#family · health

A Day At The Doctor

Let me start by saying the medical care in this country is second to none. Some of the surgery done today is nothing short of amazing. We have many medical facilities that are so good people come from all of the world to be treated in the good ol US of A as Borat would say. However, the management and specifically the insurance provided for medical care is nothing short of a cluster fuck. I’m about to share something that might seem like the rantings of a nut job, but I assure you it is sadly true.

I have had blood drawn three times this past few weeks, most recently today, for the third time because the medical facility did the wrong test twice. Ok, it happens, I guess, not often, but I’m giving them a mulligan here. I showed up at the facility 90 minutes early, not because I’m an eager beaver but because my first doctor appointment ended early. That is another story. As I walked to the counter to ask if they could take me earlier, the initial response was, “well, I’m not sure we have other appointments” I did look around the room, and I shit you not; there was not one person present. I looked over the shoulder of the person I was speaking with, it is an open area, and there are no patients. The person that draws the blood was sitting around, and a few docs and nurses are yucking it up. I’m starting to get scratchy; I should not even be here if they did the correct test on the first couple of tries. In any event, they did say ok and took me about ten minutes later. I told the nice lady the test I needed, and she said I’m aware; it is written here. Of course, being somewhat of a smart ass, I’m holding back my sarcasm like Moses holding back the sea.

Now that all my doc visits are done for the day, it is time to call the specialty pharmacy for my medication. This is the point when my day goes to shit. Now I pay quite a bit for medical insurance, so I get a bit scratchy when the pharmacy tells me that the medication is 500.00 a month, but I can call the company that produces this medication and do a copay account for free. Why do I have to do this leg work, and if they do a copay for free, why can’t it just start that way? Anyway, I call like a good soldier, and the conversation begins innocently enough. I will say the woman said I could do this online in a minute, but I made the call; it is a live human, it is medication, and if I have questions, then talking to another human is the way to go. I think human interaction is good. I should have opted to go the online route, as my wife was saying, lesson learned.

The lady asks for the doc name, and I give it, but she can’t find it; pretty easy, go to Google, which I did for her, the phone number and the address, which I provided. She also asked if I had insurance and if the medication was approved. I also tell here I can only assume it is approved since it went from my provider to the specialty pharmacy, which told me to call this number. Again at what I pay for medical insurance, I should not be playing the middle man! Now this woman wants to know how to spell the doctor’s name, of which I had to say ten times, at least, and now I’m full-blown pissed off, and I could no longer be mosses holding back the sea. She kept talking at the same time I’m trying to answer her question to spell the DAMN name to the point I said, “This works much better if you stop talking so I can answer the question” not long after that, I made a comment “this is pointless, and it is 20 minutes of my life I can’t get back” I hung up. I was so furious at this nonsense of insurance coverage that I pay quite a bit, for I just said screw it, I don’t want the meds. Thank god for my wife, who calmed me down when I have to deal with this complete stupidity.

Now it gets good if the story was not already enough. Now that I’m a bit calmer, I decide to go to the drug manufacturers’ site, as the woman mentioned it would take a minute and spare all the questions. There were zero questions on the website. I shit you not one other than my name and location; in 30 seconds, they presented me with a copay card for the pharmacy at no cost. Why are the phone call, the Spanish inquisition, and the website nothing but a silly procedural step of nothing? Well, you are probably thinking, YEA, all is good in the world, and the angels are rejoicing! Nope, now the fun begins.

I take my newly presented copay card and call the specialty pharmacy with the information. I’m right at the goal line to set up delivery when she asks the dreaded question, “Did your doctor provide you with the loading dose” I need that because you have to ease into the total dose. Of course, the answer was NO! At this point, a new and lovely lady gets on and tells me we can’t fill your prescription because you need the loading dose. Well, can’t you give that to me? I’m all approved. Nope, she can’t because it has to come from the doctor or have another prescription because the loading dose is not the same strength. I lower my head and bring out my tiny fists of fury. “Kramer.” However, with a glimmer of hope, this nice lady said, “hold on, I will call the doc now to get this resolved so we can send you the meds” This is how the system should work, isn’t that what I pay for? I should not be on the phone and message jocky. After a few moments, the lady comes on. She tells me, “the office is closed for lunch, and she could only leave a message, and the recording mentions messages are not returned the same day, and the office is closed tomorrow” Jesus Mary and all the wise guys, nothing is going well! I said, ok, thank you for trying. I will try and reach them myself and get this resolved. Here comes the best part, we are now going full circle!

I now call the doctor’s office, leave a message with the doctor’s assistant, and shockingly, they call back pretty quickly. This is the doctor I was at before the blood work and where this nightmare started. I actually handed my insurance card to the doctor, we talked about the medication, and nothing was done. Now when the doctor calls back, she states, that is correct. You need the loading dose and asks me, “Would you like to come to get it?” I am now well beyond any level of coherent thought or patience. No, I would not like to drive a half-hour back to your office. I WAS JUST THERE! Please call the specialty pharmacy and do the order for the loading dose.

You can’t make this shit up. In a country where the most excellent medical facilities and minds put heart valves in a human going up your arm, I know my dad just had it done can’t get the most straightforward thing done sensibly. What is the point of it all? Medical care is not driving the cost. It is red tape, and the system’s stupidity causes that. A few years back, my wife was so frustrated with this system she flew back home to Brazil for care. All I could offer her is that it is just the way it is, why fly to Brazil? I’ll tell you why, she was correct again, like almost always. In Brazil, she had instant contact with her doctor, her doctor’s phone number, immediate information to test and results, and care specific to her, unrushed and without any nonsense. If the greatest, most advanced country in the world can’t at least do that, what the hell is going on?

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