“Hi, my name is Alexis Jackson, and I’m calling to schedule the next available appointment with Dr. Michael Krane. I am a new patient with a P.P.O. from Aetna. I just moved to the area and don’t yet have a primary doctor, but I need to be seen as soon as possible.”Upon hearing his, you cancel two other follow-up patient appointments to make room for this longer new-patient appointment. Sadly, you later find that "Alexis Jackson" isn't a real patient but rather a decoy - a so-called "mystery shopper" paid by our government - just so that wait times for your appointment could be determined.
Doctor’s office: “What type of problem are you experiencing?”
Patient: “I’ve had a cough for the last two weeks, and now I’m running a fever. I’ve been coughing up thick greenish mucus that has some blood in it, and I’m a little short of breath.”
Most patients I know would understand a doctors' need to make room for a new patient with an urgent problem. But I am also quite certain that most of my patients would not tolerate finding out that a government-paid stand-in lied to me and intruded on their care just so the government could gather information on my appointment availability.
When information gathering trumps patient care - particularly fictitious care - we've got a problem. Is this a new quality standard we can expect from our new government health care initiative?
Just like scam-artists that phish for unsuspecting people's financial information online, governmental appointment phishing should not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form. It is fraud - plain and simple.
Otherwise, many people's health care will be adversely affected as a result.
Reference: Pear, R. "U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors." New York Times. June 26, 2011.
28 Jun 2011 10:30PM CST Addendum: Wow. Maybe this blog matters after all: New Tork Times: "Administration Halts Survey of Making Doctor Visits"