Thursday, June 7, 2007

So there ARE nice doctors left in the world...

...they just don't exist in The System.

I went to a clinic today for something that some of you might know about, but that I'm not going to write about on THIS particular blog (it's not really a big deal, but it's something that my stalker would LOVE to know about, so I'm leaving it alone here, since this is the popular blog).

The doctor is someone I know outside of the office, and he's a genuinely nice guy. Libertarian, too, which is likely why he charges per office visit without insurance. They don't accept insurance, they don't charge based on any sort of pre-qualifying factors. They charge a flat rate for everyone, and given what they're doing, that rate is more than fair. I got what I needed and then some for $70 (this includes 2 prescriptions) which is less than a simple "how you doin'?" office visit at my GP would cost. I call that a bargain.

I briefly said hi to him, then went in the room with a nurse practitioner. She asked all the standard questions, and since I'm used to giving short answers (I've been trained that being friendly is a waste of time in most offices), I did that. She wasn't having any of it. She asked MORE questions. Got me to open up and talk. And she LISTENED and responded. It was awesome.

The whole visit took about 15 minutes, and I left not lacking for any information or sense of what I was to do.

This hasn't happened to me in YEARS. And for it to happen at the type of clinic I went to rather than a Family Practice that I'd gone to for 12 years? That's pretty fucking sad. But I'm happy, all the same. Because I needed that. I needed for my faith to be restored, just a little.

Sometimes faith just slips away when you go into the office one day because you can't sleep, and they shove Seroquel down your throat, then follow that up the next year with Lamictal and Risperdal. Because they won't listen when you tick off the other symptoms on your fingers. The ones that clearly point you away from bi-polar and into ADD territory. Because they're too worried about the patient in the next room...the next paycheck...and they're concerned with going through as many of you as possible during the day.

I know what doctors do is called "practicing" for a reason. But you can practice with a positive attitude. Treating patients like cattle is something you learn in marketing, not med school.

1 comment:

Gregg said...

One of the problems is that the insurance comapnies are paying a cost minus basis. (e.g. A mental health professional I know charges $100-150/hour for therapy. The insurance companies pay $30/hour.)

One of the problems is that if a medical practitioner charges ANYONE less than the listed rate the insurance company then decides to use the lower rate as the base rate.

As a result, MDs, etc... need volume to make money. This results in overbooking and the subsequent long wait times, as well as the cattle experience.

The insurance companies have been using the preponderance of patients being enrolled in health insurance as a stick to force medical professionals into line.

However, some are starting to push back, thankfully. Honestly, I think the days of the current style medical insurance are numbered. Hopefully they will be allowed to expire naturally, since a government run health care system tends to be worse.