Thursday, November 12, 2009

Part of What's Wrong with the Healthcare System...

My Mother's dear friend was recently diagnosed with cancer in her jaw bone. This diagnosis was a long time coming after a summer of pain and more tests than you can count. This week she's been anxiously awaiting the scheduling of her surgery to remove a very fast growing tumor. After not receiving a call from her surgeon's office for a week, she called to ask what the status of the surgery was. His nurse replied that she does all his surgery scheduling and she knew nothing about it. She went on to say that the doctor was VERY busy so it would be at least a month now. This poor woman is dreading a horrible surgery for a life threatening illness that will likely leave her disfigured and this nurse is telling her how busy the doctor is in a don't-call-us-we'll-call-you way. This is just poor attitude, not the detriment to our society.

The schedule was finally worked out and the nurse informs my mother's friend that she'll have to come in for multiple tests prior to surgery. Friend says, "but I just had all of those tests done as part of the diagnosis. Why do I have to repeat them?" After much discussion the nurse says "FINE. If YOU want to go to the hospital and collect the test results and DELIVER them to US, you can." Seriously? It's easier for her to reorder thousands of dollars of tests than to request copies of the results from another medical facility? On which planet does that make sense? The reasoning was simply convenience for the nurse, NOT diagnostic relevance. What does she care that Friend will have to take more time out of her schedule, sit in waiting rooms, get poked and prodded, and billed up the wazoo?

I'm shocked. We as patients have to be vigilant and push back. Be educated about what we really need. Ask why more often.


  1. having done medical billing for so long I feel her pain. It drives me bonkers that some medical professionals would rather think of making their job easier then the patient or their bills. my heart always breaks for the patients that really have no idea how their bills got to be so high when they "just did what they were told" hugs to her and all she is going threw!!

  2. The jaw bone? I hope all goes well. Damn cancer.


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