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Old 03-10-2013, 10:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question: How to approach a Doctor

Hi,

I currently live in Dallas, TX and need to locate a physician in the GLBTQ community. Due to my addiction, fear has kept me from locating a doctor I can trust. Once I admit I have an addiction I become a liability for the physician and in addition all paperwork is documented through insurance companies and if your employer pays one penny they may have access, I also feel as though I am damaged with no second chance. AT my age it is crucial to start yearly blood work. My concern is once the blood work comes back the doctor will figure out the addiction via liver enzymes. I was once informed by a boyfriend, who was a MD to never admit drug addiction because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Any advice on Dallas GLBTQ physicians or suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome okfInDallas,

I found yellow page listings of physicians that might help you locate a doctor.

Dallas PHYSICIANS
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi ok! I can relate to your problem. I, too, am looking for a new physician and worry about telling her about my addiction issues. I am really beginning to feel like I have this big mark on me that everyone sees and has access and judges me by. And with all the electronic communication who knows how many people know?

I'm also trying to deal with chronic pain issues so I am a real challenge--an addict with chronic pain. I feel like if I tell them I am an addict then they think I don't deserve any pain relief. It's confusing and scary.

I hope you have good luck in finding someone good and respectful. Being in a large city I think you will have a good chance of doing so.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi ok,

When I was in my cups, I never kept good relations with my doctor. I would connive for pain meds, not keep appointments etc. I spent my life not taking care of myself and not allowing doctors to care for me either; when I entered recovery, I made the decision to find a decent doctor, and to be upfront and honest about my past so I may build a good relationship with someone that holds my health in high regard. That was one of the best moves I made; I feel he has my back. I do not feel like, and he does not treat me like a liability. I have had medical procedures/accidents where I required pain management, and there was never an issue with my doctor prescribing me medications.

It is possible to build a great relationship with a new doctor - but it will require honesty and disclosure - let him into your life, trust him/her to give you the care needed. Not all physicians consider addiction liabilities; talk to them over the phone before hand if you are worried, but find a good physician that understands addiction - for your sake.
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR, and congratulations on deciding to move ahead in recovery!

I am not a lawyer, but I think you are making a lot of erroneous assumptions about confidentiality of medical information.

An addict who seeks to quit and sees a doctor is not a liability--addicts who continue using and don't see a doctor are a huge liability to society.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds like you found a great doctor, catallus. I would love to find someone like that!

Coldfusion, I think some states handle privacy issues differently. In my state there is a program whereby any doctor or pharmacist can have access to a person's prescription history, all scheduled drugs are listed in a central database where they can keep an eye on us! I find it pretty intrusive, especially as I am trying to make a new start.

I guess I feel particularly sensitive because my chronic pain issues are raging again, my disability has worsened and now I don't have any pain management for it. I don't know what the answers are for me, but I don't want someone to slam the door in my face before they have a much deeper picture of who I am, not just an addict. I live in a small town, too, so options are limited and people tend to know each other.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lyoness, I understand that medical practitioners (eg, doctors and pharmacists) might need to share information to keep track of what drugs people are taking. This would prevent overdoses and interactions. But I am really unsure of whether employers have access to medical information through health insurance companies.

E. Employers usually obtain medical information about their employees by asking employees to authorize disclosure of medical records. This can occur in several ways not covered by HIPAA. Unfortunately, the laws in only a few states require employers to establish procedures to keep employee medical records confidential. (For example, California Civil Code 56.)

A potential employer may ask for medical information as part of an employment background check, with limitations as explained below. To learn more on employment background checks and an employer's obligations under the FCRA, read PRC Fact Sheet 16: Employment Background Checks, and the FTC's website on background checks.

According to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act in workplaces with more than 15 employees (ADA text, 42 USC 12101 et seq.)
  • Employers may not ask job applicants about medical information or require a physical examination prior to offering employment. After employment is offered, an employer can only ask for a medical examination if it is required of all employees holding similar jobs.
  • If you are turned down for work based on the results of a medical examination, the employer must prove that it is physically impossible for you to do the work required.

Report violations of the ADA to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Phone: (800) 669-4000.


Source: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm#C
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks Coldfusion. I was only thinking of the pharmacists and other medical professionals not the on the job stuff. I'm glad to know there is protection and privacy for people.

I do understand that being honest is important in recovery. I think I'm just at a sensitive moment where I fear/feel like I'm being defined only by my addiction and I just want healthcare people to see the bigger picture of who I am. I suppose as I move further into recovery my feelings around this will morph again.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I certainly understand what you are saying. Also, I am bisexual, so for me things are occasionally strange; I understand that those with other sexual identities face greater challenges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyoness View Post
I fear/feel like I'm being defined only by my addiction
But for me, the opposite situation was true: my doctor and therapist failed to recognize that my addiction was ruining my life. They patched my wounds and soothed my ego, but never said how much better off I would be if I would quit drinking.
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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But for me, the opposite situation was true: my doctor and therapist failed to recognize that my addiction was ruining my life. They patched my wounds and soothed my ego, but never said how much better off I would be if I would quit drinking.
Wow, that's something. Makes me wonder if maybe they had addiction issues themselves? I guess they're just human beings too and make the same mistakes we do.

I get frustrated by how easy and how hard it is to get pain meds. My former nurse practitioner rx'd me 3 months of three different opiate rx's at a time--which of course in the height of my addiction I really loved--but then dumped me when I, not too surprisingly, got addicted. I guess she was just trying to cover herself and protect her practice but I felt like she did have some role in the whole picture.

I reckon they feel just as confused and stuck as we do. Our whole country definitely needs a better approach to the whole issue!

Did you end up staying with that doctor and therapist or get new ones? What did they say when you talked about your addiction with them?
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link. It's not an issue of locating physicians, it's locating one that has my back. If you run across one I am open. MY main concern is I need bloodwork. Once I have the blood work I would feel more comfortable locating a physician. The reason being at least I know what to expect and it would reduce my fear. I guess there is a degree of control and it would help reduce my fear finding a physician. To be honest, having the blood work and a physician give me the result via phone or Skype would be best. I do not want prescriptions, just the bloodwork, once I have the results I can move toward a primary care physician. Make sense?
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It's not an issue of locating physicians, it's locating one that has my back. If you run across one I am open. MY main concern is I need bloodwork. Once I have the blood work I would feel more comfortable locating a physician. The reason being at least I know what to expect and it would reduce my fear. I guess there is a degree of control and it would help reduce my fear finding a physician. To be honest, having the blood work and a physician give me the result via phone or Skype would be best. I do not want prescriptions, just the bloodwork, once I have the results I can move toward a primary care physician. Make sense? In 2013 admitting addiction is an embarrassment for 90% of people. HOw many times have you heard someone say "He's a junkie", shes a drug addict. It limits career choices, owning a gun and friends. Alcohol and marijuana seem to be a mindset "it's legal, and a problem but your redeemable, but if you addicted to painkillers or meth you are a junkie. The word junkie is such a horrible word, you are junk.
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