How do I get my need-for-the-rest-of-my-lifetime prescription filled?
March 30, 2010 8:18 PM Subscribe
I had all but a sliver of my thyroid removed in May 2007, when I was 20. I was under my dad's fantastic health insurance then. Since then, my dad has been laid off, and my health insurance through my work will not pay for anything until I've met a $2000 cap. I didn't make an appointment with my specialist for nearly two years, so he refused to fill my prescription for levothyroxine.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The specialist I was under when I had the surgery has since moved away, and I was referred to another specialist at the same hospital about two years ago. He is part of a large medical group at http://www.lutheranhospital.com. I saw him once, when he told me that I was fine and "almost" didn't charge me for the visit; he said it was a waste of time for me to have come in. That visit was almost $500, not including the blood test, which came back entirely normal.
I have been prescribed levothyroxine since the day after I had my surgery - as it must be taken daily - and I have never had a problem asking for refills. Yesterday, I accidentally spilled my bottle of pills and the remaining eight or so I had left went down the sink. On my work break today, I called my specialist and left a message, saying that I had no pills left and needed a refill. When I went to lunch, I had a voicemail from a nurse, who said, "We can't fill your prescription, since we haven't seen you in two years. Call your GP or schedule an appointment with us." Three months ago when I called and got a refill, no one said anything about this.
About a year or so ago, my GP refused to fill the prescription, stating that I had a specialist for my thyroid for a reason. I left a message to that effect on my specialist's machine and received no response, so I called my GP and explained that my specialist refused to fill my medication. After hassling me about not having my condition checked for so long, the doctor finally let his nurse give me a one time only 30-day prescription; if I don't have a blood test, he said he won't fill it again.
I refuse to spend $500+ for another "waste of time" visit, when I am doing perfectly fine on the medication I am on now and don't have the money to spend to prove it. I would also like to refuse to let either doctor hold my prescription over my head; if I don't go to my specialist for a visit or get a blood test, I will have no medication and no thyroid gland. I'm completely gobsmacked by the mentality both doctors have adopted. This medication was toted as being something I should never miss, lest I fall into a coma and ultimately die. Now it's being treated like a prize I can win.
If I had better insurance and/or a better paying job, I would love to go in, just to make sure I am as healthy as I feel and live. I understand that it's important, and I would be there if I thought I should be. What I can't understand is why they're both so worried about my levels being checked but so nonchalant about not filling the prescription that has kept me healthy for three years.
From what I've researched before posting, it seems that a private GP can refuse care. But is my specialist acting in an ethical, acceptable manner? Is this normal? Should I generally expect to receive the same attitude if I change specialists/doctors?
(1) You are not my doctor or my lawyer. (2) Anonymous because this is pretty personal and my screen name has my name in it. (3) throwaway: firstname.lastname@example.org