Monday, January 24, 2011

Universal Healthcare

As a military spouse, I am afforded government-funded healthcare. Thus, when I awoke this [early] morning with a terribly sore throat and headache, I was able to call the base hospital and schedule an appointment with the Internal Medicine Clinic. My Primary Care Manager is actually the Family Practice Clinic, but as they had no availability today I was sent to Internal.

When I called at 0715, the nurse scheduled me at 0845. We arrived at 0830 [as per the standard 'please arrive 15 minute early' request], baby in hand [though he should have been home napping, but I didn't feel up to driving and Husby wanted to accompany me], flashed our IDs, stated that we were there for an 0845 slot, and were told that the appointment had been moved to 1045 - the doctor I was supposed to see wasn't even going to be in until 1030. Since we were already there, I asked if there was any way they could get me in early [and why hadn't anyone called me when they moved my appointment?]. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the clerk was looking at the wrong last name [hadn't I just flashed my ID?], and that her book said that I had canceled my appointment. According to her log, I had called back that same minute and canceled the appointment [even if I had called back, it's impossible to get through the automated system to the person who would cancel an appointment in that short amount of time]. Looking further, she found that whoever I was speaking to when I unconsciously called back had rescheduled that appointment for 1445. Fine. We would just go home, feed the baby, take naps, and be back at 1430. No problem. Oh, but problem: that slot didn't really exist. The clerk - who at this point was about as frustrated as I - went about looking for any slot n which to put me that day. 1500 was all she could find, and we took it. She even wrote me a little card: "Dr. Baker @ 1500". Home we went, to return in six hours.

We returned at 1445, only to be told that the appointment was actually at 1515. Argh. We took a seat, and attempted to entertain Little Man while we waited. And waited. For 45 minutes. Finally, at 1530, I was called back to an exam room - but the boys weren't allowed to accompany me. Daddy would have to hold down the Little Man fort alone, but it shouldn't be too long [and really, he's a great dad, so I wasn't worried]. So they waited. And waited. And waited. At 1645, two hours after arriving at the clinic [for the second time that day], I was sent home with a prescription for a Z-Pak and Tylenol. Of the hour plus I spent in the exam room, only about 15 minutes were spent with the doctor, who didn't do anything the nurse hadn't already done. Another 30 minutes were with the rather rude nurse, who administered my strep test [*choke*], shared way too much personal information, and told me I should be using birth control until my son is older since I wouldn't want my children to be too close together [excuse me?!]. The rest of the time, I sat in a chair, head laid back against the wall, wishing I could be home in my bed.

While my care is technically 'free', I certainly paid to be seen today - in time, tears [I wasn't happy when we were sent home the first time], and tolerance. And this was not an isolated insident - many military members and their families have reported similar experiences. But, this is what you get when the governmental bureaucracy is running things. 

It's no wonder I'm against Universal Healthcare.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that is pretty awful. And why is choice of birth control anybody's business when you're just in for a sore throat?