Elisabeth Rosenthal, who has been writing a series on the cost of health care in the U.S., wrote a piece in the Times Sunday Review this weekend looking at how chaotic medical billing can affect our credit.
1 thing 2 do.
Inviting the real-time disapproving remarks of my dentist into my home and into my daily routine sounds like my worst nightmare, and certainly not something I would pay $330 for, but if you are concerned about preventing all of the horrible things are teeth and bodies are going to die from it might be something worth looking into.
In Reuters, Anya Schiffrin talks about what happened when her father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and traded being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a leading cancer treatment hospital, to being treated in Paris, where he was born. Schiffrin recalls spending entire days waiting around while her father got treated at Sloan Kettering, and how different it was after he moved to Paris to receive treatment under the French health care system
The Congressional Budget Office reported today that the Affordable Care Act will shrink the American workforce by 2.5 million by 2024, not as a result of employers shedding jobs but because more people will choose not to work or “work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance.”
A survey of physician practices in 15 metropolitan areas across the country, which was taken before the health law expanded coverage, found that the average wait time for a new patient to see a physician in five medical specialties was 18.5 days. The longest waits were in Boston, where patients wait an average of 72 days to see a dermatologist and 66 days to see a family doctor. The shortest were in Dallas, where the average wait time is 10.2 days for all specialties, and just five days to see a family doctor.
“We have too few providers, which is creating a significant access problem,” says Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins in Texas, which conducted the survey. The health care and physician search consulting firm spoke with 1,399 medical offices between June and November 2013 in five different areas of specialization: cardiology, dermatology, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedic surgery and family practice. Researchers called the practices and asked for the first available appointments for new patients needing routine care, such as a heart check-up or a well-woman visit.
How long did it take you to set up an appointment to see a new physician? When I first moved to New York, an office told me it’d take seven weeks to fit me in. I ended up going to a college clinic that said they’d be able to see me in a few hours. Or maybe I could have flown to Texas.
A few hours before my dentist appointment yesterday, the office left me a voicemail warning me that the insurance I used last time I visited (err, 18 months ago) was no longer active. Of course I knew this, and was somewhat devastated by the reminder, but I also appreciated them calling to let me know. Did I call them back to ask how much the cleaning would cost without insurance? No, because I did not want to hear it.
Seeing this comment this morning in my post about our culture of being overworked reminded me of this piece I read last night in the New York Review of Books by Arnold Relman, a physician with six decades of experience who fell and broke his neck and saw a new perspective on what it’s like to be critically ill and cared for under the U.S. medical system.