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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Went to the Doctor and the Doctor Said…

Health care is a problem if you aren’t independently wealthy or don’t have access to employer subsidized insurance coverage.

Substitute teachers aren’t included in the school system I work for so we pay for our own coverage. We had to switch from a PPO system five years ago to a HMO system named after a famous cement mogul.

I don’t visit the doctor very often so I’m still trying to get into the groove with Kaiser’s online process. With our old PPO system, I’d call for an appointment and usually see the doctor in a day or two. The new HMO system has an online appointment feature that’s faster and pretty easy to use. I like it.

I’ve been bothered by a blocked ear that’s been driving me nuts for a couple weeks. Since I didn’t have any subbing assignments until Friday, I logged on and requested the first available doctor appointment for any day/time hoping for one today or tomorrow.

I was pleasantly surprised to find several appointments available for Wednesday morning and selected one that allowed me two hours to get ready and be there with time to spare. It was mid-morning and the waiting room had only two other people waiting. GREAT!

It wasn’t until I tried to check in at the clinic that the “first available appointment” the system had offered me was not for today but the middle of next MONTH!

“But, all I need is to get my ear cleaned out. Is there any way you can squeeze me in today?”

She said she could probably work me in but sent me off with a medical technician to record the usual vitals like blood pressure, weight, oxygen levels, and answer questions about allergies and other physical complaints.

After answering all the usual symptom questions that had nothing to do with clogged ears, the guy asks:

MedTech: Age?
Me: uh, 60 (…thinking the system should already be showing him that information. Why is he asking me the obvious?)

MedTech: Who’s the President of the United States?
Me: What? (…completely caught off guard)

MedTech: Do you know who the President of the United States is?
Me: Well, unfortunately it’s Barack Obama.

MedTech: You know what year this is?
Me: (…WTF??? and wondering what this has to do with stuffy ears) “2009”

I suppose that failing to correctly make an online doctors appointment might qualify me as a future Alzheimer's candidate but…come on!

Sure, I don’t remember the names of all 32 kids in class after taking attendance but I WILL know the names of the jerk-offs by the end of class.

It’s not like forgetting to pay your taxes on April/15 before accepting a government job in finance or claiming that you don’t remember being in CIA briefing meetings where they told you secret stuff!

Don’t I get some points for actually operating the computer to make an appointment (even it WAS for the wrong month) and successfully driving a car to the correct address to be there on time?

I suspect that it’s more the fact that I’m officially “old” at 60 that prompted the memory tests, but it’s still shocking to encounter them for the first time.

At least I can still put on my own adult diapers!


Anonymous said...

I could NEVER go with an HMO. Ever.

By the way, Kaiser got a bad image in Moore's Sicko documentary. Even if I were to ever go with an HMO at some point, it surely wouldn't be with them.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I agree with you; what's with the Alzheimer test questions? If we could afford to look half our age, we would. Why the ageist B.S.? I would complain to management. Seriously. What an insult.