We recently attended a neurologist appointment with one of our young guardianship clients. In the past she had a history of seizures, but they had been successfully under control for an extended period of time. During her annual appointment, the doctor started to talk to the client about her interest in driving, considering that her seizures were well-controlled.
This was a very difficult situation, as the client had been determined to be totally incapacitated and had her right to drive removed by the probate courts many years ago. She was so confused – here a neurologist, a high level doctor, started to ask her if she wants to drive. Then here we are, trying to explain to her that the guardianship courts had removed her right to drive. We spent a good bit of time trying to calm her, and to help her to understand this complicated circumstance about her right to drive.
We were also frustrated with the physician. He did not think about the ramifications of what he was saying to her, maybe because he did not recall that the client was in a guardianship, maybe because he was trying to give her some hope and help in being able to drive. Whatever the cause, it was very hard for this client to grasp this. After this, she was distrustful of many of our conversations – regardless of the subject– and she continued to refer back to the doctors’ discussion for a long time afterwards.
So how do we prevent this from happening in the future?
To be fair, doctors and their offices, and frankly ALL of the health care providers in the U.S., are dealing with mountains of shifting sands in our new “Affordable Care Act” health care system each and every day. Each day they are trying to figure out (just like we are) how to work within this new system of moving deductibles, elusive co-pays, codes that don’t match the diagnostic procedures – all this while trying to focus on their real job – which is providing quality health care to their patients.
To prevent such a mistake happening in the future, remind the office and the doctor (privately, with dignity) before the appointment, or just as the doctor is about to come in. (We often wait for the doctor just outside of the exam room.) Remind the doctor of the legal status of the patient that they are about to see. This may help the doctor to recall this small detail as he/she is seeing the patient and save you loads of work later.
What kind of advocate-entrepreneur are you? Or are you maybe a combination of these?
A – Analytical-Entrepreneur: You perform deep analysis of any new client to determine profitability of that case before accepting the client. You are a pessimist in thinking that there will not be enough funds to care for the client.
B – Risk Taker-Entrepreneur: You accept cases where there are no immediately available funds to care for the client. Or where the major assets are a mess, there are title problems or are in unsellable condition. You are optimistic that there are benefits or assets that will be found to pay for the client’s care and needs.
C – Administrator-Entrepreneur: You have created and keep a current, detailed written Policy & Procedures for the whole system you have created.
D – Social Worker-Entrepreneur: You have brought a client to your home for a night during an emergency or for a holiday meal.