The Case of the Disappearing Psychiatrist
March 11, 2014 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I've been calling my psychiatrist since last week to attempt to set up an appointment. I haven't encountered an actual human's voice, nor have I been directed to voicemail. I've tried calling both of her offices repeatedly with no success (and with no way of leaving a message). What do I do now?

I'm in the process of finding a new psychiatrist because it's clear that this one isn't working out. (Not just because of her disappearing act; there are other negatives as well.) My medication is running low, but I'm not in any danger. However: is this situation (a psychiatrist who has left her patients with no way of contacting her) something I can/should report to someone? And if so, how and to whom? I'm in Connecticut, so CT-specific responses are preferred.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
If your visits are covered by a plan that recognizes her as a provider, that plan deserves a call for the possible benefit of people who are shrink shopping.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:33 AM on March 11, 2014

Yes, you should report them - no answering service? There's no excuse for that.

You can report them to the Dept. of Public Health, and yes, if they're part of an insurance network, report them to the carrier as well.
posted by rtha at 10:36 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lots of folks have profiles on Psychology Today. I don't know if there's any way to leave feedback or a review, but it might be worth using the contact there to tell the website that the profile is inactive/not able to be reached.
posted by phunniemee at 10:46 AM on March 11, 2014

There is no single standard for availability for psychiatrists, but this seems obviously unprofessional. You must be very frustrated.

Do you have a PCP? I suggest getting an appointment with them for a med refill and asking them what else you should be doing.

Additionally, if you were referred to this psychiatrist, send a letter letting the referring MD / psychologist / counselor know what's going on, so they'll know not to refer. You can also call immediately and let them know, and ask for another referral.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:50 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I believe every State has a Chapter of the American Medical Association and larger communities have local chapters. They will be able to direct you to the proper resources to find and or report your physician.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:10 AM on March 11, 2014

I don't know what CT law is on this, but you're possibly talking about patient abandonment, unless your doctor surfaces very soon. You'd file a complaint with the State Medical Board, usually affiliated with the Dept. of Public Health. Here's what I could find from North Carolina on the subject, but you'll really have to contact someone knowledgeable in CT rules.
posted by blue suede stockings at 11:43 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you can't get in touch with DPH by tomorrow, MeMail me. I have some contacts there in CT.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2014

Call your state licensing authority and report. You can also drive by the office and see if anyone is there. Or mail a letter.

I do urge finding a new provider though, because what a PITA!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:58 PM on March 11, 2014

I do want to comment that there are three just as likely scenarios to abandonment of practice: 1) he is on vacation and you don't have the number to the person who is covering him 2) he changed phone numbers. 3) he is incapacitated in some way.

You may be able to Google him or the state licensing board to see if anything comes up.

Regardless he should have a way to log phone calls which he didn't do. If he's at a group practice stop by and see if they are operating or try to make an appointment in person.

Also is your mailing address up to date? He may have mailed some notification but if your address wasn't correct you wouldn't have received it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:39 PM on March 11, 2014

I'd go to his office and inquire of those in offices nearby about his absence. Or, there may be a note on his door if something happened and there wasn't time to notify all his patients.
posted by aryma at 7:53 PM on March 11, 2014

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