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 Post subject: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:15 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Hello Everyone!

I am currently in a rage about an injustice I experienced today. I would like to take immediate action on it, but have no real idea how to do it. I have just moved to Vermont as of June. I went to a new doctor in the area and she recommended I see a physical therapist for my knee because it still hurts after resting it all summer and taking some medicine for tendinitis. She recommended a place to me, but it is not in my network according to my insurance company. I called another company which is in the town that I work and in my network. The conversation went a bit like this:

"Hello?" -Man on phone
"Yes, I would like to make an appointment, please." -Me
"For who?" -Man on phone
"For me." -Me
*Chuckles* "I'm sorry, but I closed the practice to women." -Man on phone
"Sorry, what?" -Me
"I only see men. I closed the practice to women several years ago. Unless your voice is really high..." -Man on phone
"But that's discrimination." -Me
"There's two other places in town that will see you-" -Man on phone
"But that's discrimination." -Me
"It'll be okay. You'll be okay. Have a nice day." -Man on phone
-CLICK-

Okay, so this really peas me off. This is 2012 and I can't get an appointment to a physical therapist because I am a woman. The Wyomingite (Equality State), Women's Studies minor in college and the feminist in me screams NO! This injustice can't be lived down.

What do I do now? I have looked at the Better Business Bureau to make a complaint, but they don't take anything dealing with discrimination. I have thought about writing a nasty letter to the editor. I have thought about saying nothing. I have considered calling back to make sure this actually happened.

After the conversation, I got on my insurance provider's website and couldn't find a single person within 30 miles who is still in business and also in my network. My insurance provider is based in the mid-West, Indiana area, and I have been using it for Vermont and Wyoming, but this is ridiculous! Does anyone have any suggestions?


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:23 pm 
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Chip Strong
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That is not only frustratingly discriminatory, it seems quite... odd! Why on earth would a business want to reduce its potential client base by half?


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Licensing board. http://vtprofessionals.org/opr1/physical_therapists/


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Complaint form: http://vtprofessionals.org/conduct/All_ ... t_Form.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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I just spoke to my uncle on the phone. He thinks the guy might be a registered sex offender. Maybe I dodged a bullet...?


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:33 pm 
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what the fizzle, and they still let him practice? Sounds fishy.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:58 pm 
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BrownieFiend wrote:
I just spoke to my uncle on the phone. He thinks the guy might be a registered sex offender. Maybe I dodged a bullet...?

Ew omg. How did he reach that conclusion?

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:07 pm 
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it's really weird to me that he didn't just say "i'm not accepting any new patients now" that would be a sufficient answer...

Did you try googling his name?

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Yeah, he's probably a perv, whether or not he has actually been convicted of anything.

You might want to let your insurance company know about his "policy," as they might not be so happy about continuing to reimburse someone who can't/won't see 50% of their members.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:41 pm 
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bizarre


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:05 pm 
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very strange, and not condoning this at all, but probably for the best as would you want to be going to him and find out he's a nutjob once you're in a clinic with him/obliged to keep going to him?

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Well my Uncle is a politician and called to ask him to help me write a nasty letter to the editor of one of the many local newspapers. As soon as I told him the part about the guy only seeing men he was like, "Oh...He probably is a sex offender. He was probably court ordered to have a woman or someone supervising him when he sees female patients, but no woman would want to work with him because he's a sex offender so he only sees men." Then he told me I probably dodged a bullet and gave me some other closer places to look. I'll call tomorrow when it isn't lunch time at these offices. I was so pissed though.

It's a toss up around here though. Either drive 45 minutes north of your work (which is 30 minutes west of your home) to a woman physician who is in your network or pay the full price upfront for a check up in town.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:00 pm 
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I wonder if it is actually illegal. I mean, obviously discrimination against women has a very different societal impact than discrimination against men, but there are plenty of health practitioners who only see female patients/clients. I think it's different from, say, an emergency room where they're supposed to treat anyone who comes in. In a private practice setting, I think a practitioner can pretty much freely discriminate on whatever basis they want. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong about this?) But honestly, I think if this guy for whatever reason really doesn't want female patients, it's probably better that he tells you upfront rather than you making an appointment with him and finding out after you've already given him money and started treatment.

As a transgender person I deal with this all the time, and honestly I wish that more doctors would just flat-out say "I don't see transgender patients, here are the numbers of two other practitioners you could call who can help you" rather than being awkward and creepy about it. It sucks of course, because ideally it should never be an issue, but since people get hung up about gender so much, I think it's in everyone's best interest for a medical practitioner to be upfront about it if it's an issue and refer the person elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:15 pm 
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I dont think this is illegal or legally discrimination. There have been similar cases with doctors refusing obese patients, and the response is that doctors have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.

Either way, it sucks. But, yeah, you didn't want to see that asparagus anyway. Did you google him to see if anything odd popped up?

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:31 pm 
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Thinks Plants Have Feelings
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Well, I looked him up and there is nothing about him being an offender in the registry in Vermont. I am not for sure what his name is though. The practice is named after the street that it is on which also appears to be his last name. Main. It is really weird. I do a LOT of driving in this area and I was so excited that I could see someone in town. Now, I am going to drive 45 minutes north and I won't be standing up to the lions of injustice.

Also, there is nothing in our constitution (as of yet) saying you can't discriminate against someone because of their size which is bullshiitake.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:15 am 
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The swimming pool I used to try to go to seemed to arrange women-only swims seemingly whenever it was most inconvenient for me. I'd walk a mile there, discover it was women-only, and walk a mile back. At least I saved money and did a lot of walking.

I think a medical practitioner should be allowed to not treat a specific gender if he or she chooses; if there was a women-only clinic that I wanted to use, as a man, I'd be torn a new one for even suggesting it was sexist. Would you rather see a practitioner who was uncomfortable treating you but felt he legally had to?

Maybe he's just not comfortable treating women, maybe he's had unsubstantiated complaints made against him in the past and wants to avoid the hassle, maybe he operates out of a gay sauna and you didn't realise, maybe every woman he touches reminds him of his beloved dead wife... You don't know anything about this man other than that he runs a single-gender practice.

Don't assume the man's a sexual abuser just because he won't treat women... that's really unpleasant.

Yes, it's a pain in the arse, though. I hope you find treatment soon; chronic pain is very debilitating.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:36 am 
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Just a quick apology for how bile-filled my last post sounds. I have a friend whose career was destroyed by false allegations of sexual misconduct. It ended up going to court and he was completely cleared, but unfortunately he is now radioactive by association. Just be careful what stones you throw, please, they can ruin lives.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:49 am 
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I rather appreciate your presentation of your perspective as a man, Gulliver- to be honest I had never really thought about it from the other side. (aside from the sexual allegation thing, which i also hadn't thought about)

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:52 am 
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torque wrote:
I rather appreciate your presentation of your perspective as a man, Gulliver- to be honest I had never really thought about it from the other side. (aside from the sexual allegation thing, which i also hadn't thought about)


Agreed. I liked your perspective.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:12 am 
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I also appreciated Gulliver's input. One of the first things I did was double check what sort of doctor it was. Don't physical therapists have to be pretty hands-on at times? While not ideal for your situation, I could understand a man wanting to avoid that for a number of reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:10 am 
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I work in Physical Therapy, and while I've never heard of a gender-based practice, at our clinic the policy is that a male practitioner cannot treat a female patient without another female in the clinic. Most treatments are performed in the gym, where other people are around. We live in a litigious society, and people misunderstand tactile and verbal cues all the time. And yes, PT is very hands on, and also includes manual therapy (massage).

That being said, what a pain in the asparagus for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:24 am 
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Gulliver wrote:
The swimming pool I used to try to go to seemed to arrange women-only swims seemingly whenever it was most inconvenient for me. I'd walk a mile there, discover it was women-only, and walk a mile back. At least I saved money and did a lot of walking.

I think a medical practitioner should be allowed to not treat a specific gender if he or she chooses; if there was a women-only clinic that I wanted to use, as a man, I'd be torn a new one for even suggesting it was sexist. Would you rather see a practitioner who was uncomfortable treating you but felt he legally had to?

Maybe he's just not comfortable treating women, maybe he's had unsubstantiated complaints made against him in the past and wants to avoid the hassle, maybe he operates out of a gay sauna and you didn't realise, maybe every woman he touches reminds him of his beloved dead wife... You don't know anything about this man other than that he runs a single-gender practice.

Don't assume the man's a sexual abuser just because he won't treat women... that's really unpleasant.

Yes, it's a pain in the arse, though. I hope you find treatment soon; chronic pain is very debilitating.


Thank you, Gulliver, for (as usual :) ) expressing so eloquently the rest of what I was thinking.

Yeah, for some reason when I read the original post, it sounded like the OP's uncle had access to some information that indicated that this PT was a known sex offender, but rereading it, it sounds more like that assumption was made based on no evidence at all.

Another possibility (among many of course) is that this guy was sexually assaulted by a female patient.

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:02 pm 
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What an interesting thread. My first thought was sexual offender as well, but as Tenacious LD said physical therapy is very hands on so perhaps it's not discrimination, it's just him trying to protect his reputation. And personally, I really don't like to be touched even by doctors (I hate hugs!). So I can see how a person might get a little freaked out when a PT starts rubbing them and grabbing them and all that. Especially if it is someone of the opposite sex. Perhaps he just had one too many of those freak-outs before he said "F it, I'm only practicing on men".

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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:25 pm 
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Calls "cavemen" on that
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It sounds pretty discriminatory to me...but I don't know for sure. I am not an expert in this type of stuff, but not serving someone on account of their gender seems wrong to me.

maybe you can go to a forum that has more experience in this type of thing that can direct you a little better? (no offense to anyone here)

On reddit there is a subreddit called TwoXChromosomes that I like. They deal with a lot of women's issues. This would be a topic of great interest there. I bet you could get some advice if you posted your situation. Not sure if you use reddit...some people hate it. I do like this particular subreddit though.
http://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/

I am really curious about this. But don't have any advice for you other than that.


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 Post subject: Re: Blatant Discrimination
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:08 pm 
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i also appreciate gulliver's input. :-)

the first thing i thought about when i read your first post, browniefiend, was that he might be religious. (particuarly orthadox jew or muslim) but then i also thought that maybe he actually did have a consenting affair with a patient, and this was part of his agreement with his wife. nobody knows what position someone is in, so assuming the worst isn't a good thing.

maybe he personally isn't comfortable being handsy with women. who knows. whatever it is, it's okay. but still write to your insurance company and explain the situation. if they can't help you, then at least the situation is on their radar, and maybe they can help future females in your location.

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