Bedside Manners

The state of health care in the US is one of my biggest concerns about the future. There are so many problems with unrealistic costs for medical care, with uneven coverage, with overly prescribed  medications and tests…I have no idea how this system can ever be fixed.

I don’t know much about socialized medicine and I’m sure there are many problems with that too. I just know things have to change somehow, because it can’t go on the way it currently is.

I stumbled across an interesting website dedicated to medical teaching course in the UK. These are designed to provide physicians and other levels of medical personnel with teaching techniques -actually a teach the teacher course. Additionally, there was a medical management course to provide the business type skills physicians need to manage their practices, and a consultant interview course for training in presenting your best face at an interview.

Whether or not we have these types of courses in the US, it seems important to recognize that the medical profession has become more business oriented than service oriented. More and more often I hear of people being denied medical care because their insurance companies won’t cover the cost. My cousin is a case in a point- a young man in his 30’s who requires an intricate bone transplant, but was forced to wait for 12 months because he had exceeded his benefits. These are 12 months he must remain in pain and out of work because he wasn’t able to have the surgery at an opportune time.

People here express fears about “death panels” that might arise under some of the new health care bills. Believe me, they’re already here. They masquerade as health insurance companies, who really dictate almost everything about your medical care. That is, unless you’re independently wealthy and can afford to pay for prestigious “concierge care” – in essence, a personal physician who is at your beck and call.

Where all this will end really frightens me. I wish that something as simple as medical teaching courses could be a solution.

But I’m afraid it will require something much more drastic than that.



2 thoughts on “Bedside Manners

  1. You’re right. And I don’t know a single person in my circle of older friends – apart from those who favor total denial – who don’t believe that their lives are at risk because of a growing sense that the “cost/benefit” ratio is skewed against them when it comes to medical care. My mother received a stent at age 80, and a pacemaker at 85. She lived until 93, in her own home and able to get along with my help.

    Would an 85 year old receive a pacemaker today? Under Obamacare? In some indeterminate future? I don’t know – but I seriously doubt it.

    Of course, I’m a little jaded myself. I turned 65 last October and became Medicare eligible. Within two months I had a letter from my physician, saying he no longer would accept me as a patient unless I went on an all-cash basis. Even that option will disappear if Obamacare stands.

    So. What to do? As one of my friends says, “Lose weight, watch your step, stop complaining and get ready to die – and above all else, stay out of the medical system!” I believe I’ll try to do just that.

    • Whatever your age, if you don’t have a healthy insurance plan and you run into significant health problems you’re at huge risk of not getting the proper treatment. Medicare obviously included.

      That really bothers me that your doctor would tell you that. In a contrasting story, my mothers internist was telling us she got in huge trouble because she was not charging any copays to some of her Medicare patients who could not afford them. Even when doctors try to help you, their hands get tied. Sometime not right about that either.

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