The Physical Shinn (Prior)

The John Shinnick Website

Last update: October 3, 2022

Changing Almost-Doctors

I had been with the same medical group for probably thirty years or more since moving to the Bay Area. I started out with a guy in Berkeley, but I think Blue Cross Blue Shield stopped accepting his small group of doctors and I went searching. Somehow, I found East Bay Family Practice in Oakland.


Driving there was a pain. Most of it was through downtown Berkeley, which may have been part of why I was for a time treated for high blood pressure. On an average day it would take maybe half an hour to get there, which meant I generally had to allow forty minutes. Though they had their own parking structure, it seemed to get harder and harder to find a spot.


I got bounced around from doctor to physician’s assistant to doctor to eventually a nurse practitioner. To be honest, I could never tell the difference between the doctors and the almost doctors. Nor did I ever find out what the difference between a PA and an NP. They all seemed to know their stuff, and would refer me to specialists when appropriate.


A few years back, East Bay Family Practice became part of Stanford Health Care. To this day I don’t know whether they are in any way affiliated with Stanford University’s medical school, and I really didn’t find any difference in how I dealt with them or the level of service provided.


A couple of years ago, the office where I’d gone for years moved. The new location was in Emeryville, about the same distance of a drive, but a little easier with about three miles of freeway replacing downtown Berkeley, but overall not too much better overall.


My last routine physical, I found that to get my usual NP, I’d have to wait a couple of months. WHAT? It turned out that their new facility was shared with another medical group which had undergone some major problem and lost most all of their staff. Stanford Health was taking in their patients. But in the middle of all this, they had hired a new doctor who I could see the following week. Great, a real MD! 


He seemed pretty good, except that when he filled out the referral for my usual battery of lab tests, he missed something, or perhaps wasn’t told something he should have been told. Whatever the cause, when I got to the lab, I was told that Medicare would likely not cover the tests. Again, WHAT? I didn’t take the tests that day and got in touch with my NP. I never heard what had happened, but they changed something on the paperwork and a couple of weeks later my tests were taken, compliments of Medicare.


Recently, I tested positive for Covid using one of the home tests. I was asymptomatic and had a gig coming up that weekend. Stanford didn’t give lab tests but gave me the name of a place that did. Somehow as I was unable to set up a quick appointment, so I went searching on the internet. I found a facility, part of the Carbon Health chain that gave such tests and that could see me later that day. 


No, I didn’t have Covid. Beyond that, the drive to the facility was less than ten minutes and parking was easy and free.

Not really the Carbon Health logo, but hey, carbon is carbon.

The front desk seemed to have its act together, as did the NP or PA or some other almost doctor who saw me. My next home test also showed positive, and again I went to the Carbon place. Again, I found that I was really negative. I also found that the facility was about to open its doors as a primary care facility.


As much as I liked my Stanford NP, the thought of such a short trip to my health care facility, as well as my experiences with the first two visits, was just to enticing to pass up. I contacted the Stanford Health office to have my records transferred. Within two days, I received the paperwork to make it happen. Very efficient service. I’d have been more impressed had they sent me the English version instead of the Spanish version. But soon enough I had the right forms and sent them in.


Tomorrow I’ll call Carbon and tell them all should be ready to go. And I need someone to look at my left hand. It still hasn’t recovered from the fall I took over three months ago. If my new NP can give me some treatment for it, we’ll be off to a great start. In the meantime, it’s another crap-shoot. If I don’t get along with the new NP, I’ll probably go slinking back to Stanford Health, ugly commute and all. But I don’t see that happening. Despite some administrative problems I had with Stanford Health, I got along with the medical people just fine.


Hopefully, with proximity, health care gets easier. We’ll see. Watch this space.


(Easy? EASY??? See the article on my main page. Wow!)

Carbon Atom.jpeg