15 Steps to find a Pain Doctor
I was recently in a frightening predicament finding a new pain management doctor when my doctor retired. I was being turned away by multiple physicians because of 2 new words written in my medical file: “Medically Complex.”
Chronic pain patients, especially those of us labeled “Medically Complex” are struggling to find care in the current climate.
I can attest that it’s a terrifying situation to be placed in, and no person in need of immediate health care should be denied humane compassionate treatment.
Every pain patient should become familiar with the CDC’s new opioid prescription guidelines which are available to read here.
If you are struggling to find a pain management doctor, first know that you are not alone. It’s not fair that we should be in this position, but please don’t give up hope. I’m now with a doctor I trust, who trusts me. The process wasn’t easy or fast, but it was worth it.
Here are some of the steps I took, and a few I was prepared to take which might help you on your search:
1. Request your medical records
2. Ask for 3 referrals from your former pain doctor
3.Search websites like Healthgrades or ZocDoc for highly rated doctors in your area.
4. Let all of your other doctors know you are without a treating Pain Management doctor, and tell them you will be without your life-saving medications. Ask one of your doctors if they can help treat you *temporarily during your search.
5.Ask your chronic pain support groups if anyone living in the area has a good treating doctor.
6. Contact your insurance company for a list of area doctors
7. Contact RSDS.org for a list of RSD/CRPS pain doctors. (They will always email you back)
8. Submit new patient forms online to all of the doctors on your list. Call the doctors, call them back, call back again!
9. Expand your search to further away from home. It may not be convenient to drive 1-2 hours+, but it’s not uncommon for patients with rare diseases to travel for a specialist.
10. Consider applying for Palliative Care (care for mostly homebound or bedbound individuals)
11. Call your insurance company and ask for the nurse care representative or *medical social worker for help finding a doctor.
12. If you’ve ever had a physical therapist, reach out, let them know your predicament and ask if they can set you up with a medical social worker, or ask if they have a contact for a good doctor. Physical Therapists have great connections! Take advantage of all the help you can get.
If all of the above fail….
13. Contact your state and local representatives and tell them your story
14. Contact local media to share your story
15. Contact legal aid.
Do not give up. Your life is worth fighting for.