Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The problem with medical care

The biggest problem is the overall lack of care in the medical world. I say this with one caveat: there are plenty of medical professionals who truly care about their work (a certain friend from back home comes to mind) and go way beyond the extra mile to do their jobs. They come in early, stay late, work tons of extra hours but I think they do so because they feel the need to compensate for those around them who don't pull their own weight. Those problems exist in every profession but are more obvious in a business which people's very lives depend on.

Those who do the bulk of the work are stretched thin - and it shows. They sometimes work at multiple locations and have to travel frequently. It's all about providing shareholders with the best return and giving CEOs ever-increasing bonuses. It's the American way. The work of the best supports the lack of work from the rest. Sure, sometimes the hard work is recognized but rarely is the lack of work called out.

This all stems from a visit to the doctor's office I had Saturday morning. First off, it's nearly impossible to find a doctor on a Saturday morning but when you're sick you can't really schedule it. The only available place within a reasonable driving distance that could accomodate my crappy schedule for the rest of the day along with my list of duties was a minute clinic-type office inside a retail store.

I arrived promptly at the exact minute which the office opened. I filled out the paperwork and in two minutes I had been checked with the standard stuff (blood pressure, temperature, etc.) by the office's nurse. Then I waited. I played a few hands of poker on my phone. I blew my nose a half-dozen times. I called my old lady. I even dozed off. Forty minutes in to my wait, after the nurse had called the doctor, I was informed that the doctor was running late. She cordially apologized and explained that he'd be in the office in about ten minutes.

About ten minutes passed and the doctor arrived. He quickly asked a few questions. He moved his stethoscope around while having me cough and in less than two minutes had written things off as simply a cold and out the door I went with a prescription for cough syrup and nasal spray.

Let me repeat that. I waited fifty minutes for two minutes of this doctor's time. I was able to ask just one question before he nearly pushed me out the door. But what choice do I have on a Saturday morning? I could have visited an emergency room like so many recommend but what would the outcome have been? My shoddy insurance isn't going to pay a dime for what I did because of my insanely high (normal) deductible. So here I am, ten days after I first noticed symptoms and I still can't sleep through the night, I sometimes cough just short of the point of vomiting and I've blown my nose so many times that it's dry and nearly bloody. I don't feel like I'm getting any better but it's just a cold according to Dr. Two Minutes. Yeah, our medical system works just fine.

MinnPics has returned. After a long weekend it's back with some fresh Minnesota photos that you need to check out.


justacoolcat said...

" I waited fifty minutes for two minutes of this doctor's time"

I hate to say it, but that's a pretty good ratio. It's sad the things we have to accept.

"I called my old lady"
You'd better hope she doesn't read this or you'll be back at the Dr's office. (g)

People in the Sun said...

I don't remember the name of the site, but there are a few doctor-rating sites out there, so maybe you should let people know what you think about your doctor. I checked these sites before deciding on my doctor.

Mrs Marcos said...

Have you tried Urgent Care? We go to the Apple Valley HP clinic for Urgent Care and see doctors in the evenings or weekends - no appointment necessary (and for our insurance no co-pay). You might want to double check your coverage and see if Urgent Care would be a better way to go.

Jacki said...

I've used a service called TelaDoc a few times and love it. They charge $35 and require a complete medical history (phone or internet) and then a doctor calls you back while you wait at home. Naturally it's not for emergencies but I've used it for bladder infections and colds; things where I basically know what's wrong and don't want to go to my doctor.

You are correct however, the medical system is out of whack...

Jacki said...

Now I know to stay away from those minute-clinics!

I just read an article last night where some hospital-owned physician offices are charging patients a "facility fee" that is normally not covered by insurance because it has nothing to do with the actual treatment. It's just a fee for walking in the place. They had examples of patients who were charged thousands of dollars in a facility fee for treatments that only cost a couple hundred dollars. Like one woman who was charged $4,000 for a $2,000 dollar surgery. So her total bill was $6,000. That's outrageous!