“But I haven’t seen her in three months. He has been managing her. HE is the one who took her off of work. AND I have no records. No consult notes or anything!”
“She’s pretty upset.”
“I don’t blame her.”
I picked up the phone and dialed the neurologist’s number. I told his staff that I was not going to complete the paperwork*** because I felt it was his responsibility.
“I’ll talk to him and then get back to you.”
Fifteen minutes later:
“Fine, we’ll do it but sometimes these things get denied.”
“You think that I will have better luck getting it covered? Or is this about making the patient mad at me instead of you when it gets denied?”
I have had a ton of these situations come across my desk lately. All specialties. When did this become standard? The truth is, I hate filling out that paperwork as much as the next physician but if I am referring a patient to a specialist, I expect that physician to manage all aspects of care pertaining to why I sent that patient to them. If you don’t think they need to be off of work, I support you 100%. You shouldn’t have to fill out anything.
But if you DO take a patient off of work, YOU do the paperwork.
….Or, I stop referring to you.
*FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) allows certain employees to take up to 12 weeks off in a calendar year for a serious medical condition or to care for someone else with a serious medical condition. It is unpaid leave but it does make sure you have a job to come back to. For a physician it is about five pages of stupid questions to complete.
**Short term disability is a policy you have through your employer that pays you a certain percentage of your salary when you have to be off work due to a health condition. It is another three to five pages of questions.
***I would never, ever leave a patient without their paperwork completed. If the physician had continued to refuse, that patient would have gotten their paperwork done by me. The patient should not be penalized for something they have no control over.