Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Choosing an OB Doctor

Aggravation would be the best word to describe how I feel about the process of finding a doctor for this pregnancy. I had no idea I would find it so frustrating.

First, let me say I do know exactly where I want to go – the Birth Cottage here in Tallahassee. It is a wonderful, pleasant home with a couple midwives. They have two birthing rooms that are more like the rooms in your house, and birthing tub as well. In the end, you get a lot more options when it comes to delivery than you would at a hospital. Plus there is no IV stuck in your arm and you can eat if you want. They will also come to your home to deliver as well. However, this was quickly put to a halt when I realized my insurance will not cover it. Yes, that’s right; my new insurance coverage that picked up all that great infertility testing does not cover midwives or birthing centers – even though they are less expensive in the long run. However, the coverage I had before, the one that wouldn’t cover any infertility testing would cover it. It seems I can never get what I need at the right time.

On the flip side, if I go the doctor’s office/hospital route my insurance covers 100% of my entire prenatal visits – with no deductibles and no copayments. Each visit is completely free of charge to me; it just costs my patience and time.

So for the time being I called my OB/Gyn office. It just seemed simpler than pressuring myself to figure out which doctor office to choose and I really wanted to get in for a first appointment.
Today I had “orientation” – which should have been labeled something like mounds of paperwork and a waste of your time. The doctor’s office was not convenient. And parking was worse. It took 15 minutes after I arrived to park and walk in to the building. Then I had to listen to gossip from the nurses for about 5 minutes. I was pressured to fill out an application for a federally subsidized program I was not interested in (of course I didn’t). I had to wait around in the lobby for one of the nurses to see me – one who was busy talking to about 5 other nurses. Then my appointment started.

They checked my urine for proteins, sugar and something else – all clear. Checked by BP – 110/70. Checked my weight – not sharing.

During this appointment I asked what my progesterone was when they did the blood panel and pregnancy test. I did this because I also had the infertility center do bloodwork and they had called back to put me on progesterone suppositories because it was on the low side of normal. The doctor’s office never called about my progesterone. It turns out, they couldn’t find it – I was told they either forgot or failed to take a progesterone test. The nurse wasn’t sure what happened. So I am super thankful I also had the fertility office do this – since it was low and I was prescribed progesterone suppositories.

I also learned during the appointment that my insurance covers 100% of “allowable expenses”. When I asked what allowable expenses were – they could not tell me. I asked if the ultrasound I was having next week would be covered and was told that they didn’t know, but if it wasn’t covered the cost would be $200.

I was incorrectly misinformed by the nurse that they like to rotate the patients between doctors so that if “my doctor couldn’t come to the delivery and I had to use a back-up doctor I would be familiar with him/her.” When in all actuality, I know that the doctors rotate at the hospital and I get whatever doctor is on duty at that time at the hospital. After I questioned her on this, she confirmed I was correct.

I answered a few more questions about relative history and my medical history. Then I left, and spent another 10 minutes getting out of the parking lot and then was back on the road to head to work.

So all in all, it takes 30 minutes to get to the doctor’s office. It costs me aggravation. I have to deal with people I’d rather not deal with. I’d have to delivery in the hospital that I don’t like. But I would pay $0.


I can get to the Birth Cottage in 10 minutes; wait zero time in the lobby; have access to quality midwives; enjoy the atmosphere; have more flexibility during delivery; but have to pay out of pocket.

I’m looking at a cost differential to us of about $3,000. (Of course, the hospital route is much more expensive in total – just not to us because insurance covers it) So, with all this in mind, I’m thinking my best option is to try and find a new doctor’s office ... or just have the baby at home and then go to the hospital. Anyone willing to help deliver?

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