>Daisy and the Gatekeeper


Actual phone call with clinic; I am not making this up.

Me: I’d like to make an appointment to see Doctor DHH (deaf- hard of hearing).

Gatekeeper: Regarding?
Me: Creating a letter discussing medical accommodations for my job.
Gatekeeper: Oh, we don’t make appointments for that. He just writes a letter.
Me: He already wrote a letter, and my attorney says it’s not suitable.
Gatekeeper: In what way?
Me: It needs to be specific, suggesting an accommodation and giving a medical reason for that accommodation. I need to talk to Dr. DHH. Could you please check his schedule?
Gatekeeper: We write letters to employers all the time. The one you have should be sufficient.
Me: I’ve run it by my attorney, and she says it’s not specific enough. I’d like to talk to Dr. DHH so we can draft a new one.
Gatekeeper: We send these out all the time to employers and SSI for disability cases. No one has ever had a problem with this.
Me: Please schedule an appointment for me so we can resolve the letter completely.
Gatekeeper: Oh, no, instead let’s see what’s in your file.
Me: (pacing next to phone)
Gatekeeper: Okay, he sent a more detailed letter to your family doctor and a short one to you. You picked it up two days ago.
Me: Yes. I have it. It’s a short summary, and it needs detail. Maybe Dr. DHH could call me.
Gatekeeper: Let’s see if the family doctor letter has what you need. We could send that one.
Me:(pausing while she looks it up)
Gatekeeper: Maybe you don’t need a doctor’s letter at all. You just need the audiology report.
Me: No, I’ve already asked. I need a letter from an MD. If I need to include audiograms, I have several years of them on file.
Gatekeeper: Oh, Dr. DHH won’t need more. He has the one from November.
Me: If he needs to show that the loss is progressive, he’ll need a series of audiograms over time.
Gatekeeper: Oh.
Me: Shall we schedule an appointment?
Gatekeeper: No, I’ll ask Dr. DHH if we should use the medical letter.
Me (firmly, but politely): I will stop by to pick up a copy. Do not send it to my employer until I’ve reviewed it with my attorney.
Gatekeeper: Oh. Well…
Me: I’ll pick it up Monday morning. See you then!
Notes: I managed to make an appointment a week later by going through a different receptionist. Dr. DHH was appalled to hear that his “gatekeeper” had refused to schedule my appointment the first time I called. We’re still working on the disability documentation, but at least I made it one more step up the ladder.

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