Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Primary Care Provider
I am ashamed to admit that I actually felt annoyed tonight over being referred to as a "primary care provider." It is hard to explain that after 21 years of education and another 23 years of practice as a specialist in Internal Medicine, I would be bothered by this.
One of my patients that I have cared for for 20 years was admitted to the hospital after going to the ER with abdominal pain. I was not informed of his admission and the "hospitalist" became the attending physician. The patient called me today from his hospital bed to inform me. He actually had a previously scheduled appointment with me in the office today and, good patient that he is, was calling to say he couldn't make it. He assumed I already knew he was admitted to the hospital.
I asked him to have the attending doctor call me as soon as he/she made rounds. I got the call from a young sounding hospitalist physician who did not know my name and wondered if I was the "primary care provider". She then said "Oh I don't usually call the primary care provider."
That phrase just stopped me cold. It is so "insurance" sounding. So contrived and replaceable. Primary care provider...delivery man....vacuum cleaner salesman...roto-rooter man. It's the doctor you can dismiss if you are a hospitalist one or two years out of training.
"I don't usually call the primary care provider."
Guess I better get thicker skin.
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