Sunday, January 1, 2017
Fighting For Care
Irritated. My right eye was irritated. So was I. My eye had been bothering me for a couple of days. I didn’t know if it was allergies, a sty, or an infection. I had been determined to rely on eye drops and to just tough it out, but that was before I had needed a warm compress in the middle of the night. Time to get medical attention.
As previously noted, I was a touch irritated. Before I could deal with my issues I had to solve a client’s problem with UnitedHealth One. I was on hold for 52 minutes! My phone has a timer. Staffing cuts reflect the company’s losses over the last few years. Once that was completed I could focus on me.
I contacted the Cleveland Clinic facility in Beachwood. It only took 30 seconds for me to clearly state that I didn’t need to see my doctor, or any doctor. I would be perfectly happy with a nurse practitioner as long as I got to come in today. I had also detailed my eye problems. If I was having a heart attack or bleeding to death the scheduling tech would have been able to send me to the E/R and hang up. No, she had to talk to me.
I have been a Cleveland Clinic patient for years. The clerk had all of my information on her screen. Still, she needed to verify ALL of the information from my Anthem card, front and back. I said that I’ve had this policy for over three years. Nothing has changed. It didn’t matter. She plowed on. Next, where do I work? What is my job title? At the eight minute mark, remember my phone has a timer, I noted that we had spent more time confirming how the Cleveland Clinic would be paid than my health problem. She persisted.
Ten minutes into the call I asked her again who was going to see me. She said, “We don’t have any openings today”. “Then why did you waste my time”? She began to offer appointments for the following week, but I had had enough and hung up.
I hear it all of the time. Every negative encounter with the medical industry is blamed on Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). Sometimes the complainer is correct, but not always. Failure can be traced to a number of sources.
The staff cuts and financial losses at UnitedHealth One are due, in part, to some really awful decisions. And UH1 cut their marketing and service staff when the going got tough. They succeeded in making it harder to do business with them. UnitedHealth One will get better. This is just a bump in the road.
And the Cleveland Clinic’s failure can’t be blamed on Obamacare. This insatiable push for more money, more donors, and more buildings occasionally leaves the patient as nothing more than a necessary evil. We are in the way. Soon we will be diagnosing and treating our own ailments and simply sending tribute payments to the Cleveland Clinic.
Two websites and a phone call later I had an appointment at a Minute Clinic in a CVS. These clinics are somehow affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic. The nurse checked my vitals, noted my agitation, and gave me a prescription for some eye drops.
So what was it? Allergies? Sty? Infections? I’m still not sure. I took an antihistamine and have religiously put in the eye drops as prescribed. I’m sure I’ll be OK in another day or so.