For a while now I have wanted to ‘change’ doctors. I’m healthy, no complaints, just have the usual yearly exams and tests recommended for a female my age. But visiting a large medical practice with several doctors in one office–left me feeling cold. They seem to operate like a factory–no personality, just fill out the forms and get out within 15 minutes. When the test results come back, ‘someone’ from the office calls and leaves a message for you–just nominal info and no name or number to call back if you have questions. Since health care is such a hot topic now, I finally decided to change.
My friend Julie suggested I visit Dr Darren Killen at Brookside Family Medicine. When I first called, the receptionist told me he ‘doesn’t do interviews’ but since I had a wellness visit paid for by my health insurance premiums, I made an appointment to see him. I arrived on time today and will say, the receptionist is all business–very no-nonsense, again ‘here’s the form, fill out this and this and this’ . No personality there, no ‘welcome, how are you today?’. After another person checked my weight and blood pressure, I waiting just a short time in the exam room for the doctor.
In walks a slim, attractive man with a warm smile and easy manner. He asked me several questions and entered the info on the desk computer. He is the first doctor who ever asked me if I exercise regularly. As we talked, I found out it’s just him in the office with two staff members and he wants to hire a nurse practitioner. He takes appointments one or two weeks out–to leave enough free time for those patients who call in with emergencies or concerns that need to be seen right away. (When I called my gynocologist a couple of weeks ago for an annual test, I was informed that the first available appointment was December 28.) Although he has to send me off site for a blood test, he said he would call me with the results. I said , YOU actually call the patient? He said yes, he prefers to do that because usually there are questions on the results. He also told me if there is an emergency, he is the doctor who takes the call. That’s how he likes to run his practice.
Of course, I had to ask Dr Killen his views on ‘health care reform’. The first thing he said was that the lobbys for the insurance companies control the process and until health care is a not-for-profit industry, there will be no real reform. He also indicated that premiums for one particularly large health care company go up 5-10% each year, but reimbursement to the doctor has remained the same for five years. If Dr Killen was with a large practice affiliated with a hospital–he would make a lot more money and be reimbursed for the true costs of his care. But he doesn’t want to work in a factory-type medical practice. Of course ‘family physicians’ like him are dwindling in numbers because they don’t make near the money specialists do–and the debt that med students graduate with can be paid off faster with a speciality practice.
Dr Killen treats patients of all ages and will refer you to a specialist if necessary. After my visit with him, I learned he can take care of the two tests I had done annual with two other different doctors at larger practices. He seemed genuinely interested in me as an individual and likes what he does. I hope he can keep doing it for years to come. I’m happy to support Dr Killen–a local Brookside business and resident ! Check him out if you are thinking of changing doctors.
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