January 31, 2008

Preschool Drama

For those of you living in L.A., you probably understand what a big deal finding a preschool is. I've been looking for a year. But mercy of mercies, I finally found one this week that meets all my criteria and has an immediate opening! The only thing standing between me and enrollment was the doctor's note. Basically, I just needed a signed form from Pixie's doctor saying that she is up to date on all her immunizations.

I called the doctor's office and asked if I could fax them the form and Pixie's immunization records for them to sign. "We'll have to see her first," was the receptionist's response.
"Can I come in today?"
"No. We don't have any openings until February 29th."
"But I just need a signature on a form."
"We can't sign it unless she gets a physical."

Yesterday morning I thought I'd be proactive and I showed up at the doctor's office unannounced as they were opening their doors for the day. There were no patients there yet and I asked them if they could do a quick checkup with my daughter and sign her form.
"We don't do drop ins," said the peeved receptionist.
"Have you had any cancellations?"
"People generally don't cancel."
"I canceled an appointment here last week."
All I got for my sass was a stony glare.
"Could you call me if someone cancels?"
"That's not how we do it."
"So I have to wait a month to get this form signed and my child to enter preschool? There may not be an opening then."
"I'm sorry. There is nothing we can do."
"You could just sign the form."
"I'm sorry. There is nothing we can do."

So I'm wondering if I should just forge the doctor's name on the form. Seriously. The only other preschool that I'm at all close to getting Pixie into has over 100 people ahead of us on the waiting list. On a scale of 1 to 10, how wicked would my forgery be? Could it be forgiven by excessive cross stitching? In any event, I'm finding a new pediatrician. Preferably one who thinks I'm cute and will accommodate my every whim. Anyone know where I can find one of those?

52 comments:

Sarah Z. said...

I'd have to say it's a 2 and go for it! We are also on a preschool waiting list. I'm glad you're giving your dr's office the boot! :)

Heather O. said...

Once we just gave the preschool a list of the immunizations, and told them we would get the full physical form when the doctor could see us. You could try that.

the wiz said...

Most preschools just accept the immunization form in the absence of a doctor's note. I would explain the situation. and the card should be enough to hold your spot at least.

Sarah said...

totally find a new pediatrician. or try getting a 'sick appt' - don't they keep those appts so they can see you the same day?

Brittany and Troy said...

Are you serious? I've had to deal with doctors a lot lately and they're always jerks. So, go back and don't leave until they see the kid! Come on! Do you want to risk losing out on the preschool???!!!

Hollywood said...

Good suggestion to plea my case directly to the preschool instead of the doctor. I have the darn immunization for telling them everything they need to know. I seriously thought that when the nurses found me camped out on their door first thing in the morning they would just fit me in but they were seriously witchy about it. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

doctors won't usually sign a form without a physical appt (plan ahead for kindergarten and public school sport participation) but you can order a copy of the immunization records from medical records, and you don't need an appt for that. That at most should be a day or two. Give that to the preschool and get the form signed as soon as you can.

Anonymous said...

ps doctors are not always jerks.... and really?, should they see everyone who just shows up on their doorstep. If so, then I'm not going to schedule any more appts with mine.

Please.

Hollywood said...

When L.A. preschool is involved, I say they should do whatever the heck I say. Jump doctors! Jump!

Kels said...

lol People that work in Dr's offices are so rude the majority of the time. The sad part is, you'd think that receptionist would've been in a better mood at the start of the day Vs. the end... so imagine what she would be like by the time 3pm rolls around... she probably starts flipping people off for telling her they've arrived for their scheduled-and not cancelled appointment. ;-)

the wiz said...

oooh - just thought of something else. Urgent Care takes walk ins - does it matter if it's not your "regular" doctor that signs it? You might have to wait forever and pay more, but if it's worth it to you.....and they seriously might just sign it, I don't know, you could call them.

Miss Rissa said...

Just scribble some unreadable signature and turn it in!

JustRandi said...

If she really is up to date, I would just sign it - then keep the appointment for February.

NG said...

Sounds like time for a new doctor.

Jessica G. said...

Yeah, I'd say it's time to get a new doctor...Mine would walk through fire for kids. I know because he nearly had to in the ER once with my daughter.

AzĂșcar said...

Doctors are our employees. We pay THEM. If they aren't willing to provide basic customer service, well then they can go jump in a lake--a piranha filled lake.

Where else do you pay people and they are allowed to treat you like crap?

(Well, except for the DMV, of course.)

Bek said...

I say send in the immunization form. It should be enough to hold the spot. Otherwise, do it and then have it "updated" when Pixie gets a new physical (on or about Feb 23..).

;-)

BTW get a NEW ped. Ours has a 1 weeks policy for doing school forms (they will do it w/in a week) but it is always done faster. It's not like this never happens. You need forms for school, sports, daycare, etc. Get someone with a better policy. They sound like terds.

Bek said...

amen Azucar.

I have had to deal with my fair share of dr.s with my children who have various health issues. There are MANY, MANY doctors that are kind and helpful and not rude. I know they are busy, but sometimes I don't FEEL like being nice to my kids or my clients, but I do it anyway because that is what grown ups do.

Frankly, if you are in a customer service job and you choose to be cranky, then you take your chances. Annon, I understand your point about them not wanting to see everyone that shows up on their doorstep, but life is full of unexpected things and good doctors (or stylists, or babysitters) will sometimes try and accomodate for unforseen things.

I also live in an area where preschool is a big deal. I wouldn't loose that spot if you can help it.

Heather O. said...

I feel I have to defend doctors. Folks, their schedules are packed. Over packed, and often times they are triple booked. Also, when I worked in patient care, it was laughable to think that we could just "squeeze" somebody in, as our days are planned way in advance down to the minute--literally. A physical is also something that takes time--more time than even a sick baby appointment, and a doctor probably could not ethically or even legally sign the paper without spending time that they obviously don't have.

And doctors are not our employees, thanks. We don't pay them, we pay our health insurance, who then pays the company or practice the doctor works for, who then gives the doctor their salary (usually). Pixie isn't dying, or even sick, and doctors' time is at a premium. Would you like it if you had to wait for a doctor to see your sick kid because he had to do a physical so a kid could go to a certain preschool? Not bloody likely. Especially in this case where an immunization form would probably suffice.

Ok, rant over.

Hollywood said...

I know, I know. It's just so frustrating that I have the completed immunization form right there, the doctor right there, and still have to wait a month for his signature on the preschool form. That's what we get for getting the cheapest health insurance.

Chris & Allie said...

I've never had a problem at the pediatrician. Getting a well child visit takes, at the most a week, but rarely. I really like the staff too. They even have you fill out a survey: How long was your wait on the phone? How long was your wait at the office? Was the staff cordial and friendly? etc...
I think you need to find a better Doctor's office.
If you really need to get in, maybe you should call YOUR doctor aka family doctor. They can usually get them in sooner. Just an idea.

Teah said...

I don't know if they do this in LA, but my sister found a pediatrician's office that's like...a team? She can set up appointments online, usually for the same day...the trick is, she can choose her doctor, or just take who ever is available. Works for her!

Jenny said...

I don't think you should forge the signature. Get a new doc.

Anonymous said...

Busy doctor or not there is no excuse for a rude receptionist.

And, I have one of the best endocrinologist in LA who has taken the time to return my call to answer a question. I guess maybe she doesn't over book herself so she can really focus on her patients. She is never rushed during my appointments like I have experienced with other offices. A regular check up appointment does need to be made a couple of months in advance but she also leaves time for unexpected needs.

You might be right about the cheap insurance. I found this doc after switching from the HMO to the PPO. Maybe the HMO docs have to overbook so they can make some money.

Oh, maybe doctors aren't our employees, per se, but we hire our them for a service and we PAY them either through insurance or out of pocket. You wouldn't put up with poor service from your hair stylist or your automechanic but maybe because they are doctors some people don't think they can question them. Very dangerous territory to accept whatever the doc hands you...

AzĂșcar said...

Maybe employee is a bad choice of word, but they are certainly service providers who take our money.

I pay my insurance, I pay co-pays, I expect to be treated with respect and courtesy. I say that in full recognition that I love our pediatrician (for the most part) and I especially love our office. I can always get in to see someone same day if I have problems, and they have excellent after hours solutions.

If I wasn't getting a good customer service experience from them, I'd leave. I'd take my money and my kids elsewhere. You can't have a practice if you continue to treat patients in a poor fashion. The least the office could do is to find some sort of compromise with you that doesn't involve them being snotty.

Kels said...

Annonymous (directly above) hit on an excellent point... Her Dr. makes time for the patients they see... it's a Dr's choice if they are going to double, or triple book. And it certainly isn't the patients' fault if the doc is taking on too many patients. I'm just playing Devil's Advocate... and also, I have had an experience where I've tried to get in to a certain Dr. and have been told they aren't taking on any new patients. So again... they're providing a service which they are not fully providing... especially if Hollywood's child doesn't NEED updated immunizations... and if she has proof of them and only needs a signature, it sounds like it would take less time for the "overbooked office" to just get a signature and send her on her merry way, rather than scheduling her for an appointment day/time that probably has 3x more patients that day to see than they should.

Doug Taylor said...

I'll ask if our pediatrician thinks you're cute.

Hollywood said...

This is great, guys! I have to admit, it's been a LONG time since I had an intelligent discussion going on on this blog. I usually save most discussion type posts for my Mormon Mommy Wars posts. But hey, it's nice to have some of the intelligence leaking over to this blog. I kind of feel like I just got my first chest hair (if I was a guy that was...)

I totally agree that doctors are our employees and should indulge in some customer service skills on occasion. I know that with patients, not all kids have the same immediate needs, but it's still nice to know that your doctor cares whether or not you're being inconvenienced. This particular pediatrician I've been using is pretty bad. He NEVER looks in my eyes, none of the nurses or him ever call my anything but "Mommy" and there is nothing in the office that facilitates an enjoyable experience for the children. No kids books, pictures on the walls, waiting room toys, etc. It's pretty weird. And the doctor has a obnoxious habit of not telling you when your appointment is over. He just gets up and leaves after the shots. The first three appointments I sat and waited for someone to let me know that I was done with the appointment but on the 4th visit I just yelled at him as he was rushing out, "hey, am I all done here?" He said yes and that he didn't like to hang around after administering the shots because he thought it upset the kids. Yeah. Not as much as it upset "mommy" to have to sit in an exam room for 15 minutes waiting for a passing nurse to tell her she could go home.

I have so much more ranting to do about this doctor.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's your own fault for:

1. Continuing to see a doctor that by your own admission should have been fired long ago.

2. Sending your child to preschool instead of home-schooling.

Hollywood said...

Are you serious with the homeschooling comment? I don't think two mornings a week at a Montessori preschool is any indication of weakness on my part. And yes, I do work from home so I actually don't have time to sit with my kids all day reading books, love them though I do. Please tell me you're not serious about condemning people who send their kids to preschool. That's just weird.

Melia said...

We love our DR. He is just amazing. I feel badly for you that you are not currently having a good experience. We have had to do the medical records thing for school and it suffices for our school district.

April said...

I'll second that Hollywood.
The homeschooling comment was uncalled for, some people find that it is right for them while others don't. Honestly, if my son stayed home for schooling we would BOTH go nuts, me from cabin fever and him from "mommy attachment" issues... seriously! I can't stand narrowminded people!

Nancy Sabina said...

Yep - time for a new pediatrician. If you call around enough I'm sure you could find one who can see you sooner than that. If not, have you tried an urgent care type place? Maybe they could do a physical and you could just request your records from the pediatrician.

Anonymous said...

A big HOLY COW to the homeschooling comment. So judgemental! If we're laying out judgements depending on if you homeschool or not, I have some MAJOR judgements to make on most of the homeschoolers out there and their children. But I will refrain. Because I also know some normal homeschool-ers/ees.

momof3crazykids said...

Yes, a new doc! I can't imagine having a wait list like that for a preschool. Sorry to hear the homeschool comment. That is so not nice. I'm sure all of us love being moms and want to be with our kids all the time but some kids learn better from others and benefit from "outside" schooling. I am with April... I love being able to go any where any time of the day I want too.

Karen said...

Our doctor's office uses a stamp for signatures. If you think you could pull off a forgery I'd say go for it. And definitely change doctors.

bdmalouf said...

i would absolutly have to say go for it! give me a break!! and then yes, get a new pediatrician, or better et, tell the receptionist that you will just go and get a new pediatrician if that is the vase and see if they dont move a bit faster.

Chris & Allie said...

I think if we all home schooled our children we would all go a little crazy! And I will be the first to admit that I am longing for the day that all of my children are in school so that I can love the heck out of them when they come home and not be so ready to throw them into bed at 7:00!

Mary said...

Go ahead and go to PrimaCare or some other walk-in clinic if all else fails. I used to take my kids to those places all the time for school/scout/camp physicals. I just paid the 10 or 20 dollar co-pay and was done with it.

I seriously considered home schooling and read up on it when Sarah was young. But you need a spouse who also thinks it is a good idea and a house with a room for "school". Being a SAHM is also helpful. I did not have that. I think there is too much emphasis on earlier and earlier formal education. The age for compulsory school attendance in TX used to be 7; now it is 6 by September 1st. I would object if they lowered it.

Adrienne said...

Oooh, I dunno how I feel about the "Doctors are our EMPLOYEES" and should, therefore, do whatever we want angle...

Remember, my computer programmer fiance STILL has his crummy day job working for a local dentist, and you would not BELIEVE what they see. Meth heads, drug seekers, and parents who want you to squeeze in their kid who has a toothache (where "toothache" = mouth full of bottle rot bordering on child abuse.) Yeah, you pay them, but most health care providers see EVERY layer of society, including the dregs.

Give the preschool the shot records and then shop for a new doc who leaves a few same day apps open.

Also Montessori school made a happy, well adjusted adult who knew how to socialize, read, write and say "thank you" in Spanish by the time I started kindergarten. Homeschool??? Whatever, dude, there's something to be said for exposing your kids to people who aren't in your family.

Heather O. said...

Sounds like it's your own fault for

1)Having children in the first place-sheesh, what were you thinking?

2)not going to medical school yourself so as to avoid as this hassle. I mean, really, if you can't take care of your children...well, see number 1.

S'mee said...

Alright, a gramma here, so less emotion...I hope.

Be reasonable in expectations, but go with your gut. Private practice or PPO, HMO, it doesn't matter, personalities/edu/comunication will shine through and you are the person making the decision. To say one group is better than another is very 50's.

If you are not satisfied with your health care provider/dr./paper boy/ and you are paying for their services, then opt out.

You'll get more flies with honey than vinegar. Use your voice, but use common sense as well. No one likes being demeaned, not you, not them.

I agree with Mary who suggested just popping into a local urgent care or clinic, (in our area we have a chiropractor who does this sort of thing on a regular basis) pay the small(?) fee and be "honest in your dealings". It's a small fudge, but one leads to another and yada yada yada.

On the preschool thing. I'm not a fan of letting someone else rear my kid, that's my job; and that may or may not be the reason for a preschool. We need to be *really* careful about the *reason* someone choses to enroll their half-pint into a school or whatever.

Every mom needs a break or she will indeed, eat her own young. If you have a loving safe environment for your offspring to chill for a few hours - no worries.

Anonymous said...

I work in public schools. They are interested in immunizations only because it's a state law in most areas of the country. Why the doctor's office cannot just sign a shot record, testifying that other shots are needed coming up as the child ages, is beyond me. But...you're living in the LA area. After living there a while, I found schools to be rather a challenge in common sense.

Emmy said...

I loved reading everyones comments. I agree with getting a new Dr. Good Luck! Let us know how it works out.

Hollywood said...

Problem solved. I called up Pixie's doctor who we had a year ago with our old insurance (the one who actually gave her all her shots and who we loved!) and they signed the forms for us even though we aren't their patients anymore. I'm picking up the form this morning and Pixie is set to start preschool on Tuesday! I'm SO excited about it. The whole reason Pixie got potty trained was because I told her that only kids who are potty trained could go to school so she quickly gave up diapers and has spent the past 6 months asking my why she still can't go to school. She's even happier about this than I am.

Thank goodness for the nice doctors out there. My husband got a new job last year and we had to switch insurances (thus doctors) and I don't know if I'll ever find one that I like as much as her old one.

amanda f said...

ok, so discussion should be officially over BUT, since I just read the string of comments, I will chip in my two cents.

As for Montessori, the answer is YES! There is a reason they are always full with a waiting list and can charge an arm and a leg. It is an amazing system that CANNOT be duplicated at home unless there are no other siblings of other ages. They teach invaluable lessons in Montessori and influenced my son and family in a very positive way both socially and academically.

And homeschooling, HA! Great for some, horrible for others. Above son had some serious issues with me as a parent and there is no way he would have gone for homeschooling. It would have been a life long battle. As it is, his teachers always rave about him as a student, so I know he thrives in the school setting much more than he would at home. Some kids just do better with teachers who aren't their parents (even preschoolers for a few hours here or there).

And as for the poor doctor, he has gotten a pretty bad rap, when it was the RECEPTIONIST who mistreated you so much. I would bring it up with the doctor at your next appointment, and if he apologizes then it is probably not his fault. If he gets a little defensive about his doctor's office, then he probably pushes them to be like that. Now you know why drug reps. don't dare walk into an office without a little treat for the receptionists, who are a lot more willing to let them see the doctors if starbucks or smoothies are involved in the deal.

And also, when we lived in So. Cal. I noticed that there were a lot more hoops to jump through. We had to get full physical and TB tests to go to kindergarten, which we were not required to have in the two other states where my kids have gone to school. But I found out that there are medical issues because it is close to the border, and with so many people going back and forth, there is a much higher risk of diseases coming in from Mexico that aren't really a problem in the U.S. per se. Anyway, I was always a little glad to know that my kids weren't going to school with anyone who had tested positive for anything or had lice, etc.

Good luck. You are going to love it!

kaff said...

Not being able to see the Dr for a month is INSANE!! What if she was sick? Totally time for a new Doc. Good luck :)

Rynell said...

Wow. This post made me glad for Dr. Happy, our overly cheerful pediatrician. For paperwork such as this we only have to give 24 hours notice, as long as the kid has been in recently.

I say get a new doctor. In the meantime, take the immunization record to the preschool and then just bring in the signed paperwork as soon as you get in to see the new doc.

Or let your kid lick snot off some other kid and wah-lah you get in for a sick appointment right away. And do the whole while we're here, could you sign this for preschool thing. I'd opt for a new doctor before trying this.

Rynell said...

oh I just read to the end and noticed you solved it. Congratulations. No infectious snot involved- great!

Anonymous said...

GO TO A DOC IN THE BOX. Those walk in med clinics. Duh.

Chad & Melissa said...

Fax the paper to me and I'll forge it for you....my husband is a Dr. and I forge his signature all the time!

Perla said...

Dear Hollywood,

My brother's wife who is your sister introduced me to your blog. I have been laughing all evening as I've been scrolling through posts.

If you have a brother that is your pediatrician like I do, I would suggest going to him. I just walk right past the receptionists and say, "Gotta talk to the doctor." I made him sign smarty pants note that I had written for the social security office because I was so mad at them. He did it. Otherwise I would have forged it. Unless maybe I would go to hell if I did. I don't know.