As part of my commitment to provide superior care to the good people of Oklahoma, I honor and abide by certain principles.
- I will not waste your time. We run a well-oiled, super-efficient clinic. Due to emergencies, I will occasionally run behind. But this is a rare circumstance. I hate waiting for doctors. Therefore, to the best of my ability, I will not make my patients wait for me for any extended period of time. In fact, it is FAR more common that we get patients into the clinic early rather than making them wait. This is a commitment that I strive everyday to honor. If I ever seem rushed or in a hurry, please do not feel that this is somehow a reflection on how I feel about you as a patient. I am simply trying to provide the best care to every single patient and prevent long wait times. I worry and obsess about all of my patients, night and day.
- I will not waste your money. I will not order unnecessary tests or make unnecessary appointments. We have problems with insurance companies and Medicare refusing to pay for testing that we order because somehow, in their apparently infinite knowledge, they will rule that a test is “not medically necessary.” When they use language like this, it implies that we are wasting somebody’s money on unnecessary testing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am an absolute minimalist and try to avoid medications, surgery, and testing whenever possible. The truth is that the practice of neurology is so close to the cutting edge of medicine, that insurance companies and Medicare are not aware of the medical necessity for certain tests. Most of them haven’t updated their databases in decades.
- I will not lie to you. Some doctors like to make up explanations for diseases that they don’t understand. If I do not know an answer to your question, I will say “I don’t know.”
- I will not attempt to treat you for diseases for which I have no training. I am always willing to offer an opinion as far as my knowledge extends but I will not overstep my area of expertise. Such treatment is dangerous and reckless. Instead, we will try to find a doctor who is skilled in such an area.
- I will be direct and honest. I will not “sugarcoat” or coddle or evade the hard questions and answers. You will get my opinion and the facts of the case whether good news or bad news.
I believe that all these principles are extremely important values for all physicians. Unfortunately, not all doctors and patients agree with these principles. We have had patient’s complain about completing their appointments early. While I find this complaint perplexing, I think this may be because they are confused and bewildered and quite simply, shocked by such an efficient system. They don’t know how to respond. Sometimes, other doctors and patients complain that we “didn’t do enough testing.” My answer is always that we do the bare minimum to get the answer. Sometimes, patients are frustrated when I say “I don’t know.” Occasionally, people are surprised by the bluntness and direct approach in delivering their diagnosis but I always want to make sure that the message is delivered without confusion.
Recently, I had a patient slander me by writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper because I was unable to treat this patient for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that the patient’s problems were outside my area of expertise. This patient reported to the newspaper that I had “fired” her and said many untrue, derogatory things about my practice as an act of malice. When patients aren’t happy with their care here, it breaks my heart. When they then proceed to slander the clinic’s reputation, I question why I even bother with this independent clinic. I wonder if I should just “sell-out” like most other doctors and join a large hospital or corporation and make a lot more money, have a lot more free time, and have protection against disgruntled patients. These thoughts are always fleeting and I continue my unrelenting commitment to doing things differently; the right way (See: Neurologists in Oklahoma).
The bottom line is that, any patients that agree with these principles will have a wonderful experience in my clinic. This typically includes about 99% of the patients that we see and treat. Patient’s that do not agree with these principles may not have the greatest experience. Regardless, I will continue to take all-comers and give my very best to each and every patient.