The Folly of Managed Care
A few days ago my wife was rear-ended while sitting at a red light. While she and my son were unhurt (for the most part) a few days later she was complaining of pain in her jaw, neck and shoulder. This wasn’t surprising to me as it is usually about 24 hours before such aches and pains show up. The problem is that the pain in her jaw isn’t going away. So she called our HMO to try and get into see a doctor. The problem is nothing is available for up to 10 days and if she is really in discomfort her only only options are to:
- Go to family practice and wait for a doctor to have a few spare minutes to see her or
- Go the the emergency room.
Seriously, that is what they tell her on the phone.
The spiffy thing about this, from a cost containment perspective is that option 1 discourages my wife from going to see a doctor at all, even though she might have an actual problem. Option 2 on the other hand is just stupid and costly. This isn’t an emergency room issue and she should see a doctor in family practice.
Fortunately, she as an appointment with our dentist much sooner than what is available with our HMO.
And people think that managed care, with the government doing the managing, is the answer. Pardon me while I fall down laughing.