Allegheny Health Network is the Donald Trump of Regional Health Care: A Saga

Dick Cheney Donald Trump
Who would you trust with your health care?
Image via Slate.com

I’ve been a long-time patient of a UPMC primary care practice out of sheer practicality, but considered myself #TeamHighmark for political and personal reasons. We have Highmark health insurance through Ledcat’s employer which has caused numerous problems over the years over crap like UPMC levying a ‘facility fee’ because my PCP is housed in a hospital and Higmark refusing to pay it and them both pointing fingers at one another.

This has not helped my health or my health care. My anxiety can be a big barrier to actually keeping appointments. It is something I work on, but I wish the system would support instead of aggravate my symptoms. UPMC is not big on the support end of things, but they do have great care.

This spring, I decided that switching to the Allegheny Health Network might be a good decision for me. I live about 1.5 miles from Allegheny General Hospital so if I found a local PCP, I’d have nearby access to all the bells and whistles like labs, xrays, etc. I’ve been to AGH for medical emergencies in the past. So why not?

I researched practices and based on recommendations, found a female at the AGH Internal Medicine. She was a resident, but I was okay with that since in my experience that usually meant twice as thorough an exam with the attending physician supervising.

It was a literal nightmare of an experience. The appointment, the time afterwards when I voiced concerns about my appointment, the time on the phone with the so-called ‘Patient Advocate’ and so forth. Nightmare.

So I’m going to back to my UPMC PCP next week and clinging to her as long as I can. I’m also so utterly disgusted with AHN that I am going to write a multiple part blog series detailing the atrocity they call Internal Medicine under the leadership of Dread Lord Dr. Kevin Taffe.

First, I’ll explain how the appointment was a disaster. Then, I’ll tell you about my various attempts to seek redress and support from the Allegheny Health Network. I’ll tell you about my encounters with 412-Doctors. Finally, I’ll tell you about a woman named Lynn who works for Highmark Insurance and was the only redeeming actor in this charade.

This is how I describe the choice between UPMC and AHN as of now. Would you want health care overseen by Dick Cheney or Donald Trump? Both are evil, one is competent. See how I managed to insult everyone involved without using any mental health slurs?

Stay tuned if you are interested. If not, then go read something else. I may have zero credibility in the eyes of the Allegheny Health Network as a customer or patient or human being who was treated shoddily, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to remain silent about the experience. I may not be a doctor or have the power and influence of a doctor, but I do have this blog. And maybe someday a neighbor looking for a PCP will read this and do a little more digging before they accept crummy healthcare.

AHN had a lot of chances to fix this situation and they didn’t. As we go through this little debacle, you’ll see that one hand knows not what the other hand wrought. It really is almost a parody of the Trump White House, except for the part where people die … oh, wait.

We are all doomed.