Let’s talk about healthcare for a minute. Back in September I went to the emergency room for pain and inflammation in my tonsils (because I did not and currently do not have a primary care doctor). I was seen rather quickly by two people, an on-call doctor and a physician’s assistant, who asked a few basic questions in order to assess what was wrong. They did a test for strep throat and had me wait for an hour and a half to find out the results, which I knew would be negative because I had had strep throat before and knew how my body reacts to it. It came back the way I had expected and the doctor seemed like she was at a loss. Her solution was then to give me medicine for strep throat just in case the test was not one hundred percent accurate. They chocked it all up to a probable case of tonsillitis and sent me on my way, prescription in hand and not feeling any better.
I took the antibiotics for the full ten days and nothing came of it; I still felt the same and even a little bit worse as time went on. I decided this time to wait a couple more weeks before trying my luck with the medical walk-in near the hospital. I guess I was hoping they would be more competent. Looking back, my hope was misplaced. I went to the walk-in and saw another doctor whose only solution to my problem after five minutes of talking to me was to put me on yet another antibiotic at a stronger dose. She pulled out her pad, wrote me a prescription, and sent me on my way. I then waited for the antibiotics to run their course and found myself in the same spot I had been in previously with not an ounce of progress under my belt. I then took the next step and had blood work done at the behest of the walk-in doctor, who said she would contact me with the results within a certain amount of time, which she did not.
Here I am considerably later, not feeling any better and without any results in the last six weeks. To add to all of this I received a bill today from Berkshire Health Systems telling me that I owe them $750.00 for my recent walk-in visit. I was at the walk-in for no more than twenty-five minutes and only saw the doctor for five of those minutes. In that time she asked me the bare minimum and never touched upon questions that my first-year med school friend asked me regarding my health; things that could be indicative of the problem. My insurance through CIGNA that I pay an incredible amount of money for each month won’t cover it and Berkshire Health Systems is holding me to it.
I received subpar care, an utter lack of results, and additionally already had to pay for the antibiotics that I should not have even been taking. Now I am expected to pay an inordinate amount of money for a visit that was a complete waste of my time.
Some of you may be saying that this could be avoided with a primary care doctor. My question then is how one goes about getting a primary care doctor when the doctors who take particular insurances are not accepting new patients and when inquiries are made, a person is bounced around with no answers.
I’m stuck with no primary care doctor, symptoms that could be indicative of a serious condition if left untreated for an extended length of time, and a bill that I cannot and will not pay for the services that were rendered.
Up until this point I hadn’t realized how damaged our health care system is on even the most basic level. We have incompetent people who are simply pumping their patients full of drugs that they don’t need, sending them on their way, and billing them incredible amounts of money for subpar service and treatment. In the last six weeks I haven’t gotten any better and have yet to receive treatment equal to what I am expected to pay. Furthermore, what’s the point of paying for insurance that won’t even cover the most basic things? If I’m being forced to have insurance in my state (WHICH I AM!), then I expect it to do what it is intended to do. Instead, the company is sucking up my money and refusing to give anything back when I’m actually sick and in need of medical attention.
Am I the only one who sees a problem with all of this? I’d really like to know. Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry