Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money for Mistakes

Yesterday, I heard a fabulous bit of news I just knew everyone would be excited to know about. As it turns out, Medicare has decided they will no long be paying doctors for blatantly erroneous surgeries they perform. For example, if you go in for a hip replacement, and they give you a c-section instead (much to their confusion when they discover no baby in there), medicare will NOT pay the doctor. Now, in order for this to not make too much of a stir amongst the medical community, there will be a waiting period whereby doctors and any other concerned soul, can address their fears about practitioners no longer receiving payment for their faulty labor. I find this 100% completely mind boggling. What if I requested or even demanded payment for a service which I did not provide, and in fact actually did quite a bit more damage than good? Why can't I, the average Joe (to coin a popular term) get away with this too? I mean, suppose I forgot that I have children to care for in the daytime, and instead opted to go shopping all day; though my children could be lost or seriously injured, coming home and expecting the standard pay (were I in fact paid for this) would be ridiculous, right? No, instead I'd come home to a house full of police officers and social services workers. Yet, it seems that Medicare has deemed the doctors performing the same such behaviors as worthy of the taxpayers' dollars. . . WOWOWOWOWOW! There's a LOT wrong with our medical system - but this sort of absurdity and waste seems to summarize where all the money is going when I go to the doctor for a standard check up which ends up costing the insurance company $200+. .

I've also considered this situation from the perspective of the patient. Having had 2 surgeries myself, along with each of my children having gone under the knife, I've observed or participated in 4 surgeries over the last few years. It has always annoyed and perplexed me when no fewer than five doctors approach me prior to surgery to ask me what "we're doin' today." I'm not kidding you. At first I thought it was some sort of questioning of my mental ability, to recite to different anesthetists and doctors and nurses the ins-and-outs of each procedure, but later I realized, they were just being overly cautious so as not to perform the incorrect procedure on their patient. Yet, with all their checking and rechecking, insuring that the everyone is on the same page, it seems that patients are still having the wrong limb amputated, or the completely incorrect procedure performed. Again, if only I was given liberty to question Jim five or so times every morning before he left for work, "So, what am I doin' today?". . . I mean, I guess I could, but when you see someone day in and day out, it's not a good idea to perturb them with your repetitiveness - particularly in the morning when they're trying to leave in order to be on time to their place of employment. But really, in the same fashion the doctors do, I should be directing my questions towards my patients, or in my case, my children. . . I can totally see that going over really well.

The next time I personally am in for surgery, I'm going to tell all the medical personnel that I'm there for the obvious procedure, but I'm also going to tack on there a little cosmetic surgery. . . Hey, if they're capable of naively doing what the patient tells them, then I'm going to use that to my advantage! And NO, they won't be paid with my tax dollars for their lack of basic information.

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