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Have you seen Dr. Gary Falkenberg?
August 24th, 2015Horrible. Stay Away.
FULL DISCLOSURE: My experience with Dr. Falkenberg was in Canton, where he has a cushy job (along with 2 other docs) of overseeing 60 residents, almost all of whom went to medical schools in the Caribbean. (That usually means their MCAT scores were so embarrassingly low, they couldn't get into any schools in the U.S.) On to Dr. Falkenberg: I had been a patient at this primary care practice (where the patients are seen by the residents) for about 6 years. I had never been a problem patient. I wish I could pick zero stars . This guy is miserable, old, and mean. I had NEVER SEEN THIS GUY BEFORE, but he came out with his voice raised because he claimed I was inappropriately speaking to one of the med techs (who happened to be answering the phone) about my medical care. Since this is a resident program, you see whoever's available, no matter how desperately you try to keep continuity of care. So, in my 6 or so years, I've seen a minimum of 10 docs. Probably half have come right out and said: "I don't know ANYTHING about the insurances. ASK THE GIRLS UP FRONT. They know." And they do! I don't know where I'd be if I wasn't able to ask basic insurance questions. So, he's caught some snippet of conversation and feels justified to come out, raise his voice, and tell me I'm being inappropriate. He's making a scene. I reply, in a normal tone, that I wasn't asking her health care questions, but rather insurance questions (which I had been told to do repeatedly, by many different doctors). He was momentarily flustered, then told me (still screeching) that all insurance questions should go to my doctor, too. So, he was taking exception to what I had been told was not only appropriate, but what I was led to believe was policy. I continued to tell him (in a normal tone), but he wasn't listening if he ever was (I think he expected to create a big, blustery conflict and I would slink away, and the self-esteem boost would release more endorphins and he'd float away on his self-created high thinking about what a BIG DOCTOR MAN he was). While I was still talking about the complicated mechanics of finding the correct drug formulary, he threatened me--out of nowhere. He told me if I kept talking I wouldn't be a patient anymore. Huh? I've never even seen this guy, and he certainly didn't know anything about me. I was nonplussed. It was like I had stumbled into a Kafka story. On my next appointment, he was there, came into my room with my current doctor, and said I needed to read a letter. It was supposedly written by my doctor, but it was written by him; he MADE HER SIGN IT. (He does control her job, and she's not in Antigua anymore.) It started with a comment about the doctor-patient relationship breaking down so they were dismissing me. (It's not like they had 59 other doctors there if indeed there were any truth to the letter--oh, wait! They do have 59 other doctors.) I turned to my doctor and asked her what "breakdown" we had suffered. (We'd had one prior appointment.) Falkenberg, in back of me, kept trying to answer for her, but I insisted on my doc answering. She said I seemed less than enthused about her patient plan, that I had objected to it (sounds like doctor/patient communication doesn't it? There was no animosity in our appointment)--and that was true: I told her my insurance company is not going to approve a drug that costs $1000/month indefinitely. She didn't care that I was going to waste two weeks waiting for them to deny it (They did). So I (she) wasted my time instead of discussing viable treatments. A pathetic, miserable doctor with low self-esteem. Well, I guess ejecting me gave him a boost. I'm glad he has to live with himself, because that's gotta suck. So, this guy was willing to screw up my medical care because I embarrassed him by not dropping to the floor in awed prostration, because he made a fool of himself yelling, unable to get me to yell back. I found a great PCP. Literally about two more minutes away. I have one doctor. I have continuity of care. I don't show up and find out that they changed my doctor because of a scheduling mix-up. I hate to admit it, but I am much better off. And unlike Dr. Falkenberg, my doc went to a great medical school, not Des Moines University (which didn't seem to even be listed in the--very comprehensive and long--ratings of medical schools list I looked at.
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