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 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."


Anonymous said...

With "socializeed medicine" do you still get to pick out your primary care internist or family practice physician and see the specialists they recommend or you choose?

Toni Brayer MD said...

Anon: Socialized Medicine is a catch all phrase that is mainly used in the U.S. to mean publicly funded health care. There are usually no restrictions on which doctors a patient sees under a public system.

Raymond Bouchayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raymond Bouchayer said...

I was raised In France with a French Father and an American Mother. Yes you pick your own Doctor ...that gets very well paid and is not buried in paper work to pay for CEO'S ($1.00 out of 700) ?....I think that its the other way around .
The only difference that I observed in France and in Canada is that if you have money you go to a "Clinic" instead of a hospital . Hospitals are very well run and very modern for the most part. Clinic are like "spas" they spoil you and you do pay for that .I had an operation when I was a young boy in Paris in a clinic and my Father picked me up at discharge and I remember him tipping the nurses and other attendants !But there is NO "socialized Medicine " it is Medicine paid by the citizen Taxes that goes to pay for medical services . It is teir money. It is not to fill the pockets of CEO'S and others .Americans have to get this nonsense out of their mind that our system is the best ...we rank 38 in this field , right behind Morocco !

June 22, 2009 7:56 AM

Rich said...

I just can't put any kind of faith in anything thiat is run by our federal governement. I guess I'm just one of those skeptics. It would surly would be a utopia if it ran well and as efficient as the post office. sorry but a letter just isn't as complicated as the human body.

Jonathan said...

Thank you for the article, very useful piece of writing.
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