- Only a doctor has undergone the most exhaustive education and training to best serve the patients of a community. Always insist on seeing a doctor. With the exception of podiatrists (D.P.M.) and dentists (D.D.S. or D.M.D.), if any individual does not have a D.O., M.D. or M.B.B.S. degree, they simply are not a doctor. A nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, anesthesiology assistant, midwife, physician's assistant, chiropractor, doctor of pastoral science and medicine, naprapath or naturopath of any “certification” or “degree” or who has any myriad of letters following their name is not a doctor.
- If a hospital, healthcare system / facility, urgent care clinic, surgical center, outpatient office, medical practice, medical group and/or emergency department is too busy to have a doctor see you, wait until they are available or seek care at another facility that has a doctor available.
- There is a nationwide shortage of doctors. In accordance with maintaining a high level of quality of care, contact your representative and ask them to investigate why there is a lack of funding to educational and training institutions to meet our nation’s demand for training more doctors. For the sake of patient safety, request that they repeal the right of the aforementioned nondoctors to attempt to practice medicine without a medical license within seven years as more doctors are educated and trained to solve the problem of our nation’s shortage while meeting the standard of quality patients deserve.
- If you are a patient of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (The V.A. system), demand to speak with the head of your local facility and healthcare system and ask why you may not be seeing a doctor. The V.A. system has surreptitiously been replacing doctors with midlevels with tragic consequences. You sacrificed your lives for the freedoms we enjoy. In return, you deserve healthcare to be delivered to you by the most trained and qualified individuals in the medical field. We salute you and thank you for your sacrifice and we, the doctors of America, hope to serve you once the V.A. system stops cutting corners and hires more doctors.
- As a patient, you are entitled to healthcare of the highest quality from the most dedicated, most trained and most qualified individuals. Always insist on seeing a doctor. If you are currently receiving care from a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, anesthesiology assistant, midwife, physician's assistant, chiropractor, doctor of pastoral science and medicine, naprapath or naturopath, it is strongly recommended that you thank them for their services and seek the care of a doctor. While you may have a good rapport with these individuals and/or may have been seeing them for a long time and/or may even be friends with them, your focus as a patient should be seeking the best medical care available. You, as a patient, should never feel shy, bad, ashamed, impolite, guilty, rude, inconsiderate or as though you are hurting anyone’s feelings by no longer choosing to receive care from a midlevel (or any of the other nondoctors listed above). And you certainly should not fear losing their friendship. To avoid (not uncommon) instances of indignant behavior or unnecessary confrontations, you have the right to start seeing a doctor (without notifying the midlevel or any other nondoctor you were receiving care from ahead of time). Be sure to check with your health insurance company (if you have health insurance) to be referred to a doctor who accepts your health insurance plan and be sure to request that your former midlevel (or any other nondoctor) forwards your patient records to the office of your doctor. In the healthcare field, your doctor is there to serve you. It is a one-way street of dedication to your health. That dedication comes through sacrifice and meeting the rigorous standards required of being a doctor. That dedication starts well before you even meet your doctor and it continues after you do as they maintain certifications through ongoing education.
- While it may take just a little time out of your day, always report nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and midwives who identify themselves as doctors or as doctors without specifying what type of midlevel they are (depending on your state's law) to the state nursing board. And also be sure to always report physician’s assistants who identify themselves as doctors to the state osteopathic medical board and the state medical board. If you need to report an anesthesiology assistant for misidentifying himself or herself, contact the state regulating body. If your state does not have a regulatory body for individuals of this type of job, contact your local representative. Also be sure to report midlevels to the state boards mentioned if they indicate, imply, insinuate or otherwise mislead you about having a medical “specialty” or being a “specialist” (as described in section #5 of the tab titled “Tools Midlevels Employ which May Mislead Patients”). The healthcare of another patient may depend on your reporting of a midlevel misidentifying himself or herself.
- If a hospital, healthcare system / facility, urgent care clinic, surgical center, outpatient office, medical practice, medical group and/or emergency department advertises that you will be seen by a doctor, but you find you are seen by a midlevel, speak to an attorney as this may be false and/or deceptive advertising. You as a patient, and as a consumer of healthcare services, deserve to receive services by individuals and companies as advertised.
- Contact your representative and urge them to pass new legislation to stop midlevels (and other nondoctors) from falsely identifying themselves as “doctors” (even if they specify what they may hold a “doctorate” in) and/or repeal old legislation that allows this practice. Clear identification of products and services in other fields is required by law, and should be the same in the healthcare field for midlevels and other nondoctors. Urge them to pass legislation preventing midlevels and other nondoctors from self-identifying (and dressing) as “doctors” even if they specify what they may hold a “doctorate” in. Furthermore, ask that they protect patients from midlevels and other nondoctors who falsely identify themselves (and dress) as “doctors” by creating guidelines for discipline similar to other fields and services (i.e. impersonating a law enforcement officer). Demonstrate the gravity of the deception so that they may make it a misdemeanor for midlevels to engage in this activity while facing the potential of jail time and/or fines. No one has a right to deceive or otherwise mislead individuals in a state of weakness.
Don’t forget, your first question to your “healthcare provider” should be, “are you a doctor?” If he or she is not, you should seek medical care from an individual who is a doctor. If he or she claims to be a doctor, your second question should be, "what is your degree?" If he or she is not a D.O. or an M.D. then he or she, too, is not a doctor and you should seek medical care from an individual who is a doctor. NEVER JUST ASSUME AN INDIVIDUAL IS A DOCTOR.
Exercise your right to receive medical care from the most highly educated and trained professionals in the medical field.
Demand to be treated by a doctor. Each time, every time.
Your health, even your life may depend on it.