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Sunday, August 12, 2018

The World Is Not Designed For The Sick

There Is No Room For Me Here

Have you ever walked into an Emergency Department waiting room and felt this way? Surely you have, it just might come in different statements, but it’s the same concept. You enter the door and see a waiting area filled with people and your first thought is, This is going to take forever! You instantly regret the choice to make the trip to the ER, but what other choice did you have? Well, if it’s after normal business hours, or a weekend, it probably was. There was nowhere else for you to go. 

This is where I tell you, as advocates we must take actions ourselves to get the things we need. Nothing will ever change if we don’t. We need to stand up and start fighting for our healthcare rights. The right to adequate treatment at a fair cost. How many of you have a high CoPay for an ER visit? I’d bet a lot of you do. Yet, what other choice are you given? It’s time we stop allowing the healthcare industry to monopolize the services and demand we get something better. We must make noise in order to be heard. 

What Would Fair Healthcare Look Like

Well, to start with, it would be 24 hour Urgent Care at the same CoPay as regular hours. It would be changing the system used to determine who gets seen when at the ER. It would be refusing to see non emergent case in ER’s without referral from an urgent care. How about the CoPay being reduced in a referral case to equal that of the Urgent Care Facility. Things like this will overall decrease the stress load on ER staff, resulting in better care, more attentive care, and Staff wanting to continue their contracts at these facilities. 

This will also open up more jobs in the market for Healthcare Professionals, as we would need to staff the Urgent Care Centers for 24 hours. Jobs are always a positive thing for the economy. We need to push for more options on medical transportation as well. You need a company that offers affordable handicap accessible transportation for everyone, not just those on State funded insurance. Ambulances are costly and not always available for a non emergent transport. Something else to think about is the financial success of these agencies. Many ambulance services do not get insurance information and are left footing the bill when there is no response. 

Our Laws Require Us To Be Insured

We all know that Healthcare isn’t cheap, and it’s certainly not free. What works for one isn’t necessarily the best for another. Yet we don’t really have customizable plans.  They give us a few options, and usually even the good ones come at some cost. For example, my insurance only covers 5 prescriptions a month at my CoPay cost. Anything above 5 is out of pocket 100%. Yes, I am fighting for the approval for all medications to be covered under my CoPay, but that’s not simple and not quick.  When you have a Chronic disease, it doesn’t go away. Many medical issues mean life long prescriptions. Many people needing a lot of them. I take more than 5. My Biologic alone cost over $5000 a month. 

Not only does our government see fit to fine us if we are not insured, but they also think it’s appropriate to allow the cost of insurance and medical treatment to be so high that people can’t afford the expenses either. What do you do? You are not given a lot of options. State insurance has difficult to meet qualifications, you can’t customize a package to suit your needs, and you don’t even get a choice on where to seek out this treatment at times. This is not what it should be like to live healthy. It should be a basic human right to receive healthcare at an affordable cost. 

First We Start At The Beginning 

Well, my plan like I said isn’t perfect. If we get loud and start fighting for things, we can make a difference. It may take a lifetime, but it’s worth trying. So, we get loud. To start with let’s get a solid transportation source for those who have no means of travel. We need Healthcare Cabs that are handicap accessible and at an affordable cost that can be covered by insurance. 

Let’s face it, if you don’t have a vehicle, and you are sick, handing out a big upfront payment to get somewhere isn’t going to help. This will also take the load off of the Ambulance Agency’s running non emergent calls, as well as those calls to 911 dispatch. Most people don’t know the non emergent 911 number and when they don’t feel good, they probably won’t remember or look it up. We could create an overall system operated out of dispatch the same way, but on a non emergent side and through a different line such as 922 or something like that. This also creates new jobs. 

They Need A Place To Go

Once we know we have the starting operations ready to go, we get to handle where these people go. This is when we have Urgent Care Facilities operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The Doctors office isn’t open all the time, and the Emergency Room isn’t always the answer. We need to redesign they way the ER intake process works at the same time. There is already a system in place on what gets taken back immediately and what can wait. We just need to tweek this. If you are not emergent, then you will be referred to Urgent Care or you need to be prepared to wait it out. If you are non emergent you will be a “fit in”. When they can. This will put a stop to so much of the ER overload. 

What happens if you go to Urgent Care but they refer you to the ER, because it’s just outside their abilities? Well they contact the ER advise you are coming and at this time depending on the need, you are either transferred and taken back, or transferred and placed in a triage area only waiting behind Emergent cases and other referrals. There will be no waiting behind non emergent cases. Because The ER is not the place for them to be to start with. Again, we have created more jobs. 

If you have even bothered to look around an Emergency Room before now, you have probably noticed they have a decent amount of rooms that are not in use at any given time. I work at a hospital and at any given time only half of our ER is operational. This is where our triage referrals should go. Once in these rooms they can be placed on monitors and given a small amount of staff to monitor until they are moved to the other side of the ER for treatment. 

How Can We Make It Affordable 

We have to put a stop to companies monopolizing the system. I’m sure it’s more than just here. In my local area, the same company owns all the Hospitals, Urgent Cares, and several Doctors Offices. They also have a few pharmacies under their belt. What does this do, it means that they can charge anything they want too, where else are you going to go? To another location they own? 

We also need better and customizable insurance plans. There should be no fine for not being able to afford insurance, instead a project in place to ensure you receive insurance at whatever you can afford. Yes, I know some people need state funded insurance, but many of them don’t. I also believe they should have a customizable program. We give you state insurance and based on your income and expenses, we give you insurance at a specific rate after considering those factors. Not everyone that needs State insurance, needs it free. Some of them can afford CoPays and such just like everyone else. 

It’s Just My Thoughts

Living with a chronic disease, I feel the need to improve the world for others who experience things like me. I recently had to visit the ER. I also work at a local Hospital. I not only see what I experience, but what our patients experience as well. I see those to poor and worrying how they will pay. I see those sitting endless hours in waiting rooms. I have been that individual. I know those individuals. When you don’t feel good, have chronic pain, and any other issue, you don’t feel like sitting in a room full of other people. 

At my recent visit, I couldn’t stop vomiting. Nobody wants to vomit in a room full of people. You definitely don’t want to do so for hours. You want to lay down, and be in your own space. You want something to stop the vomiting immediately, not hours after arrival. If the system was better, if you had an option, you might not have to do that. Of course, we risk an influx at Urgent Care facilities of people needing seen. If you live anywhere like me than you have a handful of Urgent Care locations in the vicinity of one Hospital. If we divided all the patients among all facilities considering some would be Emergent and some Emergent referral as well as those who just refuse anything else and choose to wait in an ER, it would balance out quite well most of the time. 

If We Lived In A Perfect World

Unfortunately we don’t. So clearly this is just a day dream. I’m certain their is a much better solution. I have no background in business, and I’m definitely not the person to go to on politics, but in a perfect world my plan would work. We would all have free healthcare. The government would want to help those of us that are sick, rather then toss us to the wolves. In a perfect world the goal would be curing the sick, not just treating them. 

I just felt compelled to talk about this, and touch on a completely different aspect of living sick. You just feel like there is no room for you. In a world that’s not designed to consider us, from banning straws to the difficult process of gaining Disability. It’s a world we just feel like we never belong, and the healthcare industry is no different. Doctors don’t believe us, we know ER’s won’t help us. We don’t believe we need to be in an ER in most cases. What are we to do? Well, we get loud and we demand this world acknowledge us and give us what we need! 

Until Next Time Kick Some AS

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