Letter to the editor: Porter patients having trouble getting appointments

I write in response to the piece about the new electronic patient health records system planned for Porter Medical Center (Addison Independent, Jan. 15). I think it’s great and so important that we keep up to date and make information available to those who need it. I like very much being able to look at the Portal and see my own records.
I do have a concern about another aspect of the system. I find that often when I call for an appointment with my primary care physician, I am offered an appointment six weeks in the future. When I suggest that I could die in six weeks it makes no difference. Six weeks it is. This has happened twice, eight months apart.
The first time I was blessed with a snow storm. I called immediately and benefited from a cancellation. The second time I shook the trees at the hospital and was able to get an appointment in two days. I don’t think I should have to advocate in such a way to see my doctor. I was offered the opportunity to see someone else but wonder why should I bother to have a primary care physician if I can’t get an appointment for six weeks.
I wonder why accessibility is so difficult. Having discussed this with several friends, I discover that I am not alone. On Monday a friend told me she was unable to get an appointment until April. Is it difficult to get doctors to come to Vermont? I believe that a trusting relationship with one’s doctor is an important part of the healing process.
Maybe I’m old fashioned. There is a lot to be said for the electronic age we are in but all the technology in the world isn’t going to replace the need for human contact and personal care. My doctor didn’t know that I was having trouble getting an appointment and wasn’t very happy about it. When I do get in, I get what I need, but I don’t much enjoy the process. 
Winifred Thomas,

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