Posted 12/30/2014 1:07 PM (GMT -6)
So sorry for all you're going through. You sound very politically involved & that's a good thing. Unfortunately, good laws usually take years, even decades, to pass & rarely are perfect. In the meantime, we work with what we have. I was wanting to switch to a different PM in my area that could maybe focus more on injections rather than pain medication. I was very clear & careful to express that I ONLY wanted injections, but even with that, it took the lousy PM's office nearly 6 weeks to return my phone calls (I called maybe once a week for the first 3-4 weeks and then gave up hope) to even schedule a consultation. And in that case I wasn't new to the area, had a referral from my PCP & wasn't looking for any prescription meds whatsoever.
I know my doctors have said the new ACA law requires them to switch over to some electronic recordkeeping system & it is a real beast to try to arrange purchasing, training, data transfer, etc. They are all overwhelmed here and haven't been keen on rushing to take new patients. My PM is usually very sympathetic to people who have to wait more than a month for a new patient appointment, but right now, in spite of adding 2 new staff to help comply with these new laws, he's now booking new patient appointments nearly 8 weeks out (and it now takes up to 14 days, instead of 3, for the MA to get back to you with an appointment time). He's a kind & decent person/doctor, but he's just really overwhelmed right now with the new requirements and is having to dedicate part of his day to the new recordkeeping stuff instead of having as many appointments as usual.
I think it must be really tough to balance government compliance, malpractice insurers' requirements, medical best practices & the fact there are only 24 hours in a day. On the other hand, I've been where you are right now & I know how seemingly impossible it is to remain patient when you're under all this stress from the move, don't have your usual support system & now are seemingly at the whims of the world to get any pain relief. I think the suggestion for the PCP is a good plan. For one thing, sometimes PCP's will agree to write for a small amount of pain medication for a short amount of time while you're waiting to get into a pain clinic. The last time I moved, I scheduled an appointment with my new PCP & had my records sent to his office (especially hospital records). He took one look at how many times I had been hospitalized due to poor pain control & immediately pulled out his script pad (this after an hour long interview/exam that I mostly cried through, leading him to think maybe I was just depressed so he had first suggested an anti-depressant; when I told him I wasn't depressed, just really scared of having to go back in the hospitals again for weeks at a time, he questioned me about how many times I had been admitted. I suggested he look at my records & that settled the issue). He wrote me for 2 weeks of medication & got on the phone to the PM's office to push them to get me an appointment. He also found out what tests/scans the PM was going to require & got some of those ordered so I could complete them before my appointment with the PM.
I know it's really miserable when you're in so much pain & I wish I could waive a magic wand and get you an appointment tomorrow with a PM that could take care of you right away to keep your pain from getting out of control, but for whatever reason(s), things don't work that way ... not at the moment, at least. If you have an HMO, see if you can get your PCP to agree to 2 office visits with the PM that first month (some PM's will agree to prescribe to patients once the drug screen comes back & often that is complete within 2 weeks). If you have a PPO/POS, check with your insurance provider to make sure they'll pay for 2 visits that first month (or ask the office manager if you can pay cash & how much that would be). There's no guarantee the doc will have an appointment that soon, but it's good to have as an option in the event there's an opening or cancellation. In the meantime, stock up on Advil & ice packs and maybe see if there is an alternative medicine provider that could offer some relief (acupuncture, massage...). I know those offer little relief, but some relief is better than nothing.