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  • New (military) doctors really suck - long read

    This is what I have been dealing with over the past few days and I am glad it's finally over.

    So the Air Force has mandated (effective 1 Aug 06) that any children born as military dependants will be required to get their pediatric care on base.

    Last Thursday (19 April 07) we took our 4-month old to the doc for his 4-month check-up. He's never been sick, doesn't have any medical issues to speak of, and is perfectly proportioned (sp?). Well, we take him to the doc. The nurse that checks his vitals before hand says everything is great. His head is shaped perfectly, his breathing and heart-rate are right where they should be, he has extremelly strong arms and legs for his size/age, etc. We're thrilled to recieve so much good news. Well she left and his pediatrician (an Air Force captain fresh out of med-school) comes in, checks his head for soft spots, listens to his heart, etc.

    OUT OF NOWHERE, he says that he is worried about the dime sized soft spot on the very top of his head. I can't remember exactly what he was describing to us, some condition that stars with "cranio". He described it along the lines of the sutures in the skull not fusing together properly. Supposedly, with the SIDS scare now-a-days, more parents are limiting their infants to being on their back/back of their head and that causes irregular growth which leads to irregular shape and multiple soft spots along the sutures. These soft spots that develop with this condition are where the skull needs to be strongest; on the back and sides of the head. Well, our kid has ONE soft spot on the VERY TOP of his head. The doctor then proceeds to tell us that he is going to order some x-rays and recommends surgery. My wife and I were absolutely floored. She started to tear up and I started to get a little worried. We wanted a second opinion, naturally.

    Fast forward to Monday morning. My wife has an appointment at her doctor (who was our kid's pediatrician for two months before we were required to bring him on base) for a pinched nerve in her back. We mentioned the above events to him to see what he had to say. This doctor that my wife goes to is a true professional. He's been a board certified family doc and pediatrician since this AF Captian was in diapers. I trust him completely. He felt my kid's head and said, verbatim "The guy on base is full of (poop)".

    After my wife's appointment, I went back to work and started to work my way up the chain of command to get my kid transferred back to his doctor off base. I called our insurance provider (TRICARE), my First Sergeant, the med-group First Sergeant, etc. All they could tell me was that I needed to fill out a small packet of papers and write the med-group commander a letter telling him I want off-base care for my child. That all seemed too easy. Nothing in the Air Force is that easy. However, no one would give me details as to what needed to be included in this letter. After all, I can't just write a letter to a colonel saying "Hi sir, I'd like to get a wiaver to get my kid off-base care". So, I called everyone I could to see what I needed to say in this letter. No one could give me specifics. After getting the reach around for two hours, I finally got fed up with this whole BS process and e-mailed the colonel directly. I shouldn't have done that because that isn't the way to do things, but all things considered, it was my last option before I went scorched Earth on everyone. The e-mail was short, polite, and to the point. No less than three hours did I recieve an e-mail back from the colonel telling me what needed to be included in the letter and that he would pass my situation on to his secretary. I was extatic.

    Fast forward to about 5pm that same afternoon. The colonel's secretary calls me on my cell phone at home and completely rips my ass for e-mailing the colonel. This woman told me that no one of my rank should have the sheer audacity to e-mail a colonel for something as petty as that. My jaw dropped to the floor, literally...I had to use soldering wire to attach it again. I said "ma'am, with all do respect, I have gone through all of the proper channels to try to get this taken care of ASAP. You don't know the situation, neither does colonel (name). Before you tell me what I need not do, you need to know the details". I explained everything to her and she apologized up and down, and rightfully so. She then explained to me how this isn't the first complaint that they've recieved and they are bringing in a civilian, board certified pediatrician and that she would like us to try her out. She mentioned that our request for off-base care wouldn't get approved either because the clinic on base wasn't at capacity yet.

    I'll tell you one thing; if this new doctor says one thing I don't like it will be back to square one. I'm still in shock that this captain had the cajones to tell me that he thought my 4-month old child needed skull surgery. Ridiculous.

    EDIT: I'm getting off work early and I fully intend on stopping by the booze barn and picking me up a sixxer of Blue Moon and then heading to the grocery store to buy an orange. YUM!
    Last edited by SeeingRed; 04-27-2007, 07:42 AM.
    Originally posted by Soldier96B
    i also took a crap and it was orange

  • #2
    Navy docs aren't any better (I'm in the Marines). Unfortunately, my take anyway, is the young docs in the military are just that, young. Just out of school, etc. The old guys, well, there are a few that are still in the military because they truly have a sense of service and pride in what they do. However, the majority are here because they aren't good enough to go elsewhere. Why else would you continue to make O-4 pay when you could triple it by working at a private practice somewhere?

    Anyhow. Call Tricare. As a Tricare PRIME member it is your option to have your family treated ANYWHERE that is a Tricare partner. They should have a list of providers in your local tricare service center.

    YOU pay for tricare. Yeah, it's one of your benefits, but you pay for your family to have that benefit, just like any civilian does for their health care.

    Your family cannot be required to receive treatment from an MTF and an MTF alone. The worst possible scenario is that they require your family to be treated at the MTF for routine procedures. Sick call type stuff. However with something like your child's (possible or imaginary) condition they should have no problem giving you a consult to see a pediatrician or specialist out in town.

    Bottom line, talk to your Tricare rep, not your command. Your command has nothing to do with Tricare. Tricare is a civilian company that is contracted for the purposes of military healthcare.

    PM me with info to where you're stationed and i'll try and get you local contact info.

    Hey, I did learn something in my 12 years eh?

    Al Davis leads yet another squad to the brink of mediocrity.

    Code Of Conduct
    ARTICLE VI: I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States Of America.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Davii
      Navy docs aren't any better (I'm in the Marines). Unfortunately, my take anyway, is the young docs in the military are just that, young. Just out of school, etc. The old guys, well, there are a few that are still in the military because they truly have a sense of service and pride in what they do. However, the majority are here because they aren't good enough to go elsewhere. Why else would you continue to make O-4 pay when you could triple it by working at a private practice somewhere?

      Anyhow. Call Tricare. As a Tricare PRIME member it is your option to have your family treated ANYWHERE that is a Tricare partner. They should have a list of providers in your local tricare service center.

      YOU pay for tricare. Yeah, it's one of your benefits, but you pay for your family to have that benefit, just like any civilian does for their health care.

      Your family cannot be required to receive treatment from an MTF and an MTF alone. The worst possible scenario is that they require your family to be treated at the MTF for routine procedures. Sick call type stuff. However with something like your child's (possible or imaginary) condition they should have no problem giving you a consult to see a pediatrician or specialist out in town.

      Bottom line, talk to your Tricare rep, not your command. Your command has nothing to do with Tricare. Tricare is a civilian company that is contracted for the purposes of military healthcare.

      PM me with info to where you're stationed and i'll try and get you local contact info.

      Hey, I did learn something in my 12 years eh?
      From what Tricare already told me, the med-group commander is the one who has to sign the waiver to let us go off base again. They said Tricare is short on funds right now and until they recieve more funding, this is the way it is. Now, since my child is required to recieve care on-base, it becomes the command's decision, hence the requirement of the letter. It's a ridiculous process really. I'm fed up with Tricare to be 100% honest. Military docs are teh suck.
      Originally posted by Soldier96B
      i also took a crap and it was orange

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SeeingRed
        From what Tricare already told me, the med-group commander is the one who has to sign the waiver to let us go off base again. They said Tricare is short on funds right now and until they recieve more funding, this is the way it is. Now, since my child is required to recieve care on-base, it becomes the command's decision, hence the requirement of the letter. It's a ridiculous process really. I'm fed up with Tricare to be 100% honest. Military docs are teh suck.
        So they are telling you that the MTF commander has to authorize it?

        That doesn't make any sense. Just monday I asked to get a CT scan out in town instead of on base, and I received the consult approved thing in the mail this morning.

        Have you tried calling the Tricare regional line instead of your local rep?

        Al Davis leads yet another squad to the brink of mediocrity.

        Code Of Conduct
        ARTICLE VI: I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States Of America.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Davii
          So they are telling you that the MTF commander has to authorize it?

          That doesn't make any sense. Just monday I asked to get a CT scan out in town instead of on base, and I received the consult approved thing in the mail this morning.

          Have you tried calling the Tricare regional line instead of your local rep?

          The clinic on base here isn't a full on medical facility. For CT scans, MRI, x-rays, and anything else major we have to get off-base anyway. His check-ups and visits are required to be on base now.

          Our medical group commander has to authorize it, not Tricare. It goes between him and Tricare in the end, but in order for it to ever get to Tricare it has to be approved by the med-group commander. It's a borderline retarded process.

          I had two MRI on the 11th off base as well...but only because we don't have that equipment on base. Had we the equipment on base, I wouldn't have been able to go off base unless it was for a second opinion. We got our kid a second opinion off base already, but I was told flat out that they would not let us receive regular care for our boy off base.
          Originally posted by Soldier96B
          i also took a crap and it was orange

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by SeeingRed
            The clinic on base here isn't a full on medical facility. For CT scans, MRI, x-rays, and anything else major we have to get off-base anyway. His check-ups and visits are required to be on base now.

            Our medical group commander has to authorize it, not Tricare. It goes between him and Tricare in the end, but in order for it to ever get to Tricare it has to be approved by the med-group commander. It's a borderline retarded process.

            I had two MRI on the 11th off base as well...but only because we don't have that equipment on base. Had we the equipment on base, I wouldn't have been able to go off base unless it was for a second opinion. We got our kid a second opinion off base already, but I was told flat out that they would not let us receive regular care for our boy off base.
            Regular care, colds and what not, unfortunately that is the process now. It actually has been for about three years depending on your location. Your Primary care provider will be a doc on base.

            However, if the doc on base is steering you wrong and you're not happy with the level of care received there are channels you can take to get another primary care provider, either a different doc on base, or a pediatrician out in town.

            If your base doesn't have a qualified pediatrician that would be the first red flag that you shouldn't have to deal with base docs for your son.

            Al Davis leads yet another squad to the brink of mediocrity.

            Code Of Conduct
            ARTICLE VI: I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States Of America.

            Comment


            • #7
              That's what I was trying to say. His PCM is on base. We got him switched to a civilian PCM on base, but if that doesn't work, peace out.
              Originally posted by Soldier96B
              i also took a crap and it was orange

              Comment


              • #8
                I honestly cant believe you are forced to use military doctors. Obviously you are but I dont understand how they get away with it. Is it to do with your insurance or something? When my dad was in the army we used the Army doctors in most cases as a matter of convenience as it was just down the road. I always hated them and never believed the job they did was as good. They seem to take the same approach to civvie family members as they do the soldiers they treat.
                "On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit'. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high."
                Ayrton Senna..

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