Sunday, May 27, 2012

Access Denied

I hear the term "lack of access to medical" tossed around by government officials and other who are trying to define health care policy. This seems hard for me to comprehend seeing what I do in the Emergency Departments. In the Emergency department we do see alot of things that have become serious but much of it is because the patient did not seek attention sooner. The reason they did not seek attention sooner is listed in surveys that the government likes to cite as "no access". In fact, there is access, it is just that people do not want to take the time to go to a physician much less pay for it. There is "access", it is everywhere. To get to the ED patients have to drive past numerous walk in clinics which are at Walgreen's, Caremarks, CVS as well as medical offices. The problem is that they will pay for the cell phones, chromed out rims, expensive tennis shoes and premium pay channels on their cable but they wont pay to go see a medical provider. The truly destitute patients have Medicaid which even covers their expenses and these clinics take Medicaid yet they still wont go. It is not an "access problem" it is a volition problem. People don't want to go to the doctor much less pay for it. I cant tell you how many dental abscess problems come into the ED and the classic response was I cant afford to go to a dentist, yet the patient has Bling all over his teeth. No matter what the government does and no matter what they want to call it, a group of people are going to go to the Emergency Department because they will be seen and treated and not have to pay.


SeaSpray said...

Well said Throckmorton.

I saw that abuse of the system the entire time I worked in ED registration in a community hospital. I understood at night if Dr's office closed ..but I never understood going to the ED for simple things during the day. Why WAIT as long as they had to? And then get mad because they had to wait for emergent cases? Or does a mdcd pt have top pay a copay to the doctor and that is what they don't want to do. Sometimes and ENTIRE FAMILY would be seen for a COLD at ED prices.
Thank God for the program that helps the ones that really do need it. They did work hard all their life, but just couldn't make it when elderly. Those people never seemed to abuse the system and only saw them if serious. And I had a friend who had to use mdcd for her daughters when husband left w/o support. She got involved in a program called Project Self Sufficiency and after a few years was able to make it entirely on her own and has been for almost 2 decades now. If only there was a way to weed the abusers out. But look at the recent revelations about the abuses/waste in our own government with the people's money.

I just want to know how they can afford the monthly phone bills?

I am really wondering how this Health Care bill is going to go. If they approve it ..then slowly, but surely ...I do think we will see loss of access as we all know it. Extremely disturbing thought.

SeaSpray said...

Throckmorton said, "In the Emergency department we do see alot of things that have become serious but much of it is because the patient did not seek attention sooner. "

I know you're probably talking about something different ...people who NEVER see any doctors until it's really bad and then it is ED worthy at that point.

Another reason could also be that people with a chronic condition feel they just can't bother their doctors for every little ache and pain that may or may not be related to the condition exacerbating into something serious.

If only you docs had x-ray vision. :)

Also ...they may be afraid. (Trust me ...been there - done that)And yes ... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ...but how is the patient to know it's the real deal or they are wasting a med professional's time?