I only get to see this guy when my assigned PCP is overwhelmed at the MTF (Military Treatment Facility) to which, as a Tricare Prime patient, I am enrolled.
I want to make it clear that any of the following which might seem derogatory toward military health care is derogatory only toward SYSTEMS. The people involved are wonderful and trying their very best to be the best medical providers. What I criticize are the rules/regulations/etc., and the hoops they and their patients must jump through.
This guy is good for me. He’s emotionally and professionallly honest with me. He calls me on my bullshit, but doesn’t make me feel like a moron. This is probably personality more than medical training — but we are able to communicate with each other.
This ability is priceless. MasterCard, Universal Health Care, Electronic Medical Records and all the other technological advances in medical care cannot replace the physician/patient relationship.
My MTF assigned PCP has this ability too, but she’s restricted in her ability to follow-up and follow-through with her patients. It’s just too damned hard to get an appointment with her and she has as little input into the availability of appointments as I do. This is a system failure, not a physician failure.
I got lucky. Through conversations with the non-MTF appointment person and billing agent, I learned which hoops I needed to jump through within the MTF referral process. Oh yeah, the MTF appointment clerk I worked with after learning the right words — ie, words she could “respond to” without repercussions led to EIGHT (that’s right, 8!) referral numbers, each with four authorized follow-ups. Folks, that translates to almost unlimited access to this non-MTF physician.
This freedom of medical treatment comes at a price. I must pay $12 bucks each time I see my new favorite PCP. (Please don’t tell Congress or the DOD that I consider that one fantastic deal.)