have the best bedside manner, which I can forgive as long as they excel at what they do, but my current doctor certainly does not.

Current WC laws have changed quite a bit and doctor's offices that don't want to deal with all of the legal obligations will, more often than not, just stop taking patients with Worker's Comp altogether.

My last doctor, before giving up his practice, was always complaining about how they kept sending him a ton of paperwork and withholding payments until this was all filled out.
So the insurance company really adds to this problem, making doctors so frustrated until the point where they feel it's just not worth all of the aggravation.

Good luck with your mom.

 
Old 03-26-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spoonmanx View Post
Thanks.
I live in NY.

I've had a few doctors. It's just the last doctor that I had that seemed to care the most. He was a Doctor of Osteopathy and had a good understanding of how to treat pain.

I realize not all doctors have the best bedside manner, which I can forgive as long as they excel at what they do, but my current doctor certainly does not.

Current WC laws have changed quite a bit and doctor's offices that don't want to deal with all of the legal obligations will, more often than not, just stop taking patients with Worker's Comp altogether.

My last doctor, before giving up his practice, was always complaining about how they kept sending him a ton of paperwork and withholding payments until this was all filled out.
So the insurance company really adds to this problem, making doctors so frustrated until the point where they feel it's just not worth all of the aggravation.

Good luck with your mom.

Thanks for the thought - and my mom is doing good now. Has a great doc and the WC is probably as good as is gets, here anyway.

The real reason I joined this forum when I did is actually related to my own chronic pain issues. I had a cervical fusion about 10 years ago for bad headaches - it took 3 years of many tests and doctors. But after a discogram, I was in surgery within 2 months. And it was VERY successful. I would do it again tomorrow.

BUT... Now I am having lower back pain. Cannot be on my feet for more than 15 minutes or so at once. Sitting down relieves almost all the pain - but is not conducive to living. Am currently on, based on what I have read in these forums, some of the strongest medication I can take, with almost no real relief to my back pain. But I am SO freaking scared to consider surgery.

Not that it's been really talked about though. My doctor seems reluctant to push surgery. Yet I know I can't take these meds forever. But all I keep reading about in my research regards SO many failed lower back surgeries. Multiple surgeries, and back on the same meds - IF they are lucky.

Anyway, thanks for the reply. And to anyone who reads this - I wish you ANY relief from your own pain, and a long, refreshing rest tonight. Lord knows I know that's hard to come by.

*amanda*

Last edited by LadyAmanda; 03-26-2011 at 10:17 PM.

 
Old 03-27-2011, 02:28 PM   #5
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyAmanda View Post
Thanks for the thought - and my mom is doing good now. Has a great doc and the WC is probably as good as is gets, here anyway.

The real reason I joined this forum when I did is actually related to my own chronic pain issues. I had a cervical fusion about 10 years ago for bad headaches - it took 3 years of many tests and doctors. But after a discogram, I was in surgery within 2 months. And it was VERY successful. I would do it again tomorrow.

BUT... Now I am having lower back pain. Cannot be on my feet for more than 15 minutes or so at once. Sitting down relieves almost all the pain - but is not conducive to living. Am currently on, based on what I have read in these forums, some of the strongest medication I can take, with almost no real relief to my back pain. But I am SO freaking scared to consider surgery.

Not that it's been really talked about though. My doctor seems reluctant to push surgery. Yet I know I can't take these meds forever. But all I keep reading about in my research regards SO many failed lower back surgeries. Multiple surgeries, and back on the same meds - IF they are lucky.

Anyway, thanks for the reply. And to anyone who reads this - I wish you ANY relief from your own pain, and a long, refreshing rest tonight. Lord knows I know that's hard to come by.

*amanda*
Sorry to hear about your own personal pain.

The fact that your neck surgery went so well is probably a good sign if you do choose to go the same route for your back pain, but as someone who has been through 3 major back surgeries (and 2 minor) without any relief - I would highly recommend exhausting every other option before deciding on that.

Have you tried something like a professional grade back brace? If sitting down takes away a majority of your pain it's possible a brace could do something for you.

Like you, I am also on high doses of pain meds which do very little to relieve my pain. Over the last few years I have been stuck laying in bed 95% of the time and it's not ideal.

Another option might be a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS). Compared to a spinal surgery this is much, MUCH easier to go through and even just the "test run" would let you know if it's worth having done.

Unfortunately for me the 3 major back surgeries have created what surgeons like to refer to as a "disaster area of scar tissue" so the SCS doesn't get through to my back pain as much as it should. It does help, to some degree, for my leg pain though. Enough to the point where I can't go very long with it turned off before my leg pain gets intolerable.

I hope you have more options than I do and find some relief in your pain.

Good luck!

 
Old 03-27-2011, 03:25 PM   #6
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

When I hear stories like this I get very very upset! Why is it that we (CP'er's) always have to "prove" ourselves? Why can't it be assumed that if we come to you, Mr. Doctor, and tell you we have major pain issues and need your help, why is first assumed we're a drug-seeking maniac?

I've been up on my soap-box so many times, I think I'm getting knee problems from going up and down preaching to anyone who will listen! OK, so what to do? I wonder if a patient advocacy group couldn't hep you out a bit. I recommended this to another member and have yet to find out how it went (it was today, so way to soon to expect any results). I think it might help to have a third party in your corner. BTW, I was able to find 3-4 sites for this other member to check out, so I know they're out there. Just do a search, if you wish to persue this avenue, and see what pops up.

Again, sorry to hear of all your troubles and I really hope some relief is coming your way soon! My Best to You!
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: What to do when your doctor and insurance company don't trust or respect you!?!

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mju58 View Post
When I hear stories like this I get very very upset! Why is it that we (CP'er's) always have to "prove" ourselves? Why can't it be assumed that if we come to you, Mr. Doctor, and tell you we have major pain issues and need your help, why is first assumed we're a drug-seeking maniac?

I've been up on my soap-box so many times, I think I'm getting knee problems from going up and down preaching to anyone who will listen! OK, so what to do? I wonder if a patient advocacy group couldn't hep you out a bit. I recommended this to another member and have yet to find out how it went (it was today, so way to soon to expect any results). I think it might help to have a third party in your corner. BTW, I was able to find 3-4 sites for this other member to check out, so I know they're out there. Just do a search, if you wish to persue this avenue, and see what pops up.

Again, sorry to hear of all your troubles and I really hope some relief is coming your way soon! My Best to You!

 
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