“I didn’t request a new doctor, why am I being forced to change doctors?”

An unexpected letter

After being able to see her primary care doctor in 2014 for the first time in 5 years, it was over. A letter from her provider simply stated that my mother will be seeing a new primary care doctor beginning February 2015. That was it.

My mother looked to me to try and fix this problem, but there wasn’t anything I could do to keep her primary care doctor. What was even more frustrating was the fact the letter was in Khmer that was too formal/poorly written for my mother to really understand (many Cambodians are actually illiterate because schooling was interrupted (interrupted as in there were bombs being dropped) throughout the Cambodian Civil War in the 1960s).

It seemed as if there was really no point in her being eligible for health coverage since the doctor that knows her can’t really afford to keep her as a patient anymore. Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid for lower income patients was not given approval to renew the rates given by the Affordable Care Act in 2014. This means more new patients for doctors, but at 2012 reimbursement rates. The map below compares Medicaid Rates where CA rates will be cut by more than 50%. A doctor will earn about 41% from a Medicaid patient compared to a Medicare patient.

So what is there to do at this point, given her position and the doctor’s position? 

  1. Gather medical records and schedules for upcoming routine check ups based on any chronic conditions
  2. Find the right primary care physician
  3. Be Prepared on Your First Visit

The Importance of Having Primary Care:

From my experiences, witnessing a lack of access to a dedicated primary care physician means not having someone interpret your test results, your medications, and your overall story and what it means for you in the long term. It’s like trying to navigate open seas without a compass. And the seas get rougher as we age with chronic conditions. For more research on impact of primary care

Learning with what we got

After researching physicians and considering some, my mother is now with another primary care provider and ready to continue her strides toward better health.