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  • Looking for PM Doc - Initial Consults?

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    Old 02-16-2016, 02:35 PM   #1
    Eva 14
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    Question Looking for PM Doc - Initial Consults?

    My pain doctor of 7 years is retiring, so I'm now left with trying to find a new pain doc to take over my case. I have severe chronic migraine and my case and med regimen are very complex. I've had severe migraines for 25 years, and it took me many years to finally discover what works for me.

    How does a patient 'shop around' for a new doctor? (NOT 'doctor shopping' to get medication, but rather 'shopping' or 'interviewing' for a new doctor)?

    Is it okay to schedule initial consultations with a few different pain management doctors? Without scheduling meetings with a few different doctors, how else can I know who would be a good fit for my case?

    I was really hoping that my long-time pain doctor could recommend someone. My pain doc did give me a list of a few names, but some of those doctors don't even prescribe opiates. Maybe my pain doc was one of the few who did prescribe opiates. I was really lucky to find such a great doctor. Now, having to start over at square one, is very daunting.

    My pain doc's office is only open until April 30th, and I'm sure any new doctor would probably want a referral from my current pain doctor. I also don't have all of my records, but my pain doc's office says that they are trying to gather them.

    Unfortunately, I never got my records from the neurologist who referred me to PM 7 years ago. I guess I thought having the records sent from 'doctor to doctor' was best, since that seemed to be what the doctors wanted to do. I know that under HIPPA we now have a right to our medical records, but I've encountered doctors who didn't want to give me my records directly. (This was several years ago, so I guess things have changed since HIPPA).

    I called my neuro's office and asked for a copy of my records, only to be told that they only keep records for 7 years! I went there from 1993-2009, so 16 years' worth of records are just gone? That's my entire medical history, and now I don't have the records. Back in 2009, I know that my neuro faxed over some of my records to my PM doc, so I called my PM doc's office and asked for my neuro records. My PM doc's office is now telling me that they don't have the records from my neurologist! What can I do?

    The neuro nurse and my PM doc are telling me that my most recent records are what's important---is this true? I just never thought to ask for a copy of my medical records when I left my neuro and switched to PM. I left it all up to the doctors. My neuro and PM knew each other well, and I felt out-of-place to ask for my own records. I guess I never thought I'd be in a situation where I'd need my old records, but now I do.

    I did in-hospital IV DHE treatments for migraine and more treatments than I can list, but now I don't have the records to 'prove' all of that. How important is it to have old records? I've suffered from severe migraines for 25 years, and I wish I had every scrap of paper to 'prove' my treatments, but I never did get a copy of my own neuro records.

    Has anyone else been unable to obtain or locate old records? Things got computerized and old papers were thrown out by the neuro. Even with computers, it seems that I can only obtain my most recent medical records. Is this likely to present a problem?

    Regarding making appointments with prospective PM doctors, is it okay to schedule several initial consultations with different doctors? I just want an initial consult (NO meds), but I am a little bit afraid of somehow being labeled a 'drug seeker' or some such nonsense. Doctors seem to be increasingly hesitant to prescribe pain meds, even for severe pain. I've had a few bad experiences in the past, and I don't want to go back to the days of not having my pain taken seriously or not having aggressive pain treatment.

    Thanks for any advice!

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    Old 02-16-2016, 07:20 PM   #2
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    Re: Looking for PM Doc - Initial Consults?

    Sorry you're going through that. I've never heard of it being a problem to make multiple initial consults (as long as you aren't signing any prescribing contracts or accepting prescriptions). I did just that when I switched from my primary doctor to my pain specialist...I saw several pain docs when deciding who would be the best fit.

    In my area there were more pain specialists that only did procedures than those who would consider prescribing opioids. Its likely your pain doctor had to include those doctors on the list too so they could have enough options as to not overwhelm the other doctors. Not everyone seeing a pain specialist is on opioids, so those doctors may work for some other patients. Even so, I'd make appointments with other doctors right away, as the market in your area is likely to get busy with a doctor closing shop, especially if you aren't in a huge city.

    I too have heard of only the most recent medical records being the most important (last few years). I have never been asked for proof that I tried X, Y, and Z treatments. They mostly cared about my diagnosis, recent records from the referring doctor, and a one pager I gave them of all the treatments I've tried. However, they had a referral from my primary doctor, who started me on opioids upon recommendation of my neurologist, and they had all patients do a psych consult before prescribing for them (and a contract and a UA). I doubt doctors have the time or patience to read a ream of medical records.

    Also, its good news that you have more than a month to find a new doctor (which is the typical time frame, and often not enough for the initial appointment then the follow up when they would be likely to prescribe any meds, after a UA comes back). Good luck! Best wishes.
    constant headache since 2006

    Old 02-18-2016, 09:44 AM   #3
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    Re: Looking for PM Doc - Initial Consults?

    Eva 14
    just making sure, you arrive early for filling out the new pt forms. it takes time and you need to remember your history of the illness.
    Good luck

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