Friday, October 19, 2007

Current Mood: irritated

The state of our health industry in this country is in bad shape.
I have had health insurance since my early 20's, since I have always worked union jobs.
As of January 1 of this year, however, my employer changed our plan for part-time workers (I work part-time), and for the first time ever I have had to choose a primary care physician.
If I want to see another doctor, I must be granted permission first from the primary.
I also must choose doctors off a list, versus before I could see any doctor I wanted, whenever I wanted.
For that privilege, I actually paid more money--and that was fine with me.
I like the freedom of choice.

Anyway, the family practice doctor I had been seeing for several years was actually on my list, but I really wanted to find someone else.
He was super attentive and sweet to me, but his staff was questionable, and he seemed to get snippy with them at times.
I didn't like that mood swing thing.
Too, he didn't accept any holistic type alternatives, and I really want a doctor who will look at both Western and Eastern medical options.

Anyway, way back in February, I fell at one of my client's homes, and hurt an ankle very badly.
Well, perfect time to choose a primary care physician, right?
Evidently not.
No doctor could squeeze me in for multiple weeks or even months.
Um, how does that help me?

I tried Urgent Care, and they were unable to verify my insurance card.
By the time they realized, oops, my bad...I was already home.
Forget it.
So I never treated the ankle and it still bothers me.
But I digress.

I chose a female doctor off the list and made an appointment just to establish a relationship.
It took me three months to get an appointment.
I couldn't find the place, was half an hour late, and they made me reschedule.
Alrighty then.

Today I finally got in to see her, and I was really disappointed.
Everything in the office is online--you set your appointments online, you get your results online, and she input data about me directly into a laptop as I was speaking to her.
The doctor-patient relationship seems lost in the jumble.
She seemed nice enough, but reserved and rushed.

Not qualities I'm looking for in a doctor.

I was also one of the only people in the office (patients and staff included) who was even speaking English.
Um, we speak English in this country. Learn it.
Sorry to sound gruff, but I'm sick of it.

I actually liked some of the options she gave me that were more holistic in nature, but I don't want to be rushed.
I want a doctor to at least appear to be genuinely concerned about my health.
I did not get that impression today.

It's all just so frustrating.

On the drive home, I called to make an annual appointment with my OB/GYN (insurance does allow me to see this specialist without a referral).
This doctor is amazing on several levels, but she's impossible to see.
It's mid-October and already the rest of her calendar year is booked.
They'll be taking January appointments soon, I was told.
A lot of good that does me now.
Remember, I have a yearly deductible.



Blogger Heidi said...

Yes, and people are afraid of any universal health care because they think there will be waiting. There is already waiting! I'm afraid to see "Sicko," as I think it will terrify me.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the way the government handles everything else, um, excuse me, I don't want them handling my health care. As for the Hispanic problem in California/the Southwest, that's also the fault of our government for not handling the situation. Hello, get a job, learn the language, and realize you're in another country. Still, you can't blame them for wanting something better. It's just sad for America. Wake up, people! We need to make our opinions known. THIS IS AMERICA.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Miss Eagle said...

Time to emigrate, Woof Nanny. There are other ways and other stories. We have universal medical insurance here in Australia in the form of medicare payed as a surcharge when you put in your annual income tax. An individual can then take out, on top of that (but doesn't have to), private medical insurance.

I am not saying our system is problem free - and it is a continual battle to try to avoid having certain powers-that-be impose an American system on us.

We have had a very conservative govt in power for 11 years who would like to do away with Medicare (and the AMA, the doctors organisation, would vote over-whelmingly for its abolition) but they know that the Australian public supports it over-whelmingly. Now if such a system operated poorly this would not be so. You can see the doctor of your choice. I carry private medical insurance. My daughter does not. She was very ill a couple of weeks ago with a UTI. I advised her to go to our nearby public hospital, The Angliss, because I knew that if she went to see her own doctor she would then have to go here and there for tests for which there would be some charge (Medicare would pick up most of it but there would be a co-payment). She was to ill to put up with that. She went to The Angliss and took a book in case she had to wait. She waited 15 minutes. Had ultra sounds and other required tests and a lovely doctor and then was put on an intravenous drip of anti-biotics. When the drip eventually went through after some hours, during which she had been administered pain killers, she then came home with a prescription. She was well very quickly because of the immediate and effective care at The Angliss. Cost: Nil.

The state I grew up in, Queensland, from 1948 had free health care (the only state in Australia to have such a system) funded by a lottery. When the medicare system was established we had to go into it too. Victoria, where I now live, has always relied heavily on a private rather than a public health system (although there always were large public hospitals) and as a consequence of this historic private delivery of health services, Victoria has the most expensive health insurance rates in Australia for private health insurance.

I haven't been to see "Sicko" because it clearly relates to the US experience and I would only become very impatient with you all over there.

Back when Bill Clinton was in power, Hillary came to Australia to study our system but she was never able to get any changes into your system.

I often wonder how much of all this is because you do not have - as Australia has - a system of compulsory voting. This means that your President is always elected by a minority of Americans because so many Americans do not turn out to vote. So if an individual is politically disempowered - or the individual disempowers himself or herself through absence at the ballot box - then how can real change ever be effected for ordinary people? Elements of our conservative govt would like to do away with compulsory voting too - but they haven't managed that yet either.

There are many countries in the world who have sound, fair and just health systems which serve their populations well. Unfortunately, your country is not one of them. About time the "we, the people" did something about it, don't you think?

4:57 AM  
Blogger The Calico Cat said...

Good luck... I hate HMO's too. Especailly KP. We say "K@is3r will kill you."

3:35 AM  

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