Saturday, June 20, 2009
Health Care Run By The Post Office
My patient was admitted to the hospital with a terribly infected arm after a fall and a nasty laceration. She stayed two days and is now home and recovering well on oral antibiotics. When I examined her this morning, I chatted with her husband (a good friend of mine) about the inefficiencies of the hospital. They were thrilled with her care from the physicians and nurses, but couldn't help but notice how uncoordinated the hospital care is. She was asked her story by 10 different people. She underwent 3 arm Xrays (?) and was kept without food or water while they were deciding about surgery. No-one was able to tell them if she needed surgery and the communication between the floor and the Emergency Department was lacking.
We decided this admission would probably cost about $50,000. It will be interesting to see what the final bill is. That led us to discussion about the outrageous cost of health care. My friend said that every one $dollar out of 700 in the health care budget goes to pay the salary of the CEO of United Health. What? One dollar of every 700?
The conversation then migrated toward health care reform and the desire to GET IT DONE. Bring on that public system and do it now. If someone wants to pay for extra care through United Health Care and keep that CEO in jets and parties....so be it. There is nothing wrong with having multiple choices for the citizens of the U.S.
We talked about the fear people have about "socialized medicine", as if anyone in the UK, or Netherlands, or Canada, or France would trade places with our fragmented health system. Americans say get the government out of health care, but "I sure like my Medicare". My friend said people will say: " What do you want? Health care to be run like the post office?" He replies, "Hell yes. Run it like the post office. They come to my house and pick up a letter , take it across the country and deliver it 48 hours later for 44¢. You're damn right I would like it run like the post office."
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:04 PM