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Medical Information Privacy

I haven’t been to the doctor in years.  The last time I had a semi-exam was by the person insurance companies send out to see you before they will issue a policy.  I haven’t been mostly because I have no time, but also I am very concerned about having any of my medical information documented and passed on to an insurance company.

When I applied for my first private disability policy years ago, I was denied.  I have no medical problems, I am on no prescriptions, I live a healthy lifestyle, and I am clearly working.  I was shocked when my broker told me that no company would issue a policy to me.  When I found out why, I was even  more shocked.

About 10 years prior, I had elective foot surgery.  While I was seeing my podiatrist, I mentioned having issues with anxiety – for which she prescribed klonopin. It was so long ago that I’d forgotten about it.

But there it was, in her 10 year old notes that they were somehow able to obtain.  A ten year old blip on the screen threatened to leave my family unprotected.

I learned a lot about the insurance industry that day.  Apparently underwriters have access to ALL of your medical information which is collected and placed at their disposal. They reach back much farther than the 7 years medical professionals are required to keep your records.  They have every code that any doctor ever attached to your name; and they will use it to justify denying you basic and necessary disability insurance protection.

My broker fought and fought. Finally, after 3 months, he was able to get a policy for me – with a rider on it.

Ever since, I have been extremely reluctant to go to the doctor.  They are required to document codes to get insurance companies to pay their companies back for the work they do all day and night. Sometimes the codes are accurate, sometimes they are placeholders including symptoms and verbiage to explain what we think you have while an evaluation is underway (otherwise the needed diagnostic studies will be denied by your insurance company).  Either way- whatever is written sticks to you.

So when I got a letter in the mail regarding Dr. Megan Gannon dropping insurance for a membership practice, I decided I would make an appointment with her.

We will be adding an option for our patients that want full privacy in the near future, for a limited time. Probably 3 months. I figured I can’t be the only person that needs this in Franklin. If people like the option, we will keep it. Dr Horton will see these people, and I will continue as usual.

Give me your feedback and check back soon.

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What I am grateful for today: My sister

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I can’t believe the day has finally come that I get to share KCA with my sister, Dr. Horton, who is also a neurologist.  What are the odds?  She’s extremely smart and as hard working as I am.  I can barely wait for her to start later this year.  Our personality types are also very complimentary for a biz (I am ENTP and she is ENTJ– Myers Briggs personality types).  Even crazier, only 2% of females are ENTJ.  So she is a rare bird. She will be able to contribute to KCA in a way I cannot, and vise versa.  I have no right to complain about anything (even though I do because I get tired and aggravated like everyone else). But I have taught myself ways to keep my vibrations elevated and I no longer allow the negativity of patients an other people infect or affect me (my success rate isn’t 100% yet, but it’s over 50% now- up from 0%).  I just release negative people and patients so I have the energy to focus on the many, many patients that are grateful for my service, my husband’s service, and the service of the KCA staff.

I’m a work in progress (as is KCA, by extension). You should be too.

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.

      -Brian Tracy

I probably should have read this quote this morning. My day would have been much less stressful. I have screened many resumes, interviewed several people, had them complete pre-employment testing; but I haven’t found the right people- yet.   Sooo, today was completely chaotic. EMGs and Botox injections all day, plus turning rooms over, drawing up  Botox, keeping up with everything clinical, writing notes, dictating EMG reports, and so on and so on and so on.  Still here in fact, but I needed a break.

So I figured now would be a good time to consider that for which I am grateful, so I can change my attitude, that has been admittedly foul all day.

I’m truly grateful for the presence and patience of my husband. An electrical engineer (with a master’s from Vandy’s Owen College of Management) who left his career as an engineer when I opened my second location and needed someone like him to help (but I couldn’t afford anyone with his resume and experience). With no background in healthcare, he jumped right in and assumed responsibility for more than I can itemize. And to top it off, he is not too proud to work the front desk when needed or clean the floors when needed. My family actually thanks him for putting up with me- literally right in my face- they thank him, lol!  He calms me down when I’m acting a plum fool in the nurses station during clinic when I get angry and frustrated.

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I am also still grateful for the clean slate I have been given.  It makes me crazy when things are chaotic, and I make it worse by yelling at the only person in the trenches with me in my Franklin office; but I know that this is a step forward in achieving something “bigger and better” than my current situation.

 

 

A CLEAN SLATE- wish me luck!

It wclean slateas actually past time.  But letting go of people you actually like, is hard.  I knew deep down that I had to do it – for the sake of my patients, my business and my sanity…but instead I just tried to work harder and create new systems, find new software for better visibility and assumed the failures of my staff had to be the fault of my systems. Surely they wouldn’t intentionally shirk their responsibilities?? Right?

While I cannot answer that question, my Franklin staff was just not up to the task, and they haven’t been for years.  Sequentially, over the last 1-2 years, and rapidly over the last week I have let them all go.  I have had patients tell me my franklin staff was “horrible” for years- but I didn’t think they could be that bad, and let’s face it, a lot of people are super needy and super impatient.  But in the end they were right, and I was wrong to keep ineffective people for as long as I did.

But now I have a clean slate, and I literally feel like the clouds have parted.  A weight has been lifted, and I feel free again. Free to do a better job at hiring.  Because after all, even though my former Franklin staff let me down in a profound way; ultimately, it is still my fault. My lesson to be learned.  I’m the one that hired them…

As I look back at the people I have hired, I realized it was always out of necessity.  I was overwhelmed with patients and just needed more warm bodies to help.  How hard could their job be? Really?  I hired medical assistants after they made it through a nine week externship with KCA.  Once they were there for nine weeks (if they made it through without being sent away) I typically hired them because they were (at that point) trained. Trained on my software, systems and processes. And who wants to train another person when you have someone trained AND looking for a job staring you in the face?  Now I know that is simply lazy.  I never sought out the best people possible . Not that I didn’t screen everyone, I did -ad nauseam.. But I never actively sought out only the BEST people. I looked for people with experience.  And while that helps, it is secondary to other extremely important factors like empathy, follow-through, work ethic and many other things you just can’t train into a person that is over the age of 5 (and not your own child).

Now I look for attributes that make a person strive to be their best.  I can train them to do everything else.  I had it backwards before.  Now, finally, I think I have it right.

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Oh, and what am I grateful for today? My ability to be introspective and objectively critical of myself in a way that allows for personal growth; rather than being a person that blames everyone and everything else for the tough times.

 

Mindfulness

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”

– James Baraz      

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I tried. I really really did. But kept getting distracted with work stuff, house stuff, etc.

I’ll do a better job tomorrow.

What am I grateful for today: my vision. It’s not perfect, I need reading glasses now (ugh), but I can see the beauty all around me.

Roughly 22.5 million adult Americans (or nearly 10% of all adult Americans)  either “have trouble” seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, or are blind.*

 

*2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)