Health Care Myths - The Same Day Appointment
Out here in the Sodom by the Sea, the same day appointment is like winning the lottery. In other words, it doesn't happen to real people. At my GP, nurses and administrators screen everyone who calls to determine whether or not your complaint is life threatening. If not, you get an appointment one to five days in the future which guarantees that either: 1) You'll be over it or 2) You're dead. Either way, they don't have to treat you. And the response if you happen to disagree with their 20 second diagnosis? "Well then go to the emergency room." Which is just another way of saying, "If you don't mind paying for it out of pocket, you can get all the health care you need."
Consequently, I've found that the only way to get timely access to care is to game the system. Go without an appointment and sit in your doctor's lobby until they see you. Coughing a lot, sneezing-- in short making a germ spreading ruckus--seems to speed things along.
How are things where you incubate?
Also, the hospital he is affiliated with has a "urgent care" center right across the street from his office that has weekend and evening hours, and is covered by my insurance as if it were his office.
(Despite the incomprehensible EOB's, my insurance does not suck tepid pond slime COMPLETELY)
If there is something wrong that needs to be looked at (like the former lump on my neck), but not of "emergency" status, I can get in the next day for certain. And if I can't, they'll often just phone in a script for me if I know what the problem is (like when I put my back out.)
I've not had any real problems.
At the OB-GYN, it's a week or two for any complaint, and months for a checkup.
The pediatrician can always work in a same-day appointment. I think they hold some slots for urgent care, too.
Speaking of urgent care, a local hospital has at least 3 Urgent Care Centers in the area. Insurance will usually pay for this, but if you're not insured, I think the fee is about $65 (not counting any extras, such as tests). They're not the best, but I did there on a Sunday when I was really ill, and they prescribed an antiviral medication (which has to be given within a certain timeframe)for me. I had to follow-up with my doctor. I think it was a better alterntive than the ER.
Anyway, I can't really complain except to say that I've been without insurance before, and I had to pay $300 for a checkup required by the state of MO for my youngest to enter Kindergarten. Ouch? My Jedi have insurance now, but I will soon be on a skimpy policy, barely worth the moolah invested, except it should keep me from going bankrupt if disaster strikes.
What I'm hearing is that this may be a regional issue.
Here in the Bay Area most larger practices work with a "health-care administrator", an intermediate level of bureaucracy, that administers health benefits on behalf of many different insurers. The Catch-22 of these evil little organizations is that they impose procedures on the care givers but serve the interests of the insurers.
So for example, the "vetting" of all health care issues is a way to keep insurer costs down by effectively denying care under the guise of keeping doctors "optimally" loaded with patients.
As for urgent care...unless you're with Kaiser Permanente, forget it! Doesn't exist because all non-life-threatening urgent care requires your Primary Care's authorization which you can't get because you can't see him/her.
Basically it sucks to live our here.
RAFFI... Emergency treatment is really tricky. You need to read your plan's fine print with the diligence of an attorney to make sure you don't get fleeced.
Scheduling tests like MRI's, CAT scans, etc., is another story. It can literally take weeks and weeks to get an appointment for an MRI, and the hospital schedules appointments 24 hours a day. My elderly mother once had an MRI performed at 3:30 in the morning!
Kathy... Around here, as I mentioned above, acute care is only available to people with full HMOs like Kaiser. Pretty much doesn't exist for anyone else.
but basically i was dealing wiht all kinds of issues trying to get referrals etc, and my insurance is pretty decent. My new doctor saw me same day as a NEW patient which was impressive. haven't tried getting in since b/c I hvaen't been sick (knocking loudly on wood) but there are tons of times when you can't get in with your primary doctor, even on an emergency though not life threatening basis etc...
sad state these days.
Scott... :-) So then that would be like a "volume discount" huh?
Under other insurance plans (Cigna, Cigna HMO, Aetna) around the country (Wyoming, Michigan, Florida, Colorado) I've also gotten in same day for myself and my children. But for those off-hours visits, urgent care costs $35 and ER $70. We're lucky enough to live in an area with not much ER action. I got in and out in 45 minutes a couple of times.
And the monthly deductible for medical, dental, vision, life, ADD, and long-term disability is around $160/month. Is that good?
Mary... I feel for you. Was the doctor able to do anything about his/her braindead staff?
Julie... That's exactly my experience with Kaiser. Though their a little bit on the rushed side. 15 minutes with the doc, no more.
Fashiongirl... I wouldn't uproot that quickly. Note what Hedy said about the surgeons.
Getting a specialist might take a few days or even a week.
Mostly since I live in the Capital, it is a little harder.
The upside? I pay $70 per month for full medical with no deductible whatsoever.
Obviously, I don't live in America.