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Second opinions by other Gyne-oncs

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

What a going on this morning in order to set up an appointment for a second opinion at Fox Chase with a Gyencologic Oncologist there. I thought I should share my experience in case it helps someone else.

Apparently it's not as simple as a phone call. The Appointment Specialist at Fox Chase asked me briefly to describe my cancer and where I was in my journey (the 2-minute version), and then said that I would need to get my pathology report and operative report from my original surgery faxed to her, as well as the written reports of all testing, scans, and biopsies done in the last 6 months. Once those documents were received, they would be reviewed and an appointment made for me within 10 days. I was also to get my CT/Pet scans and any other imaging done in the last 6 months put onto a CD to hand-carry with me to the appointment.

Soooo, I look online trying to find direct-line phone numbers of the various departments at my local hospital to get all that stuff, because HIPPA doesn't allow the referring doctors to just do this for you any more. I started out calling radiology, and they said I'd need to write (and fax) a written signed letter with my birthdate, medical ID#, and make the request in writing and give the name & address of the facility and doctor it was for in the letter. If I wanted 2 copies so I'd have one for my own records, the 1st was free but the 2nd would be $20 and I needed to include in the letter that I was aware of the $20 charge and was okay with paying it. So I do all that, with a couple of calls back and forth to make sure I have the right Fox Chase building address, and that I am getting exactly what they want to see on that CD.

Next I have to get all of my written pathology and operative and imaging REPORTS, so I track down the Pathology Department at my local hospital only to be told that I should get all that from the Medical Records Dept. Apparently they are the go-to place for all things on PAPER, and Pathology is where I have to go when Fox Chase is ready for my TISSUE slides (& they don't want those yet). BUT, in order for Medical Records to fax the paperwork to Fox Chase, I need to print out fill in, sign and fax them a Medical Records Authorization Form. So I get the form and do all that, and then we talk on the phone to decide what they should actually fax of the volumes of paper they have on me.

And 3 hours later, I've jumped through all of the hoops, and they promised to fax the paperwork to Fox Chase by the end of this workday; and I will be picking up my CD on Friday from FILM PICKUP at OUTPATIENT RADIOLOGY right after my appointment with my gyne-onc for my 3-month internal. WHEW! Meanwhile at Fox Chase they are trying to pre-certify to verify that my insurance will cover this 2nd opinion and any procedures that may recommend having done THERE (example: if they recommend SURGERY, that would be done at Fox Chase; chemo locally; radiation I don't know which.) Quite the to-do, but I think I've done my part now and need to just wait to hear back with an appointment date. Anyone have any questions I can try and work into the conversation with the head of Gyne-Onc at Fox Chase?

maggie_wilson's picture
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

geeze, what they make you go through; it was exhausting just reading the hoops you were put through. not everyone could do all that. hippa is a big pain in the rear end; it's supposed to protect one's privacy, but in fact just puts up roadblocks. (as a therapist, i had to take a workshop on hippa even though i don't do any record keeping, etc. electronically, so doesn't apply to me) and was told about all the loopholes that don't protect us at all, but how all the rules now make everything more difficult for the patient and her doctor to get ahold of essential information. wonder who this all really benefits? anyway, good on you, linda, for putting it all together; hopefully you're now finished with your part, though you may need to stay on foxchase to do theirs.

all good wishes, as always,

Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

I heard about this problem a long time ago. I've made a point of asking for copies of my medical records from the docs right after I meet with them for results...they will give them to you. After surgery, I asked for the path and op reports from the surgeon. After blood work, asked onc nurse for copy of labs; infusion nurses will give you a copy, too. After the CT scan, asked for a copy of the report, etc. This will help prevent this nightmare that you had to go through and allows you at anytime to just pick up and make a second opinion appt. which is what I've done as well. Just have to remember to ask for them right after or shortly after you see them.

Another idea, is to make an appt. with the social worker at your hospital, tell them you have cancer, and ask for their help because you don't have the energy to do all this. They have given me copies of all my records, too, no charge.

It's ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS that they make anyone with cancer do all this work. Really unconscionable in my opinion.

Glad you survived this Linda!

Posts: 356
Joined: Feb 2004

Hey, Linda, glad you got the ball rolling on all your paperwork. Nothing is easy in the medical arena these days, is it? If you are seeing MM at FCCC, I have heard that he is one of the best. I did have the pleasure of hearing him speak at a gyn-onc seminar when he was at Penn a number of years ago. He seemed like a real sweetheart and his answer to a question I asked was very thorough. Best of luck to you at your appointment!


Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

I know my dear Linda how it feels to have to go through all that mess, but you did it. I wish you all the best. You are a sure winner!!!! still have the time to give us all a heads up of what to do in case we need to. Thank you and thank you. Be well until. June

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

you are right!! I started out being good about obtaining copies and have slacked off. But I will need to get my records up to date to avoid problems Linda is having. I guess we always need to be prepared to turn on a dime.

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