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Friday, January 28, 2011

Her Medical Records

Like so many first-time parents-to-be, the Husband and I spent a lot of time checking out various pediatric practices in and around our area before we receive the Tongginator's adoption referral. When we finally settled on one specific doctor, we felt pretty happy with our choice: a female, Asian-American pediatrician who had some experience with international adoptees. Unfortunately, she left the practice soon after the Tongginator arrived home. Since this doctor moved out of state, we remained with the practice, switching to another doctor, then another, and another.

We've loved ALL of the Tongginator's doctors these past six years.

With the key word being doctorS.

My little almost-seven-year-old has seen five primary care physicians in just six years. Which means it was obviously time to make a change and leave that group. As much as I've loved each of the doctors we've landed with, something is obviously wrong if the practice has that kind of turn-over. We made the switch at Christmas-time, to an excellent pediatrician who happens to be a neighbor who lives one block from us. Fortunately, this doctor's name appeared on the original list we received from our social worker when we asked for suggestions of pediatricians well-versed in international adoption.

We feel confident knowing that Dr. H will take good care of our Tongginator and her mei mei.

Plus, she's willing to make a referral house call.

(And really, who can argue with that???)

With the switching of practices comes the transfer of medical records. In our county, a medical practice must provide the new practitioner with the patient's basic medical records: yearly physicals, vaccination records, plus any and all lab results free of charge. If you want the practice to provide the ENTIRE medical record - including sniffle and sore throat visits - you pay an administrative and copying fee. For the Tongginator's file, the cost ended up being about $45. That's not all that much, but still... $45 is $45. And truly, does the new doctor need to see a record of every "I'm sick" visit? Not really.


My Tongginator doesn't have ANY accurate medical history prior to her first birthday. She doesn't have a record of her family's medical history. Her records from her first year of life are not reliable, with one example being that her paperwork states she was 14 pounds at four months of age, but she weighed in at 14.3 pounds fully dressed at 12 months of age.

I paid the $45.

Maybe that seems ridiculous; I don't know. But I don't want my Tongginator to lose even one more scrap of medical information. Because she's already lost enough of it already.


Aus said...

Yeah - we so wish that we had some kind of family history on our youngest two - just so one day in the future they can know if the doctor askes....but we're in exactly the same boat as you guys! I'd pay too (even if it somehow seems a little tacky to charge for that!)

hugs - aus and co.

Tonggu Grammy said...

$45 well spent if you ask me.

Walking to China said...

We don't even have medical records from our little foster guys time in the orphanage! or the two months of his life before that. I'm not even sure that any exist.

Laurie said...

Yep, I would have paid too!

autumnesf said...

Not ridiculous in the least.

My kids have almost never seen the same doctor twice in a row -- its those complete medical records that give me peace of mind. Because sometimes, all those colds and sniffles show a pattern that helps you figure something out. At least it will if you can get the doctor to look all through them. But that's another story.

Shonda said...

When I think of what I would pay to have accurate records from my little guy's first year of life ... well, that's never going to happen. But, it would certainly make me bite the bullet and pay $45 to have record of what I do know (although I'm cheap, so I wouldn't like it).

We've been with the same ped since my oldest (almost 8) was born. I'm seriously considering switching because of their extreme rigidity, which I don't think should always be the case with internationally adopted kids. I don't care if he is behind on his shots ... I don't want him to have six shots today!

lmgnyc said...

Totally agree with your reasoning.

History has got to start somewhere.

Desiree' said...

you know, we move alot...every 2 years...so I paid about $100 per child and had the doctor make a copy for me of all the records, this time I don't have to ask for every single thing to be transfered, I have it myself.

And I know what you mean our sweet pee weighed in at 14.9 pounds at 23 mths fully clothed...there's no way I would risk not having all of her records.

prechrswife said...

I agree completely. Money well-spent.

Sharon said...

That was 45.00 well spent and for a great reason. Not only that, but maybe it may look like on paper/records that she was seen for a cold or whatever, but you never know how important those records could be should anything major come up in the future. They could help piece something together. Not ridiculous at all !

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

You are one clever TM!

Funny thing is my doctor lives only half a block from me!


PS. have a super weekend!

Wendy said...

I was just thinking about this topic when, for the 1,000th time in 18 years I had to fill in "NA-adopted" in the family history section of some medical paperwork I was filling out for Lily.

And I still don't like the way that sounds. Not applicable. But what to do? Leave it blank? I want the new doctor to know that she is adopted (though I'm sure it will be evident one we walk into the office)...

More importantly, now that I have an adult child, I think constantly about how she will feel when she first has to fill out a medical history form and leave a big question mark.

Sharie said...

I took Amelia to my GP and haven't regretted it yet. I've been there for nearly 15 years, my file would probably cost $450 to transfer:)

Anonymous said...

What is ridiculous is that YOU have to pay at all for YOUR daughter's records. Sure there may be $1.25 worth of paper there and $7.00 worth of some medical assistance time (assuming $15/hour plus benefits x.25 hours if she is really, really, really slow on the computer). Even with that generous accounting we are talking $8-$10 tops.
But I am glad you found a doctor you like.

autumnesf said...

Ok - I'm going to have to stick up for the doctors office now. Having worked for doctors and medical malpractice lawyers I know WAY too much about medical record copying. First, its not done on the computer in most cases. It takes a staff member to leave their job and stand at a copy machine and run the machine. The records must be unassembled and reassembled from the chart in exact order -- that takes time and concentrated attention to detail to make sure there are no mistakes in placement. It takes the electricity of running the copier. It takes toner. It takes paper. It takes the repair man that has to service the copier from the mass amount of records copied on it each month. Its also lowest priority in the office when your job is to treat sick people...so the job can be interrupted over again while you have to help someone with a sick child or whatever. It costs the doctor money. I know its a very unpopular thing to say, but doctors need to feed their families and pay their staffs too. $1 a page is not unreasonable in the least. And at only $1 per page you can't afford to just hire one person to do only that.

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