12.09.2008

You must be at least this HIV positive...

I finally got health insurance and decided it's time to go to the doctor for a physical. I figure five years is pushing it.

So I went to my insurance company's website to find a provider. I don't really know what I'm looking for, other than "Family Practice" and "General Medicine," so the wealth of options is kind of lost on me. All I could really narrow from my search were the OBGYNs.

But finally I found a guy who's within walking distance from my place and accepting new patients. I rang him up:

"Thanks for calling the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, can I help you?" Wha? Does the doc work AT the Gay and Lesbian Center? I can handle that much...I just figured they'd answer the phone with, y'know, "Dr. So and So's office, can I help you?"

I explain I'm looking for the doctor and I'm transferred. Another woman answers that she's having a great day at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. I explain, again, that I'm a new patient trying to schedule and appointment. She puts me through to someone else.

Now I'm on the phone with a very uninterested older black woman. She walks me through the usual rigamarole: why am I scheduling a check-up, phone number, address, social security number, insurance provider, etc. Then the last question hits.

"When did you discover you're HIV positive?"

"I...wait, what? I'm not HIV positive."

"You're saying you're not HIV positive?"

"No.......do I have to be to see the doctor?"

"Yes. This is an infectious diseases clinic."

"Oh, well, my insurance company didn't mention that part on the website. Sorry."

"Okay. Good luck in your search."

*click*

Setting aside the fact that "Infectious Diseases Clinic" is a horrible name for a doctor's office, wouldn't that be something you might want to mention on your listing? Not even to shoo off the people who don't need to visit you; I think people specifically looking for infectious diseases doctors would appreciate a clear label so that they don't have to call all the medical offices in their neighborhood and go through the opposite scenario: "Hi, I have HIV and I want to see a doc-...hello?"

So I got denied by a doc. For not having HIV. Which is kind of like the ER kicking you out for not having a gunshot wound to the face. But I really can't complain since it could be worse. I could have HIV.

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