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I wanted to take a moment and share my experience recently with my healthcare. I want to say in advance that this is only my experience and in no way am I saying anything bad about healthcare providers in general or that everyone is the same, ok. This is simply an experience I have with the healthcare system. Please, I am not trying to offend anyone – all right.
Ok, so when I was a kid, I remember going to the same doctor all through my childhood, he knew me from the day I was born until pretty much my late teens. I would go in, he would say hi, ask me how my mom was doing or how I was doing when my mom was with me, he would ask how things were going, and so on. It was a good 30 minutes or more, and even though I would go in for say flu symptoms, he would still ask if there was anything else I wanted to talk about, it was nice. Nowadays, you have an appointment, where you end up waiting 15-30 minutes just to be taken to a room and then wait another 30-60 minutes for the doctor to see you. Now, there are times that instead of the doctor a nurse or possible new doctor comes in and does the initial evaluation; then he leaves, and another 30 minutes go by until your doctor comes in. When the doctor, you are supposed to see, finally comes in though, he is in and out within 15 minutes, if I am lucky. I think the last few times it was a good 5 minutes. Of course, then you have to wait say another 30 or more minutes to get your paperwork and any prescriptions – you end up two hours later at your scheduled appointment. Things have changed a lot when it comes to seeing a doctor, and the cost has really gotten out of hand. Now, I have really good insurance, and I know this because the nurses and doctors always tell me or my wife that we have great insurance, but I still have to pay 15% of costs until I reach my deductible, which I never do. So, a doctor’s office visit, that lasts 5 minutes with a doctor cost me nearly $300. Here is my pet peeve.
My son a few months ago, maybe longer, had some kind of eye infection. So of course, before he could go to a specialist, he had to see his regular doctor. Visit one: Now, the first time the doctor told him he had something, I cannot remember the medical term, but he prescribed him some medication and sent him on his way ($287 + $150 medication) this was about a 15-minute visit. Well, it did clear up, but after his medication was gone, whatever he had come back. Visit two: So of course, we had to see his doctor again and this time he did refer him to an eye specialist and sent him on his way. I remember this visit, we waited just over an hour to see him and when he walked in and saw my son, he immediately referred him to a specialist, this visit lasted about 2 minutes, I am not joking ($287). We had to wait a month at least to see the specialist, and once again we waited about 1 hour and 20 minutes – I remember the times. Visit three: Now the doctor did check him out and ran some tests; I would say he spent with my son at least 30 minutes. He told him what he thought he had, and prescribed a few medications, I believe it was three medications, and sent him on his way. ($467 + $330 for the medication) – remember this is the portion I need to pay. The doctors chahrge a lot more to the insurance companies.
This time the medication did not really work and we had to schedule another appointment because it wasn’t clearing up. It took at least three weeks because this time it was a combination of my son’s college mid-terms and the doctor’s availability. Visit four: we waited over two hours, and when the doctor finally came in, he took a look at him and said that since the medication did not work, it has to be something else, so he prescribed a stronger medication, I believe it was steroids, plus two other things, one was an oral pill, and the other was a cream for the evening. This time the doctor spent about 10 minutes and sent him on his way ($467 + $685 for medication). Well, the steroid did its job, and he was looking better, but he could not take it for a long period of time, because I believe it had to do something with the eye pressure and the possibility of going blind, so he took that medication as recommended. The thing is that after about maybe two weeks, whatever he had come back.
My wife got upset and told me that US doctors charge too much, and they are doing nothing, so she decided to take him to a specialist in Mexico. This took about a month to schedule the appointment. Visit five: the doctor spent about an hour with him, they ran some tests and prescribed him an antibiotic, plus some eye drops. The doctor did ask that he wanted to see him in 2 to 3 weeks, to determine if the medication worked, and then sent him on his way ($50 + $100 for the medication). It seemed to work this time, he followed through the regiment and was clear for about two weeks. The thing is my wife decided to cancel the follow-up appointment, why I don’t know, but she did. A few days after she canceled the appointment my son texted us to let us know whatever he had come back and it was worse. So, right now it looks like my wife scheduled an appointment with the specialist in Mexico again, so I will keep you posted on his sixth visit. Here is my thought about the healthcare system in the US and why it is driving people to go outside the US for treatments.
I feel like we are no longer patients, but simply a number to these doctors. I feel that they really don’t care, and just charge an arm and leg for a 5-minute visit. I’m no doctor, but I don’t think that 5 minutes is not enough time to evaluate someone, and then simply just prescribing medication until you hit the right combination is the way to do it – that seems to be a road for disaster. Right now, my biggest concern is my son and his eye, because I don’t want him to lose his sight. So, I am hoping that we can find the right help on time – I will keep you posted on the outcome.
As always, I appreciate you stopping by to read my blog, and I leave you with this thought, “Don’t be afraid to speak up with your doctor, ask the necessary questions, and if they don’t listen, look elsewhere. Your health and your family’s health are more important. We shouldn’t be treated as a number.”