Friday, August 06, 2010

My healthcare story and needless tests

I also was at the hospital for about 2 hours, against my better judgment.

I pulled something in my hamstring, and a week later, the pain persisted, so I went to see my Doctor.

He thought it was a bad sprain, and he said it wasn't a tear because he would be able to feel that.

That news that it wasn't a tear assuaged my fears.

Yet he went on to say that 'STAT', I must go to the hospital to get a Doppler ultrasound to make sure it wasn't a blood clot.

Mind you that scared me a bit, even though my logical mind told me that it couldn't be that because I was playing Ultimate Frisbee when I injured the muscle.

Ok, now here's the hitch. The pain, as I told him so, is on the outside of the leg.

So I go, because I'm trying to be safe, and I'm not a doctor, I don't even play one on TV.

I have a deductible of $1250 so I knew that whatever the bill is, I'll be paying it in full.

I asked during the 90 minutes that I was waiting, and they finally told me it would cost about $400.

I took the test anyway.

The technician who administered the test prepped the INSIDE of my leg:
My immediate question: "Why not the outside of the leg where the pain is?"
Response: "The veins don't run on the outside, they run on the inside."

Duh, so then why did the doctor order this test? If I had known that I wouldn't have gone to the hospital for the test.

I submit that my case is one of the reasons health care is very expensive: doctors, because they don't want to be sued, order needless tests.

I don't say that all tests are needless, but there are sufficient numbers that in the aggregate it does indeed drive up the costs significantly.

So the techie tells me within two minutes that I don't have a blood clot (90 minutes of waiting, 2 minutes to run a device up the inside of me leg, 1 minutes to conclude I don't have a clot: $200 just for that part of the procedure, another $200 / estimated for the doctor to look at it and say the same thing).

My next question: "IF you know that, then why does this have to be sent to a radiologist for their 2 cents worth, thus doubling the cost (at least) of the procedure?"

She couldn't answer that.

So here I stand in front of my terminal (yes stand, it still hurts to sit) typing you this story of abuse of a system, extrapolated and promulgated by trial lawyers and a scared public who want their free health care. And here I am, one of the few people that work for a living that actually have to pay for their own health care, even though my company painfully extracts $700 a month from my pay for health insurance (on top of what they pay for the insurance). That's the cheap plan, the expensive one without the deductible is probably 200 or 300 more a month.

Like the wicked witch of the west once said as she melted: "Oh what a world, what a world, what a world..."


Post a Comment

<< Home