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  #51  
Pub Lover Pub Lover is offline
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Old Apr 9th, 2008, 08:17 PM       
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Originally Posted by Pandajuice View Post
even the most routine visit to a GP takes weeks of waiting and lot of red-tape/phone calls;
What is routine? While I was in the UK last year I would turn up without an appointment at the GP's office & the longest I had to wait was an hour & that was because I kept letting people go before me.
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  #52  
Pandajuice Pandajuice is offline
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 06:47 AM       
Well I think I misspoke, because you're right. The most routine stuff (like physicals or if you're generally "not feeling well"), you can see a doctor that same day. In fact, it's a tad annoying because you have to call on the same day you want the appointment; you can't schedule appointments in advance unless it's a follow-up. I've never turned up to the clinic without calling first to make an appointment, so I don't know how that would go down.

But anything more advanced than that (like seeing a specialist or even a gynocologist), involves a lot of waiting.
From my experience, the system is bothersome because you need to see a GP before you're allowed to see a specialist (you have to be referred by the GP). Once you get the referral, you literally have to just wait around (usually a week or two) until you receive a letter in the mail informing you on how to make an appointment with the specialist. Then you call the specialist's office and can make an appointment a few weeks in advance (unless they have you go through a scheduling company which has to further refer you onto the appropriate office). So by the time you're actually seen by the appropriate doctor, a month or more has passed.

I know this from personal experience:

My son, who is 2 now, wasn't sleeping very well and we suspected it had to do with his tonsils or adenoids blocking his pharynx (the opening that leads to the larynx and trachea, then to the lungs) because he was having difficulty breathing while he was asleep. So we took him to the GP who confirmed that his tonsils were larger than normal, so he referred us to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. So we waited around for the referral letter to come in the mail, and after about 3 weeks, it finally came. I called the number to make an appointment, and the number I was given was to some kind of placement office that lets you choose which hospital you want to go to. So I chose and was given the number of the hospital. So then I had to call the hospital myself that I had chosen to make an appointment with. I was told I'd receive the appointment details in a week or so in the mail, which never came. After a few weeks of not receiving them, I called the hospital again who this time told me I'd have to call this other scheduling company to actually make the appointment, which I did. A couple more weeks later, we finally got the appointment details, and after 8 weeks and going through 3 different companies, my son was finally seen by an ENT who said his tonsils looked normal. By that time, he'd pretty much grown out of the problem I guess (2 months is a long time in child development terms), but the ENT still wanted to check his sleeping habits to identify a problem. So she said in a few weeks, we'd have a little monitoring machine sent to us. It's been another 2 months since that appointment and we never received a machine in the mail. And at this point, I don't really care to bug them about it, as my son is sleeping better, and I just can't be bothered anymore.

I'll just wait until we move back to California next year and use a real health system.

I do agree though that for people like Kitsa and Tadao, that kind of system might be good because mediocre care is at least better than no care at all.
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  #53  
T-Rex T-Rex is offline
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 07:05 AM       
Ah man, that's really horrible to have wait so long about your son. I heard the waiting lists here in England are really long for specialist treatment but I couldn't give you a personal experience. Aren't most of us English peeps going to like France and Germany for treatment like that? I don't know for sure but isn't medicare in the U.S. private? I don't agree with people paying for health care. I believe it's the best reason to pay taxes. I've heard of a lot of people losing their homes in the states after falling ill, simply to pay for their medical treatment. I don't know, it's what I've heard so I can't say for sure how true it is. Still...
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  #54  
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 07:28 AM       
Yea T-Rex, it can get pretty bad in the states as everything is private (except for some free clinics peppered here and there, but those are really for homeless people and drug addicts). If you get seriously ill and need surgery or need to stay in the hospital for awhile, the bill can get pretty steep (we're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars). But if you have a job, you usually can get health insurance that covers stuff like that; but like Kitsa and Tadao have said, it's corrupt and as with all insurance companies, they work to find ways to NOT pay up.

Even so, it's still the best system in the world and where everyone should go to get the best quality healthcare, if they can afford it. The trouble with universal or government run health care is that it doesn't have any competition or incentive to improve, so the quality fails and it's constantly being abused.
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  #55  
Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 08:35 AM       
And hospitals here are NOT shy about making sure they get any money that's coming to them, up-front.

I've had 3 medical emergencies in the past month. One was life-threatening to me and two were life-threatening to my kids, the last one very very serious.

You'd think that with a Medicare card, they'd just take that as your insurance, when you show up, and let you have your lifesaving treatment. But in the 2 ER trips, even as I was being hooked up to monitors, registration people were knocking timidly but persistently on the doorway and coming in to demand my date of declared disability, my supplemental coverage (at the time, I didn't have any), and otherwise wanting to know how I was going to pay what was left of my bill when Medicare had paid their part.

This last visit, my water broke early and it was literally a scramble to save the twins' lives. When I was taken from my room for the ultrasound that would tell us whether my children would live or die, which was practically a nervous-breakdown-inducing experience, guess what was on my hospital bed when I returned? A card from financial services, saying that I had to call right away. As soon as I was calmed down enough from my hysterics, I called, and...of course...she wanted to know how I was going to pay my Medicare copay. My head was so messed-up at the time (my children were dying) that I couldn't even remember my phone number during registration. I mean, to them, this stuff cannot wait.

Fortunately, by that point, I had been approved for a State program that served as a Medicare supplement during pregnancy, and I told her that I had that. Even then, it wasn't over...she was suspicious until she had called the State herself to verify this and make a note on my account.

Things are looking a tad better for the twins now, I just need to keep them in me for 6 more weeks until it's safe for them to be born, but I thought it was a little harsh of the hospital to hold a hand out for money as we were going through that.*


* I'm not blaming the registration or financial people. When I was an undergrad, I worked a couple of years in ER registration and I know what's required of them...if they don't do it, they answer to the higher-up that makes those decisions. I just wish the hospitals would come up with a more sensitive way to handle this stuff.
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  #56  
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 01:36 PM       
Both systems are great at keeping the underclasses too sick to rebel. :gegguy
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  #57  
Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Apr 10th, 2008, 01:49 PM       
Yeah, there is no real good answer for health care. I am a very lucky person. This is why I feel I should help others. I've been given the gift of being in a spot to contribute, I would be what I hate if I didn't try to help out in a hopeless world.
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  #58  
Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 04:33 PM       
Hearing all this talk reminds me of the inevitable arthritis I am to have in my future, if my genetic helltrain goes its way. Blech. I got ya beat, though, 'cause I've got a phenomenon.

Raynaud's Phenomenon: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nRtNY6x1LAY
Bonus: http://youtube.com/watch?v=eiiKaib867U

I got it through heredity, not this bad dentistry stuff I hear. It's cool and my hands and feet turn a color I can only describe as peanut butter & jelly.

Anywho, does one count volunteer work on their taxes? If so, is it actually volunteer work? If you hurt yourself when volunteering, well, it's gonna be on you. Dunno what I can say besides life insurance or something.
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  #59  
Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 09:36 PM       
That 2nd video was horrible. You can count volunteering on taxes but I wouldn't as I don't want to be noticed. I'll have medicare so I should be pretty well covered if I get hurt.
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  #60  
Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 11:43 PM       
That video is hilarious because of how serious Raynaud's Syndrome sounds, even though it's not really. I guess you're golden as far as coverage goes and as a volunteer, you aren't under obligation to be there so it's not like someone can fire you. Just appreciate.
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  #61  
Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 12:49 AM       
Barring fantastic coincidence, I have a 50/50 chance of having a genetic predisposition called Lynch's Syndrome. I think. What that means is that I'll probably get colon cancer before age 50, which certainly wouldn't be anything but an inconvenience if the availability of detection and treatment improves, or even just stay the same. When I first found this all out I knew myself to be the kind of person who would rather let my ass slowly and painfully kill me than get it checked out, but since I've changed a bit I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it when it becomes something to worry about. Apparently my cousin, who is more directly tied to the disease than I am, already had frequent polyps forming by age 28 or so. Eh.

Oh, and I mentioned before that my dad always clues me into the disgusting aspects of American healthcare. With insurance, most policies dictate a maximum pay-out for certain groupings of treatment, and as a result hospitals always charge this maximum with no regard for how commensurable it is with actual services rendered. This is done usually out of greed, but my dad's "non-profit" employer does it just to avoid the chance of getting called out for inconsistency or something. This becomes a huge problem when they argue that they can't possibly charge less for the uninsured because that would undermine the basis by which they base their prices for the insured.

In the end, the non-profit hospital ends up with a shit ton more money than they can justify on 15 April, and as a result they frantically find repulsively idiotic ways to spend money that won't compromise their non-profit status. Back when 20" CRT monitors were extremely expensive, they'd start putting dozens of them in warehouses rented just for that purpose so that the offices would have room for 24" ones, and my dad would bring home several and ask if I knew anyone who needed them when the warehouses were full. I think back in 1998 he told me that they spent $2 million every two years replacing the carpet in all their facilities, buying the best quality carpet designed to last at least half a decade under those conditions.
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  #62  
10,000 Volt Ghost 10,000 Volt Ghost is offline
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Old Apr 24th, 2008, 09:50 PM       
That sounds terribly criminal and wasteful.
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  #63  
glowbelly glowbelly is offline
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Old Apr 24th, 2008, 11:00 PM       
it sounds exactly like the place i work
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  #64  
Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Apr 24th, 2008, 11:36 PM       
George isn't here. Go away.
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  #65  
Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Apr 25th, 2008, 12:24 AM       
Seth, however, is here. Consider your argument VOID.
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  #66  
glowbelly glowbelly is offline
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 07:32 AM       
naughty person. you shouldn't be so testy with me. i'm going to be a nurse and i could spread a big nurse rumor right this second about a person who goes by tadao on the internet who doesn't deserve his pain medication.
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  #67  
Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 09:40 AM       
sorry. I like nurses. They do all the work. Dr's suck.
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  #68  
glowbelly glowbelly is offline
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 01:42 PM       
and by work you mean sponge baths, right?
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  #69  
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 04:09 PM       
That and enemas.
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