Dr. K has more than talent; he's compassionate and thoughtful of how I feel about diagnosis and treatment and meticulously documents everything that happens. He considers my life history, medical and psychological issues, respects my goals in life, and is dogged in finding a treatment that works for me. Despite my multiple treatment-resistant problems, I've gotten progressively better as we've tackled one issue after another, and I'm honestly more healthy and happy than I've ever been. He always reminds me that I'd never be this well without all the hard work I've done, but I'd never have made so much progress without his care.
I imagine his lack of warmth and fuzziness might put some people off, because he's reserved, calm, professional, and rarely shows emotion. I'd rather have all of his other qualities than trade them for emotional support, but over time I've learned that he does care deeply about my well being and makes sure I understand when he's worried about something or gratified when we find a treatment that works.
Dr. K's suite has a small quiet waiting room that leads into his office, and another door leads to a little hallway to the suite's exit, so I've never even seen another patient. In his office are two comfy chairs 6 or 7 feet apart in his office (there's a couch too), and he uses a laptop stand for my chart, which I like better than a desk or sitting directly across from each other.
There's no staff, but he's more responsive than any other doctor I've had. His answering service gets my name and number and a brief reason for my call, so I don't have to give them any private information, and I can leave a message anytime of day or night, not just during office hours. He returns daytime calls within a few hours, and if you say it's urgent he'll respond on his days off. I've often had to wait a day or two for other doctors to call in prescription refills, but he responds the same day to my or my drug store's refill requests. When I've been out of a medication he's even left a scrip clipped to the mailbox in the hall that leads out of his office suite.
Dr. K doesn't bill insurance, but at the end of each visit he gives me handwritten statement. I can pay immediately by check or credit card, but I wait for his billing service's monthly statement, then send the statement to my insurance company for reimbursement. It takes a little attention, but isn't a big deal. Dr. K isn't fond of insurance companies, so he advocates for me when they ask for pre-authorization of a medication, resists their attempts to get him to prescribe a cheaper drug when we find one that works, and has never charged me for the letters he's had to send them or the time spent on the phone.
Another reviewer called the office dingy and old-fashioned, but Trolley Corners is an industrial-style office building built in the 70's to match the rather ugly conversion of Trolley Square into a shopping mall. It's got Trolley Square's exposed brick walls, concrete floored halls, and big prints of trolleys and workers from the early 1900's, but its open architecture, halls lined with hanging plants and planters, and natural light from huge windows and skylights make it much better, though still not exactly attractive. Dr. K's office itself is well-stocked with medical journals, reference tomes, and numerous recent books about medical conditions and treatment, which show that he keeps up with the most recent trends in psychiatry. His furniture is Danish Modern, with leather Ekornes recliners and a nice couch, along with a rather boring desk, and it's filled with colorful Jungian-inspired and Native American art and sculpture.
As for filling out forms before the first visit, Dr. K's were hardly ridiculous; they simply show how thorough he is. Aside from my first, who turned out to be dangerously incompetent, every psychiatrist I've seen has had me give them the same stuff and submit it far enough ahead of the visit so they could study them before seeing me. He deals with complicated conditions, many of which can mimic each other, and it's hard for patients to describe their symptoms in an emotionally-charged first visit. Checklists and forms filled out before a visit give him an idea of what to look for and what else he needs to know.
July 24, 2013