Post # 1
So I switched insurance companies and I also had to switch doctors. No big deal, I just need to go in for my annual checkup/pap smear/prescription refill. I called the office and set up a new patient appointment. The receptionist said they’ll be mailing the standard forms for me to fill out. I received the forms and most of them are standard questions – authorization to transfer medical records, medical history, etc. And then I read the last page of questions.
“Do you have WORKING smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in your house?”
“Do you ALWAYS wear a seat belt while driving? Do you ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle?”
So at this point, I’m slightly taken aback, but I’m not angry. I’m not sure what smoke dectors and helmets have to do with my vagina, but whatever. (Words in all caps are theirs, not mine)
“Do you have guns in the house?”
Seriously, WTF do my guns have to do with my vagina?? Every single gun in this house is properly registered, we’ve both had our background checks as required and they are completely legal. And not that they asked, but every single gun is locked up, completely separate from the (also locked up) ammo.
I would understand the question if I was going to see someone about my mental health. That’s a legit concern. But I’m going to a women’s health clinic, where all they do is check out the girl bits.
I ended up just writing “None of this information is applicable to my appointment” across the last page. But I have NEVER been asked this information before, and I’m seriously taken aback by the level of prying into my personal life. They’re already going to be prying into my vagina, isn’t that enough???
Post # 3
@MariContrary: Whoa…I’ve never seen that b4… Good for u for not answering it. Honestly, tho, if it were me, i’d look for a new doc. that’s just weird.
Post # 4
Weird. Maybe they seeing if you are a potential liability to the insurance or something (because all those things can affect your health/life)? Is that how it works in the US?
I’d go to a new doctor, to be honest.
Post # 5
@MariContrary: screw that mess! I would LOVE to know their reasoning/justification behind asking those things!
Post # 6
Lots of pressure from medical societies to expand the definition of “public health” from infectious diseases to areas of broader social concern. I don’t think all docs ask these questions, but many do. If it’s a multispecialty clinic, it’s a decision made way above your particular provider’s pay grade.
Feel free to not answer any question you don’t want to. If they ask in the office just hold your ground and say their expanded view of what constitutes health care is not the same as yours, thanks, so you won’t be answering.
Post # 7
These sound like they’re coming from the insurance company, designed to assess a person’s overall health/accident risk. No carbon monoxide detectors = higher chance of illness/death if there’s a CO2 leak. Guns in the house = higher chance of gun-related injury than a gun free house (seriously no matter how carefully you store your guns, you can still hurt yourself or others with them).
Post # 8
I’m just with this insurance/doctor until June, then I switch to his. My BCP runs out in a month, and I have no refills, so I’m stuck. Apparently all doctors in 2 of the major health systems have that questionairre now. It’s kinda creepy.
Post # 9
I’ve seen the seatbelt question before a quick Google search found this in a NY Times article…
“Do you wear your seat belt? How much alcohol do you usually drink? Do you use recreational drugs? Have you ever injected yourself with anything? Do you have sexual relations, and if so, with men, women or both?
Questions like these have long been a standard part of medical interviewing, and for good reason. The answers may reveal clues about a person’s symptoms or physical findings on exam. If a person says he or she drinks heavily or has used intravenous drugs, I may be more alert to signs of liver problems when doing the physical exam and more inclined to order certain blood tests. The answers also help me know if the patient is at greater risk for common, yet preventable, causes of death, like H.I.V., car accidents and heart disease, so that I can counsel him or her.”
Post # 10
@Horseradish: That’s what I was thinking but you worded it much better than I did.
Post # 11
Ok, I could understand the insurance company asking these, but your gynecologist? Yeah, no they don’t need to know that, it’s just not relevant.
Post # 12
They use that as a way to talk to you about mental health, and personal safety. Even though this was a gyno visit (I assume) they can still prescibe antidepressants and mood stabilizers. If you come in and mention, even off-hand, that you think you’re depressed, and also have marked that you have guns in the house, studies show that individual is at a higher risk of comitting suicide. This might not pertain to you, but it could save lives.
Some people get so completely offended about the most inconsequential things…
Post # 13
@MariContrary: Wow, I’m returning to my regular gyno in about a month for my annual…if I get something like that i’ll freak (and post about it here lol)
Post # 14
Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you have a problem from this point. Knowing how office settings work, it’s entirely possible that that questionairre was “borrowed” from some free form website or some other office’s paperwork collection and that the person who did the borrowing is long gone and/or has never had anything to do with patient care before or since. I wouldn’t fret about it until/unless someone gives you a hard time for answering the way you did (which I don’t think was unreasonable at all.)
Post # 15
@MariContrary: smoke/carbon monoxide I could maybe understand – if you don’t and you have symptoms associated with CO poisoning that could make sense…guns? That’s weird – a psyc appointment sure, gyno, not so much.
Post # 16
@Eckle: well depending on the relationship between the doctor and the insurance company, the gynecologist may be the patient’s first point of contact with the insurance company in a medical setting; so if the OP had gone to a podiatrist first, she’d be asking what these things have to do with her feet. These days in the US, many doctors work for the insurance companies or the doctors and the insurance companies all are part of the same, massive healthcare company .