Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Unpaid, Stressed, and Confused: Patients Are the Health Care System's Free Labor

I cite Sarah Kliff often for her articles on the health care system. Her latest is: Unpaid, stressed, and confused: patients are the health care system's free labor "I write a lot about health care for my job here at Vox, and have spent the past seven years covering and explaining the American health care system. But there was something I didn't understand about American health care until this experience. It is the considerable burden our fragmented system puts on patients to coordinate their own care."

Her problems of doctors giving her unfillable written prescriptions and telling her to schedule an MRI are not at all my experience. My doctors usually send the prescription directly to my pharmacy and I get a phone call or text message when it's ready to pick up. In fact my problem is I get too many 9am phone calls from my pharmacy, asking me about an out-of-date prescription and do I want to fill it and I can't seem to make them stop. Also, my doctors are good about scheduling tests for me. But coordinating among specialists is problem; you get handed off to another and never know when to go back to the first and then you get conflicting diagnoses. Then there's all the billing, from the insurance company, the doctor and the facility. The numbers often don't match up and the various billing codes are indecipherable. Some I can pay online, some I can't, even for doctors that are down the hall from each other. And of course, when you don't know what's wrong and they ask if you want a test that may help, you don't find out until two months after you have the test that it's $800 out of your pocket. Ugh.

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