Friday, April 25, 2008

The Medical Establishment

Ah, what is easier to rail against in this country than the medical establishment? At this moment, for me, not much.

Since the beginning of the year I have had ample opportunities to visit various medical providers, both for myself and my children, which has also given me ample opportunities to become frustrated with all things medical.

First - The ER. This particular incident wasn't too frustrating. I did find that the way to be seen in the ER pronto is to have something affecting your heart. The frustration in this incident is that I was not in my home city, and therefore getting my test results to my doctors has been a real pain. They should be there now, as the hospital sent them on April 3, but I can't find anyone at my doctor's office that can confirm that.

Second - Flu shots that don't work. Need I say more?

Third - The well-child visit. I got an EOB from the insurance saying that they don't cover the $72 dollars that was billed as a 'vision screening.' Okay - first of all, what we got was Maggie standing at one end of the hall with her hand covering her eye while she read an eye-chart taped to the wall at the other end. Hardly worth $72! They didn't even give her a little spoon thing to cover her eye! How much can the overhead for such a test be? Also, all I asked for was a 'well-child' exam. If an 'vision screening' (which has always been included in previous well-child exams) was a separate line item, shouldn't I have been told before I was charged for it? I could have told them they were having the same exact vision screening at school the next week! I would have declined this test, as I have vision insurance that would cover a REAL eye exam.

Third - my insurance. We knew when we took this new job that we would be paying more money for less coverage, but it's still a shock to see how much health care costs. My cardiologist and I were discussing this and I said, "I don't know how people without insurance do this." His succinct reply - "They don't." Even though it is comparatively less, I am grateful that we have this insurance.

Fourth - Today really takes the cake. I think I mentioned that I had a gall-bladder function test on Monday. I just got a phone call from the referral office of my doctor to schedule me for a visit for a surgeon.

"Um, okay. Can you tell me why?" I ask.

"What do you mean?" the girl says.

"Well, I had a test on Monday on my gallbladder, but no one has called me with the results yet." I answer.

"Oh. . . I guess they didn't think I'd get your referral done so fast. Sorry about that. It's just a consult, there's no procedures scheduled. Would you like the number for your doctor's office so you can call them?"

Let me think about that. Yes, yes, I think I would.

I hang up the phone and holler in frustration.

I call the doctor's office. They are seeing patients right now, so I leave a message.

And so I wait. . .

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