Monday, September 3, 2012

The Case of the Disappearing Doctor

Update: Beez found Dr. B, shopping for vitamins at Sam's Club. It turns out that he is having some problems with his visa and will be back to work when they are cleared up. Thank goodness! 
What do you do when your doctor disappears? 

I have had a very good primary care doctor in Las Cruces for the last three years. I started going to him because my friends recommended him and we were all extremely happy with the service he provided. He was one of those good doctors who listened and took the time to find out how you were feeling.

A couple of months ago he just disappeared. At first we heard that he was leaving the doctor's group and setting up on his own, then the doctor's group started calling his patients and offering to change over appointments to another one of their doctors, saying that Dr. B. had "gone on vacation and never returned" and that they had "no idea of his whereabouts."

This office has been very disorganized in the past; they cut off phone calls, don't send faxes to insurance and prescription companies in a timely fashion. We have learned to go to the office and stand there until they complete whatever task you need from them. Getting anything done over the phone is next to impossible with them. I suspect that Dr. B. was also unhappy with the office, at least I hope that's why he left. I have the feeling that he is unable to get to his patient list to let us know what is happening.

So, here's the problem. I don't want to transfer to another doctor within the practice because I don't like their way of doing business. I want to know what happened to my doctor, and why he left. My big question is this: Have I been receiving quality care from him or has he been fired for some reason that I ought to know about?

Where do I go to get these kinds of questions answered? Is there some kind of medical board that can help me? What would you do?

16 comments:

Linda Wildenstein said...

Wow, that's a really good question. I don't have a thought at all....but I will be interested to find out what you find. Oma Linda

Sylvia K said...

That is a really strange situation??? I would be asking a lot of questions, too, and particularly, where do I go now??? I, too, will be interested in learning what the story is!! Take care!!

Joyful said...

Oh wow! This sounds quite mysterious. It leaves you in a bad place if you don't have a good doctor.

If you want to know about the credentials/standing of your former doctor, call the appropriate medical association. Here is a link to the various offices In Az. http://www.azmd.gov/OtherSites/SiteOfInterest2.aspx

I know one health board here that keeps a list of newly arriving doctors for patients looking for a doctor in a place of not enough doctors to go around. You can call your local hospital to find out if there is such a thing. The medical assoc. link I provided above also has a place where you can search for a doctor http://www.azmd.gov/GLSPages/DoctorSearch.aspx

Ask friends for recommendations and do the search above, keep a list of 'good doctors' and test them a few times until you find the right "fit". Good luck.

Joyful said...

p.s. The Az. board also had a list of new practitioners in your state.
http://www.azmd.gov/GLSPages/RecentActions.aspx

clairz said...

Joyful, thank you for the links. We live in the next state to the east from Arizona but I have discovered that the New Mexico Medical Board also has a website that lists doctors under investigation. No sign of my doctor there. I am really interested in tracking him down to assure myself that he did not leave under some sort of cloud. I just want to know that the care I was receiving was as good as I had thought.

Joyful said...

I had a momentary lapse. I knew where you lived but for some reason Arizona came to mind! I'm glad you found a website that might help.

Nan said...

Wow! What a story! You could write a great mystery. I'd run as far away from that practice as possible. There's something going on that isn't good. :<)

Linda said...

How bizarre. My only suggestions would be for the National Health Service in the UK (aka 'socialist medicine' in some quarters in the US, I gather!), so that won't be of any use. But I hope you resolve the issue and find a good replacement. A good GP and a good dentist are essential.

becky said...

That is indeed strange. It sounds like he was a good doc, but I'll bet he had the pressure on him to see more patients, or not spend as much time as he does with people. I almost wonder if they do know (at the office) why he left. Seems strange that he wouldn't at least put his notice in. Gosh, I wonder if he 'went missing' on his vacation....

Kate said...

I wonder if the office is deliberately withholding information. Every state must have a medical board. Start surfing the internet, beginning with the American Medical Association. They undoubtedly have a New Mexico Office and can send you where you need to go. When in Sante Fe last winter is was very easy to find credentials of doctors. Just plugged in something like doctor reviews.

Kate said...

Clair, try this link: http://www.nmms.org/doctors/search

clairz said...

Kate, I have found him on the NM Medical Board site. His license is all up to date with no current complaints/investigations. We'll continue to try to get some info from the group practice. I'll also try the hospital where he has privileges.

Val said...

My husband does this kind of research for a living (head hunting in the medical field - and tracking down people to keep the firm's records up to date). I will see if he has some ideas.

clairz said...

Val, thank you. I really want to find my doctor.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hope you find him -- we had that happen to us in Florida -- the exact same thing ... the guy just disappeared. First we knew of it was that the drugstore refused to refill a prescription ...we learned after looking on Internet that he had been "misusing" Medicare and got in trouble, so the practice apparently fired him. I hope that isn't true for yours.

clairz said...

We found Dr. B. the old-fashioned way, by running into him at Sam's Club. This place is a lot like a small town! He is having some kind of work visa problem and as soon as it is straightened out, he'll be practicing again. Thank you all for the suggestions and comments!