How long does it take for referrals within Mayo?

Posted by mnjayhawk @mnjayhawk, Nov 1, 2021

Hi, I apologize if this is in the wrong group–I wasn't sure where to post it.

I had a video appointment with a Mayo physician on September 25, and my doctor told me he was referring me to two different departments (I also did some tests). One of the departments has set up an appointment in December. I have not heard from the other department, so I called and found out that my pain medicine referral was denied, and they said to send me to pain rehabilitation. So they were waiting for the doctor to write a new referral. I've talked to them twice, then last week I wrote to the doctor (about the referral, and the fact that my test results are in and nobody has spoken to me about them). No reply after a week.

Is it normal to wait this long for a referral from one Mayo department to another? I don't want to make the trip to the Clinic for only one appointment. Also, shouldn't someone be coordinating my appointments so they happen around the same time and can be accomplished in one visit? I am getting so frustrated trying to do this on my own.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Visiting Mayo Clinic group.

Hi @mnjayhawk, how frustrating that things are moving well in one department and not so well in the other. I'm not making excuses, but this may be because of capacity issues and the department being overwhelmed with requests.

Help me to understand a bit more. The pain referral has been transferred to recommending that you attend the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic (PRC). That's great! If you want to learn from others who have attended PRC, see this discussion:
– Mayo Pain Rehabilitation Program: What's your experience? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-pain-rehabilitation-program/

Is the ball now in your court to set up a time to attend the PRC program? It is a 3 week program. Might you be able to coordinate attending the program with your visit in December? Or do you think it would be best to attend the December appointment first?

I seem to have more questions than answers. Apologies for that. May I ask what department you have appointment with in December?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @mnjayhawk, how frustrating that things are moving well in one department and not so well in the other. I'm not making excuses, but this may be because of capacity issues and the department being overwhelmed with requests.

Help me to understand a bit more. The pain referral has been transferred to recommending that you attend the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic (PRC). That's great! If you want to learn from others who have attended PRC, see this discussion:
– Mayo Pain Rehabilitation Program: What's your experience? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-pain-rehabilitation-program/

Is the ball now in your court to set up a time to attend the PRC program? It is a 3 week program. Might you be able to coordinate attending the program with your visit in December? Or do you think it would be best to attend the December appointment first?

I seem to have more questions than answers. Apologies for that. May I ask what department you have appointment with in December?

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Hi @colleenyoung
As far as I understand it, my original doctor has not made the referral to the Pain Rehabilitation. A secretary told me that he originally referred me to Pain Medicine; they denied the referral and said Pain Rehab would be better. But he has not written that referral; if there is a reason why, nobody has talked to me about it. I have called twice (talked with secretaries who said he needs to write the referral) and written to the physician once (about this, and the fact that my test results are there for me to look at but nobody is explaining them to me and I have no followup appointment).

My other appointment is in Neurology on Dec. 14, but I don't want to come unless I can talk with someone in Pain Rehab (nobody mentioned a program–they just said Pain Rehab). If Pain Rehab is not an appointment but a 3-week program, then they should be explaining this to me. Nobody seems to be coordinating these appointments, and nobody is communicating with me. The only way I found out about the Neurology appointment was by looking at my Mayo Clinic account online.

I hope this makes better sense than my first effort. I just didn't know if waiting over a month for a referral is normal. And I assumed that if a person had more than one referral an effort would be made to make the appointments happen in the same day or next day so that they could be done in one trip.

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How frustrating to think your finally going to get answers / help, and then hear nothing.

Hard to know what is happening within depts at Mayo, but first impressions is something got lost in communications. Or the first provider is relying on Neurology to do follow up. But if that is case, they should be communicating that with you. You did not mention what dept your video appointment was with.

When you say you wrote to dr, did you do through Mayo's portal?

Can you ask to have another video appointment with original provider to go through results, why you were denied in one dept and your alternatives for Pain management.

If you still do not get a response, you can contact Patient Experience at https://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic/patient-experience

Good luck,
Laurie

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Hello @mnjayhawk

I go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester and have been to several different departments. Sometimes referrals are complicated by my insurance even when the referral is generated from within Mayo Clinic. In my experience schedulers within different departments have been helpful in coordinating my appointments.

@roch
Laurie has a point. Perhaps there is a communication problem. Have you called Pain Rehab and asked where the referral must originate? Can it come from the neurologist at Mayo? If not, they can help you figure out where the referral needs to come from which again could be based on your insurance. If I am understanding your post it seems you own doctor is not responding to your requests for a referral.

I can feel the frustration in your post. As if our own medical needs and pain weren't enough sometimes we have to get even more persistent to advocate for ourselves. I hope you can turn your frustration into tenacity.

Please come back here and let me know what happens. Sending you positive energy to get those appointments coordinated,

Helen

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@roch

How frustrating to think your finally going to get answers / help, and then hear nothing.

Hard to know what is happening within depts at Mayo, but first impressions is something got lost in communications. Or the first provider is relying on Neurology to do follow up. But if that is case, they should be communicating that with you. You did not mention what dept your video appointment was with.

When you say you wrote to dr, did you do through Mayo's portal?

Can you ask to have another video appointment with original provider to go through results, why you were denied in one dept and your alternatives for Pain management.

If you still do not get a response, you can contact Patient Experience at https://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic/patient-experience

Good luck,
Laurie

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Hi Laurie,
My original appointment was in genetics, and I had genetic tests done. The results have been in my patient portal for 2 weeks but I can't really interpret something like that. I wrote the physician through the portal and asked about the test results and if I needed to make another appointment with him to talk about them. I also asked about the pain rehab referral that I was told he would write. I have not received a response, but it has only been a week. I don't know what the "normal" response time is for these types of things.

I really don't know if I'm being impatient or if it is normal to wait this long for a referral and an answer to my questions. When I call the genetics department to ask about the referral (which I have done twice) secretaries tell me he needs to write the referral and that they will remind him.

Thanks for your response

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@naturegirl5

Hello @mnjayhawk

I go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester and have been to several different departments. Sometimes referrals are complicated by my insurance even when the referral is generated from within Mayo Clinic. In my experience schedulers within different departments have been helpful in coordinating my appointments.

@roch
Laurie has a point. Perhaps there is a communication problem. Have you called Pain Rehab and asked where the referral must originate? Can it come from the neurologist at Mayo? If not, they can help you figure out where the referral needs to come from which again could be based on your insurance. If I am understanding your post it seems you own doctor is not responding to your requests for a referral.

I can feel the frustration in your post. As if our own medical needs and pain weren't enough sometimes we have to get even more persistent to advocate for ourselves. I hope you can turn your frustration into tenacity.

Please come back here and let me know what happens. Sending you positive energy to get those appointments coordinated,

Helen

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Hi @naturegirl5
My original doctor is writing the referral, or at least that's what they say. Since I have not yet seen the neurologist I don't know why he or she would write a referral. If my original doctor has decided that I should not see pain rehab at this time, shouldn't he tell me why he isn't writing a referral? Maybe there is a reason he doesn't think I should go there yet. I want to call the department, but it would be the third time and honestly, every time I think about it I just start to cry and I wouldn't be able to hold a conversation. I feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall. Thanks for the positive thoughts–I can really use them right now!

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It is SO hard to determine if someone is calling to often or just advocating for yourself. If you do not advocate for yourself, no-one else will.

Sometime tears are OK. It shows how frustrated you are. I sometime get emotional during phone calls and that is why I use portal , I can ask my questions in direct form without getting emotional on call. Another reason I use portal is I have written log of questions and answers.

Even though portal message is sent to provider, he/she may not be one checking message. It may be provider's secretory or nurse. But who ever is checking, it is their job to follow up.

Before next call (or portal msg), write down very direct specific questions to ask?

Example:

It is my understanding a referral is in processes for …….
– Has dr wrote referral?
– If not, is there a reason it has not been done? When can I expect it to be done?
– If has been written, when can I expect a response?
– If I do not hear anything in ? days, who should I call back to check on status? Ask for a specific time frame, a person name and phone number.

If person you ask can not answer question, ask who can.

Again, if you feel you are being ignored, or person is not doing their job, contact Patient Experience. Mayo is great place, but that does not mean every person does a great job. Or something else might be happening, maybe dept is short staffed, or someone is out on leave / vacation and someone else is covering, etc… But you as patient should not suffer because of it.

I had genetic testing at Mayo Rochester and my experience with genetic dept was excellent. In my case they were checking for cancer markers.

I am glad you did get a neurology appointment, my understanding is that it is a very difficult area to get an appointment in.

Laurie M

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@mnjayhawk

Hi @naturegirl5
My original doctor is writing the referral, or at least that's what they say. Since I have not yet seen the neurologist I don't know why he or she would write a referral. If my original doctor has decided that I should not see pain rehab at this time, shouldn't he tell me why he isn't writing a referral? Maybe there is a reason he doesn't think I should go there yet. I want to call the department, but it would be the third time and honestly, every time I think about it I just start to cry and I wouldn't be able to hold a conversation. I feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall. Thanks for the positive thoughts–I can really use them right now!

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Hi @mnjayhawk
OK, now I understand why a referral has not been made within Mayo Clinic. Yes, the neurologist at Mayo Clinic would want to see you and do an examination before making referrals.

We travel for 9 hours (one way) by car to Mayo in Rochester. I have an appointment for a scan next week and when I asked if I should plan to stay longer or if more tests will be needed my nurse practitioner replied that this was difficult to predict. It all depends on what the scan reveals. So I have to be somewhat flexible in my situation as we just don't have enough information yet. As Laurie @roch wrote I got this information on the Mayo Clinic portal because I knew I would get rattled on the phone.

If you'd like more information about Pain Rehab, can you call that department at Mayo and ask how referrals work? Also, give them your time frame and ask if you will be able to get in during that time with a referral or if you will have to wait for an opening?

Positive thoughts and energy sent your way that you get the answers you need.

Helen

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I am on a 1-year waiting list to see a doctor at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville Florida. I've read some reviews on a neurologist at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville and the reviews from many patients has been horrifically poor reviews. I'm wondering if there's any recommendations for a specific neurologist at Mayo clinic in Jacksonville? I'm trying to recall the neurologist name but the reviews for this doctor from patient after patient after patient have all repetitively said almost the same things with very poor reviews for this neurologist that Mayo clinic in Jacksonville.

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@naturegirl5

Hi @mnjayhawk
OK, now I understand why a referral has not been made within Mayo Clinic. Yes, the neurologist at Mayo Clinic would want to see you and do an examination before making referrals.

We travel for 9 hours (one way) by car to Mayo in Rochester. I have an appointment for a scan next week and when I asked if I should plan to stay longer or if more tests will be needed my nurse practitioner replied that this was difficult to predict. It all depends on what the scan reveals. So I have to be somewhat flexible in my situation as we just don't have enough information yet. As Laurie @roch wrote I got this information on the Mayo Clinic portal because I knew I would get rattled on the phone.

If you'd like more information about Pain Rehab, can you call that department at Mayo and ask how referrals work? Also, give them your time frame and ask if you will be able to get in during that time with a referral or if you will have to wait for an opening?

Positive thoughts and energy sent your way that you get the answers you need.

Helen

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Hi @naturegirl5
My starting point, or original doctor, at Mayo was the genetics doctor, and he was the one making the referrals. He referred me to Neurology. It was just a matter of him switching one referral from pain med to pain rehab.

Great minds think alike 🙂 — I called Pain Medicine yesterday to ask why they denied my referral and what the difference was between Pain Medicine and Pain Rehabilitation. After talking to them I decided I don't care if I see either department on this trip, as I am seeking a diagnosis for a problem that I have had for 30 years. At this point I don't want more medicine or the pain rehab program, since that seems to be a program that weans you off pain meds, and I am not ready for that.

I've seen more neurologists than I can count since my pain problems started (including one at Mayo 30 years ago), and every single one has given me an EMG, told me me it was negative, and said my problem was not neurological. All have been extremely rude and disinterested. That's why I was reluctant to go to Mayo without some other appointments set up to at least justify the cost and the pain it will put me in to make the trip. (And that's part of what I wrote to the geneticist about, but he didn't answer). But I also called the Neurology department yesterday, and they said if I cancelled my appointment they couldn't guarantee I would get another one. So I decided I may as well go through it one more time and see if the neurologist can refer me to other departments/physicians while I am there. I'm taking one last shot at finding a physician curious enough about my physical problems to seek out answers. I thought the geneticist was that doctor, but it seems he is too busy to follow up with me. Maybe I can find another. Thanks.

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@mnjayhawk

Hi @naturegirl5
My starting point, or original doctor, at Mayo was the genetics doctor, and he was the one making the referrals. He referred me to Neurology. It was just a matter of him switching one referral from pain med to pain rehab.

Great minds think alike 🙂 — I called Pain Medicine yesterday to ask why they denied my referral and what the difference was between Pain Medicine and Pain Rehabilitation. After talking to them I decided I don't care if I see either department on this trip, as I am seeking a diagnosis for a problem that I have had for 30 years. At this point I don't want more medicine or the pain rehab program, since that seems to be a program that weans you off pain meds, and I am not ready for that.

I've seen more neurologists than I can count since my pain problems started (including one at Mayo 30 years ago), and every single one has given me an EMG, told me me it was negative, and said my problem was not neurological. All have been extremely rude and disinterested. That's why I was reluctant to go to Mayo without some other appointments set up to at least justify the cost and the pain it will put me in to make the trip. (And that's part of what I wrote to the geneticist about, but he didn't answer). But I also called the Neurology department yesterday, and they said if I cancelled my appointment they couldn't guarantee I would get another one. So I decided I may as well go through it one more time and see if the neurologist can refer me to other departments/physicians while I am there. I'm taking one last shot at finding a physician curious enough about my physical problems to seek out answers. I thought the geneticist was that doctor, but it seems he is too busy to follow up with me. Maybe I can find another. Thanks.

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I completely agree with @roch's approach to get answers to your questions.

Jayhawk, focusing on your appointment with Neurology sounds like a good plan. It is entirely possible that the consultation may lead to other appointments during this first visit as deemed necessary. Learn about the experience of others in this discussion:
– What can I expect at an Evaluation Appointment at Mayo Clinic https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/evaluation-appts/

@rwinney can also tell you more about her experience with pain medicine and pain rehab referrals and self referral options that she explored at Mayo Clinic.

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@mnjayhawk

Hi @naturegirl5
My starting point, or original doctor, at Mayo was the genetics doctor, and he was the one making the referrals. He referred me to Neurology. It was just a matter of him switching one referral from pain med to pain rehab.

Great minds think alike 🙂 — I called Pain Medicine yesterday to ask why they denied my referral and what the difference was between Pain Medicine and Pain Rehabilitation. After talking to them I decided I don't care if I see either department on this trip, as I am seeking a diagnosis for a problem that I have had for 30 years. At this point I don't want more medicine or the pain rehab program, since that seems to be a program that weans you off pain meds, and I am not ready for that.

I've seen more neurologists than I can count since my pain problems started (including one at Mayo 30 years ago), and every single one has given me an EMG, told me me it was negative, and said my problem was not neurological. All have been extremely rude and disinterested. That's why I was reluctant to go to Mayo without some other appointments set up to at least justify the cost and the pain it will put me in to make the trip. (And that's part of what I wrote to the geneticist about, but he didn't answer). But I also called the Neurology department yesterday, and they said if I cancelled my appointment they couldn't guarantee I would get another one. So I decided I may as well go through it one more time and see if the neurologist can refer me to other departments/physicians while I am there. I'm taking one last shot at finding a physician curious enough about my physical problems to seek out answers. I thought the geneticist was that doctor, but it seems he is too busy to follow up with me. Maybe I can find another. Thanks.

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Hello, @mnjayhawk
I agree with @colleenyoung that focusing on the Neurology appointment at Mayo is a good starting point. That appointment may lead to other referrals and appointments.

I've talked with people who have told me that their ongoing pain is debilitating and affects every part of their life. Your pain extends back so far in your life that of course you want to get answers and do something about it. I "hear" the frustration in your posts.

Pain Rehab clinics are multi-disciplinary where you work with physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and other professionals. Since pain takes over your whole life it makes sense that no one approach will fit everyone.

Whether or not you decide to look into the Pain Rehab program at Mayo I hope the the neurologist will talk to you about options and treatments available to you.

Blessings,

Helen

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