Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Healthcare in the USA

Today is a reminder why we are moving to Cuenca!
We had a travel consult (as in pay me 500 plus dollars to tell me what I found off the CDC website!). Only the doctor had to read it out loud very fast (so I couldn't understand what I already knew), and then he told me what I needed without telling me what it would cost!
When we went to pay our bill (after Mark passed out and I grabbed his wallet before he hit the floor), I asked politely, "Can we pay half now and the other half later?"

That was a stupid question; I knew I wasn't getting out of that office unless I turned over the money.

The next question actually shocked me. "Well, did you get the shots?"

I turned to my hubby and said, "It's time to surrender your wallet! This isn't a restaurant and you can't do dishes to pay for your bill!"

It seems that insurance companies do not pay for travel consults and therefore all payment must be rendered at the time of service. That message is always posted on the back of the exam room doors (just like hotel rates!).

If I knew that yellow fever, Hep-A, typhoid, and whatever else they stuck me with would not only give me two arms full of "hurties" and an empty wallet, I would have taken my chances on getting the diseases that they said would surely cause me to die!

Oh, but I got this cool little card (it's yellow) and says that I've been vaccinated against...you guessed it "yellow fever."

This comes on the day we also got the bill from Mark's back surgery ($20,000 and that was just for the bed!). I worked in the healthcare field for 20 years and I've seen what we have compared to other countries (we also lived in Sicily), and I have to say we pay mostly for people to push papers, enter ICD9-CM codes into the computer, so the insurance company can reject our claim and send it to another department where more people shuffle papers. How do I know this? I was a paper shuffler (yes, a career in healthcare management).

Now, when people ask me, "What...you're leaving the country?" I smile politely and say, "And you aren't? What's wrong with you?"

Healthcare...I miss it!

Sicily was wonderful and I'm sure Cuenca is much like what I remember 20 years ago (caring physicians who know your name, who don't shuffle papers, and who say, "Gracias!").

De nada!

And that's all I'm going to say about healthcare in the USA.

Until next time...hasta luego!

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