Friday, July 10, 2009

Something's Wrong With our Healthcare System

This is a rant. I'm not going to get all political on you, but I really must say a few words about the state of the healthcare system and the outrageous prices they charge.

Last week I made an appointment to have a complete eye exam. They told me it would cost $256 and I'd have to wait 3 weeks. Ouch! I will also need new frames (I stepped on mine) and lenses. A look at their cheaper frames showed a range of $169-$399. The lower priced ones were butt-ugly, so I'd probably end up with something in the $250-$300 range. (I'd like to know how anyone can justify charging $400 and more for an ounce or two of colored plastic! This makes me very mad.)

And then there are the lenses. I have reflection-free, "no-lines" trifocals. Add another $200-$300. So, $256 for the exam, $250 for frames, and $250 for lenses. Total: $765! (and that's conservative)

Today I went to Costco and found out I can get a complete eye exam there for--get this--$65. Frames will cost me $75. The only price I don't know is the cost of lenses, but knowing Costco, it will be half what I'd pay elsewhere. So I made an appointment at Costco and will cancel the other one. Instead of paying $756 out of pocket, I'll be paying $265. That's a difference of $491. Oh, and I didn't have to wait 3 weeks like at the other place. I'm going in tomorrow at noon.

I won't even go into all the hassle I've had with the incredibly bureaucratic and ridiculously inefficient medical doctor I'm seeing for various issues. I'm on Basic Health, a state-subsidized medical plan for low income people. The plan itself is a good one, but the doctor they appointed for me sucks. It's at a modern community health clinic and they are the most inefficient thing I've ever seen. My doctor has misdiagnosed every thing I've seen her for but one. She never treats me for anything, instead referring me to a specialist. Referrals are supposed to take 1-2 weeks. In truth, I wait 1-4 months for referrals.

I waited 4 months, in serious pain, for a referral to a podiatrist for my feet. I waited 6 weeks for a referral to an ob/gyn after my doc said I had a prolapsed uterus. (As usual, she was wrong--it was something else entirely.) I waited several weeks for a referral to a surgeon to have a fingernail removed because she said I had a fungus. Turns out she was wrong. No fungus, but arthritis, and the surgeon said I needed meds, not surgery.

I waited 6 weeks for a referral to a specialist because of debilitating thigh pain. And now I've waited 4 weeks for a referral to physical therapy for the same issue. While I wait, I'm in severe pain.

Somebody needs to do a performance audit of the community health clinic I go to. These people are seriously stupid. There's a very good chance I'll be kicked off Basic Health because they are in financial trouble due to the bad economy, and they are looking to dump about 80,000 subscribers--despite the fact we're low income and qualify for BH. If I get kicked off, I'm going to submit a report on the atrocious care I've received the past 3 years. If I don't get kicked off (it'll be a miracle) I'm going to ask if I can change doctors.

In the meantime, our entire medical system needs a serious overhaul.

End of rant. My thigh is killing me. I'm going to bed.

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