Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Healthcare Odyssey

I’ve enjoyed good health in my semi-advanced age.  However, I recognize that due to genetics and a predisposition to frequent bouts of irritability (not the bowel kind); I’m a prime candidate for high blood pressure.  Besides, my dentist and optometrist were somewhat concerned when they measured it.  Needless to say, I can take a hint.  I decided it was time to find a general practitioner.

Now you’d think this would be as simple as making a phone call.  Wrong.  One doctor’s office informed me they weren’t accepting patients, but told me to call back tomorrow morning.  I asked her, if they weren’t accepting new patients today, why would it change tomorrow?  She didn’t have an answer.

After cornering a receptive office, my next question was to find out how much a visit would cost.  Of course, no one could give me an answer.  I was finally able to finagle an approximate amount.  Now mind you, I never had a problem with a dentist or an optometrist.  They were somewhat upfront with their prices.  I’m beginning to learn that it isn’t so in this particular field.

The visit with my teenage doctor was what I expected.  Had I access to a prescription pad, I would have written it myself, and saved a couple of hundred bucks, but I digress.  Of course, he wants to run a bunch of test.  My question was ‘How much do they cost?’  He of course couldn’t answer.  To which I replied, ‘No one is doing a damn thing until I know what the cost are.’  He agreed.

I will spare you the fiasco that was my follow up visit.  I’m not accustomed to healthcare protocols and apparently these professionals aren’t accustomed to cash paying customers.  But what I will say is this must be the only business/industry where no one knows what a damn thing cost.

Can you imagine shopping at a Wal-Mart and finding out there are no prices on any product, and when you ask a sales clerk what the cost are, they inform you to go ahead and buy it.  We’ll send you a bill in the mail, and if you don’t pay within 30 days, we’ll sic a collection agency on you.

I ask, how long do think Wal-Mart would be in business with that particular model?

You ask did I get the cost of these test.  The answer is no.  But after speaking to an administrator, they agreed to provide the codes and a phone number to the lab that does their test.  So off I go on my healthcare quest.  Thank God, I have my blood pressure medicine.

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