Will Your Doctor Call You Back? Part 2 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

Will Your Doctor Call You Back? Part 2

May 20, 2004 -- Posted 7:30 am CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- Some doctors believe that since the 1960's, insurance companies have changed the way they operate. In fact, according to the Tufts Managed Care Institute, they suggest physicians are unhappy with managed care and its structure.

And what about patients? For some they believe doctors would rather get you in the office to make money, rather than make a phone call. But doctors we spoke to explain why a phone practice is not a good practice at all.

Why is it when you buy a new shiny set of wheels, you'll get a phone call back a few days later to find out how it's running? But when it comes to your health, follow-ups and access to doctors seem limited?

Retired Doctor F.M. Wilson says when he practiced medicine he relied on his nurses to call patients back and that was in the 1950's.

"This has been a fallacy that doctors and lawyers are in the purpose of making money," said Wilson.

"The doctor that goes into medicine strictly for the purpose of making money fails."

"It got to the point where we had a phone practice and an office practice," said Doctor Michael Tedder of Jonesboro.

For Tedder he says limiting phone calls helps him out legally to avoid the risk of a mal-practice suit.

"We just screen the calls for what we need to call back or we would be on the phone for 3 to 4 hours a day," said Tedder.

Like retired Doctor Wilson, Tedder relies on his nurse to call patients. Occasionally he will , but in each circumstance the office follows a set of guidelines they've recently implemented.

"To call in for narcotics or nerve pills no we're not going to call you back. I don't feel comfortable calling in antibiotics for children, stomach virus medicine, you're going to miss appendicitis occasionally so you're better off seeing the patient in hand," said Tedder

 Doctor Zshvetta Jones is new to the Jonesboro area and medicine. She's been a doctor for 7 years. For her patient-doctor interaction was not something she learned in school.

"If it's something that seems a little bit complicated and I know it would be a lot easier for me to call the patient back, because I can anticipate what kind of questions they have, then I'll call them back," said Jones.

But otherwise, like most doctors we've spoken to, Jones relies on her nurse.

"Sometimes they believe that you're supposed to call them right away right then, but just be understanding that just as if they were in the office being seen there's someone here being seen with a concern and that's the reason why you are not able to call them back right then," said Jones.

So what if you are looking for a doctor that will be more attentive to your needs; a doctor you know will call you back? These same doctors say talk to your neighbors.

"I think personal response is the best referral base," said Jones.

And although it sounds silly, doctors say check out the diplomas in their office to find out their credentials. And sometimes they say it will just take trial and error.

And although the medical profession is changing and doctors have less time on their hands, they want you to keep this in mind.

"I don't think doctors are any less caring for their patients now as they were 50 years ago," said Wilson.

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