At what point do you stop trying with a specific doctor?

So I had another particularly frustrating appointment today- Dr. Eusterman was 30 minutes late for our phone visit, fixated on my previous mental health diagnoses, and I didn’t find out til the end of my appointment that I waited 2 weeks for that he hadn’t even seen my CT scans. He wants me to bring them into his office as a next step.

At what point do you say “no, this doctor is not helping/respecting me” and move on to find someone new? Dr. Hepworth is in my area and I hear he’s amazing, but seeing him would likely be out of pocket or require me to change my insurance.

Poor you, sounds very frustrating!! And for doctors to be more interested in your mental health rather than getting scans beforehand says something… The concern is that if you take them to his office for your next appt, he won’t have had a chance to look at them properly before seeing you, & might rush this/ dismiss you without looking at them very closely?
I’m UK so can’t give much advice re insurance- would it be very hard to change? otherwise would it work out any cheaper to pay for a review of your scans by a doctor who does phone consults- like DR Samji in CA or Dr Cognetti in PA, & then if you get an official diagnosis take it from there & maybe see Dr Hepworth?
Hopefully others with more experience of the US system can chip in!

Hi kittchenita,

I’ll be blunt…Time to move on. This doctor is wasting your time/$. There is absolutely no excuse for him to have neglected looking at your CT scans prior to your appt. His focus on your “mental health issues” is also telling since that isn’t the reason you made the appt., & he should have known that. The “icing on the cake” is that he expects you to make another appt & bring in copies of the CT scans which he has already received? REALLY?!? This is most unprofessional.

Many of our forum members have been diagnosed w/ suspected mental health issues instead of ES because of the many & diverse symptoms they’ve had. This is such a travesty because the problem is mechanical not mental (i.e. styloid process/calcified s-h ligaments messing w/ cranial nerves & possibly, vascular tissues).

It would be worth it to consider an insurance change if possible. Jules’ suggestion of getting an opinion from Dr. Samji or Cognetti is good, however, the fees for that might be more than you can afford to spend right now (~$650 for a 45 min consult for Dr. Samji. Don’t know Dr. Cognetti’s fee). I’m sorry we don’t have anyone besides Dr. Hepworth on our list for CO. We do have several good recommendations for him from our forum members, however. You could contact his office & ask what he charges for someone paying out of pocket. Often doctors charge significantly less for cash paying patients than for those where insurance is billed.

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Thanks for your responses, @Isaiah_40_31 and @Jules. I’ve decided that I’m going to schedule a consult with Dr. Hepworth and just do that out of pocket, and then if it seems like he is a good fit I’ll go through the hassle of changing my insurance.

My plan is still to get Dr. Eusterman a copy of my scans, which might take a while because he needs them on a CD and I’m not willing to give him my only copy, so I’ll have to order some blank CDs and make my own copy. He did not have a copy of my CT before the appointment because the doctor that ordered the scan is not with the same hospital group as he is, but I do wish that he had checked and asked me to bring them in before the appointment since there were about 2 weeks between when the appt. was scheduled and when it actually happened.

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Sounds like a good plan, explains why the doctor doesn’t have your scans!

Hi kittchenita,

The radiology lab where you had your CT scan should be willing to send a CD to Dr. Eusterman so you don’t have to make a copy. Hopefully they wouldn’t charge for doing this since it’s going directly to a doctor. Dr. Samji has the same requirement. He wants a CD not a soft copy of CT results. Not sure why it makes a difference but to some doctors it does.

I agree w/ Jules. Your plan sounds good. I also agree w/ you. Dr. Eusterman should have asked his office to call you & have you bring your CD to your appt. Sounds like the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing in that office or they’re too busy to keep track of the little, but important details.

Thanks again, @Isaiah_40_31. You’re absolutely right, I should call the folks who did the CT and have them get me another copy- so much simpler than trying to burn my own CD in 2020! I certainly don’t mind them requiring them, it’s just the efficiency of the thing that bothers me. You all know how it feels when you’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for help and then the people who have the power to help you are dragging their feet.

Currently just waiting for Dr. Hepworth’s scheduling people to call me back- I never have the ringer on on my phone but it’s on today!


Time to move on. Dont give this doc the time of day.

The radiology group that did the scan should have a “release of Records” form you will need to sign to have the CT disk sent to doctor. They normally do not charge to sent to docs. I would look on their website to find the patient form. Sign and fax in. I usually call the records dept and speak to someone and if they are nice, will promptly send out the scans. I also confirm they have received the signed document. They will not send without this.
I have learned unfortunately thru decades of MRI’s and scans, that rarely are docs office’s on top of telling you to have this done before a consultation. If the scans are done outside their “medical affiliation”, they dont often have digital access to the radiology scans. Good luck with future scheduling and getting the right doc to review.


Thanks, Snapple! Turns out I’m going to have to drive across town to pick up a disc and take it to his office, which I’m going to do because I’m anticipating that I might need his “there’s nothing wrong with you I can’t help you” to convince my insurance that I need to switch plans. SO frustrating!

Curious if anyone here has info on this: I have an appointment with Dr. Hepworth for 8/25, but his scheduling person said that they might not be able to see me at all (even if I pay out of pocket) with the type of insurance I have. Has anyone heard of this happening before?

If you have medicaid or medicare, they may refuse to see you. Many dont want to deal with those plans or only limit the number of patients who are on it due to low reimbursement rates. I had a PCP schedule me and my daughter and I have good PPO insurance and they were network providers. My daughter also has medicaid (she is on SSI) as secondary. They then refused to see her as they dont take “Medicaid” patients. I had to fight with them our primary pays and I would pay the copay but they refused. I was furious. It may not be that but that but I dont think they can do that legally if you are paying out of pocket. It may be an “Office Practice or protocol” which is BS in my book.

What she told me (I am on Medicaid, but since I live in the Denver area they automatically enrolled me in a “managed care plan” that I cannot seem to escape from. Hepworth takes Colorado medicaid, but can’t take my specific plan) is that the managed care plan folks get upset with them if they see Denver Health patients, even if they pay out of pocket. I don’t understand this AT ALL and am hoping she’s wrong about it, but I guess I shouldn’t cross my fingers.

Best thing is to retract what you told them. Say you have no insurance anymore. YOu just want to pay out of pocket.
This all comes down to $$$. They cannot legally balance bill or charge for co-pays or co-insurance to medicaid patients so they either dont take it or limit the number of patients in their practice.
My son lives in Denver and also on medicaid however he is with Kaiser somehow but he too has problems seeing specialists. Are you in a HMO type plan? Where you have to get referrals from PCP?

You should be able to go outside to a specialist with a PCP referral. Depending on your doc, you may have to fight with them or request a new PCP.

My son also in Denver proper. I know he has had problems seeing specialist docs and very frustrated. Seems to get stuck in loop of going to managed care physicians in network that don’t have the expertise he needs for what is going on with him. He doesnt have the patience to fight with the system and has given up. It sounds like Colorado has a difficult medicaid system and you have to get tenacious and demanding. You have to figure out how the system works and work it to your needs. Sometimes have to jump thru stupid hoops to get there. It can be time consuming. The problems he has told me about just blow my mind. A close friend of mine has a good saying…“The system must be satisfied”. Patience and perseverance. I hope they let you in to see him. Good luck.

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I wonder if Medicaid would even have to know you had an appt w/ Dr. Hepworth if you’re paying out-of-pocket? It seems silly that they would receive notification of an appointment they weren’t being asked to cover. Maybe it’s the law though that Medicaid has to be notified any time you have an appt.

Yeah, I’m going to do some research to see if anyone would even find out if I just pretended like I didn’t have insurance at all. His office was supposed to talk to billing and then call me back (they haven’t) but I’ll call them back today. I know I’ve heard other folks talk about Hepworth being amazing but having issues with scheduling/getting in touch with the office. If it seems like I’m going to need to be honest about my insurance, I’ll call them later and explain the situation and see what needs to be done.

Making so many phone calls when your voice is bad/painful sucks so bad. Not like I already had terrible social anxiety that made talking on the phone awful.

@Snapple2020, I’m so sorry to hear your son is also stuck in the medicaid system! I really think it is incredible for people who don’t have chronic health issues (or have more mainstream ones). It’s just us outliers that it sucks for! I’ll try to report back here as I find out more about “satisfying the system” so that maybe it can help him as well.


It is a rule (via contract) that you cannot balance bill (co-pay or coinsurance) medicaid or medicare clients for services if you already accept them in your practice. If they only accept a small % of those patients (many limit how many patients they will take), even accepting them out of pocket in full (all cash) from a known medicaid insured patient can potentially have a liability risk and get them in trouble with the feds. some are willing to do it but those are usually smaller practices. That’s why it is best to tell them you have no insurance. What they don’t know wont hurt them. They can claim ignorance.

Unfortunately these are the hooks within the medicaid system that I think are designed to prevent or limit advanced care for those unable to get better health insurance. You can usually get around these hooks when you understand how the system works and where the loopholes are. Knowing what the rules and procedures are to jump to higher level or more specialty care in a managed care environment. I usually get the “Summary of Plan” document which is easy for most to read. Then I get the full “Plan Benefit” booklet which is not a light read and not always easy to obtain. You may have been mailed this when you were first approved for medicaid or any plan. (About 50-80 pages) If you refer to Table of Contents, you can usually go to area that applies. Sometimes these are posted on the plans website or you have to call in and request it be sent to you. The Plan Benefit booklet is your roadmap (or hoops) to get your care. Hidden in the fine print are the exclusions to care. I study it in depth so I know my rights to care and the process to follow to get it. The language in these booklets are sometimes legaleeze or double speak and confusing. Its designed to be that way as most people don’t know how to navigate the system. Many medical staff don’t know either so dont count on them to help…they are clueless too… much of the time. Too many plans and too many moving parts and rules. It has taken me years to learn how to decipher this language. Hang in there and have perseverence.


Well, I just talked to the billing person at his office and she said that I can just tell them I’m self-pay, so that’s awesome! It’s actually only going to be like $200 which is much, much less than I thought, so I’m pretty excited about that! Now, just to wait for 8/25 to come around…