2013-01-11 / Letters

Reader was refused medical treatment

To the editor:

I never thought I’d share my diagnosis in the newspaper, but if I don’t tell my story, who will? When a doctor’s employer wedges itself into the doctor-patient relationship and then begins to abuse its power, someone needs to say something.

I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) accompanied by attention-deficit (ADHD). That is, I’ve had some pretty bad experiences in the past that make it difficult to concentrate on ordinary tasks.

Recently I discussed this diagnosis with our family doctor at Intermed, and she said she could prescribe ritalin, which had worked for me in the past. However, she refused me treatment because I wouldn’t sign a fourpage contract in which, among other things, I was to submit to random drug tests, allegedly to prevent “abuse or diversion.”

There was no medical reason for refusing to treat me. With any prescription medication, there is a chance that someone can misuse it or provide it to someone else. The prescription record would show how much I had available to me. If I were taking street drugs, the risk that those drugs would harm me would be outside my doctor’s scope. If I were selling my medication, I would be a criminal, not a patient at risk. Intermed is using random tests as a substitute for proper medical follow-up, forcing patients to surrender their personal rights so it can streamline its workflows.

Doctors have enough to do keeping their patients healthy without Intermed trying to turn them into cops. Note that even cops can’t demand random drug tests because they’re subject to rules and laws our society sets for them.

I left the office and was billed for the visit, even though I had been refused treatment.

Mark D. Diehl Cape Elizabeth

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