Barriers to care

I have a client who has been struggling for some time, not just with ADHD but with pretty severe depression and anxiety. Despite being in a difficult place, he was fighting to get better. He had sought out a large local medical group. (I won’t name them.) Just to make an intake appointment he had to fill out an informational packet that was I don’t know how many pages thick and took him over two hours to complete. 

I find this disturbing. Make a young man who is struggling jump though such hoops just to have the option to access care is unconscionable and embarrassing. He was able to use my as a resource to help him complete the paperwork. But imagine how many people just get overwhelmed by the packet, don’t fill it out, and consequently don’t get the help they need.

Ultimately, this medical establishment continually cancelled his new patient appointments to a point that was also unprofessional and embarrassing. Ultimately they strung him along for months and then didn’t deliver the care he needed. At this point, there were concerns about his safety. And, I was unable to speak to his primary care physician who also practiced at the same location. I was told by a surly nurse that I was only allowed to get a message to the doctor, not speak to her or even leave a voicemail. And, she wouldn’t even do that because she couldn’t find my client in the computer. (Because he didn’t use his full name with me.)

Ultimately, I figured out what name to use and a message went… somewhere. And, the client got a vague and ham-handed reach out by some underling. The physician never contacted me to address the concerns or find out what information I had to offer. Nor did she ever contact the client, her patient, directly.

Deplorable! And, sadly this is the direction that much of our mental health system is going.

I will say that I recently had an issue with another client. His prescribing physician reached out to me directly. And, after a bit of phone tag, we had a very helpful and productive conversation about what we both saw in this young man’s behavior and how could both best help him. I was very grateful to have that kind of interaction with a clients doctor. I’ve had a few other such interactions. But I will say that they are few and far between.

Standard disclaimer: I don’t edit much if at all. This is a deal I have made with myself. It keeps me from being frozen in the metaphorical carbonite of perfectionism or falling into the “Sarlacc” of avoidance behavior. A new post done is always better than a perfect post undone.

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