Letter: Give the new Same Day Clinic a fair chance

Published 11:08 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

I haven’t worked as a physician for eight years, but it’s quite natural for folks to come to me with their concerns for how things are changing in the Austin medical system. There are several recurring comments:

“My doctor has left and they have assigned me to someone I don’t know anything about.”

“I don’t know whom to call if I get sick.”

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“It just isn’t the way it used to be.”

And, of course, it isn’t the way it used to be. I came here almost 40 years ago and practiced in a clinic and a system that are very much things of the past. There have been many changes in the way medicine is carried out, changes in the financing, changes in our expectations for doctors, and changes in the doctors’ expectations for patients as well as how doctors will live their lives.  But, I will say, from my personal medical encounters over the last few years, the quality of medical care now available here in Austin and in the region is extremely high. And compared with most parts of the country, we are truly blessed to have quality of the Mayo Clinic right here at hand.  However, changes are always challenging. Here is my recommendation to you concerning this latest change in care provided by Mayo Health Systems Austin.

This new system, recently announced, as the “Same Day Clinic” should help with the ever-present concern of  “I don’t know whom to call if I get sick. I used to call my doctor and they’d work me in.” Calling for an appointment at the Same Day Clinic will connect you with someone who can find the most efficient and effective way of dealing with the urgent problem that that concerns you. It won’t have the same feeling of “I used to call my doctor”, but it will connect you with someone who can make decisions about the urgency of the problem, and who can get access to an appointment with the appropriate department. Many of the problems can be managed right in the Same Day Clinic (there is a list provided on the press release) or if it sounds more serious, they will send you directly to the ER or to the right provider for that problem. As with the former Urgent Care system, you can always just walk into the Same Day Clinic as well, and your concern will be accessed as to seriousness there in the same way. As a “walk-in” you may need to wait a bit longer than you would with an appointment,.

This new system has considerable promise in it, for getting your problems addressed and getting you the quality care you need promptly. The old system, the one I worked in, was far from perfect in many ways. It had some advantages of personal relationship with a physician, but there were many inefficiencies as well. Unfortunately, the personal relationships may end up being secondary in order to increase efficiency for you and the medical personnel.  And that is what really counts.

So, I’d recommend putting the Same Day Clinic phone number on your list, in or by your phone, and using it when you think you need medial care. Give the new system a fair trial. I think it is a good approach and can lead to great medical care in a timely manner.

Fred Bogott MD, retired

Austin, MN