May first has come and gone, and I am now covered under my (selected but previously withheld) insurance provider under my state Medicaid program.
It has been two months since my last visit to my psychiatrist, and now that I have this new, shiny insurance I can potentially begin to see one (but not the same one) again. I made about 15 unnecessary phone calls to my insurance folks and psych providers in my area before deducing that the simplest route will probably be for me to see the psychiatrist who works at my current therapist’s office.
Despite making this decision, there are a lot of questions swirling in my head about how this is going to work. My previous psychiatrist was linked to a hospital, so getting lab work done (to track my lithium levels or other side effects) was extremely simple. Seeing a psychiatrist in a building above a Mexican restaurant leaves me thinking things probably wont be so straightforward anymore… and I am eager to meet him to find out exactly what that will mean for my care and time management.
Realistically, at this point I am pretty well off. My old psychiatrist wrote me a prescription for six months worth of medications, so I am in no way hurting in that department. My eagerness to meet this new doctor is really just coming from my own impatience and curiosity about what kind of man he is, and what he can bring to the table for me.
I was a little disappointed to find that my last visit to the clinic did not result in making an appointment with this psychiatrist. New insurance means I had to do the intake paperwork all over again, and my only option was to check a box suggesting I am interested in seeing someone for medication management. I’m finding I’m a little nervous, because my last doctor had a six week waiting list before I could do an intake with him. If I haven’t even had a chance to make an appointment with this person, how much time is going to be tacked on to that inevitably lengthy wait?
I feel I must add that for most people in most areas throughout the country, the wait time probably isn’t as high. The big trouble is that here, in Seattle, there is a huge demand for psychiatry and only a few good doctors in the area to meet that demand. Now that the healthcare reform has made these doctors draw lines in the sand about what patients they will and will not take, the ones who accept the lowest (and most common) form of insurance (state Medicaid) are totally swamped.
Again, I know I can wait. I know I can be patient about this… I’m not exactly looking to rush into trying any new medications in the next few weeks (as I’m taking a break from all that). I just feel uneasy not having a psychiatrist at my beck and call, because things can change for me from tolerable to intolerable (to say the least) for me with the blink of an eye.
I’m heading to the clinic tomorrow, and hopefully I will be allowed to make an appointment. Just having a solid date, somewhere out in the future, floating around (even if I can’t touch it) makes me feel more at ease with the whole idea of being in psychiatry limbo.