A Collection of Problems with the US Health Care System

Professional. Illinois. Statement 10130.

Categories: Patient Statements
Tagged as:

State:: Illinois

Occupation:: Professional

Why are physicians and hospitals allowed to operate in the mode they do? Why do doctors (and their staff) think they are superior human beings than the rest of “us”. Let me describe what I am speaking about…

I don’t have one example…almost every visit to a doctor or multiple doctors exhibits one or more of these issues:

1. Doctors are not accountable to or care about their patients schedules. And we excuse and allow it time and time again. It’s okay for a doctor to be late due to “medical” emergency or really any other reason they can think of…. Why don’t we, as the consumer of their services, demand the doctor’s practice “staff” for medical emergencies and provide a separate set of doctors for scheduled office visits vs. medical emergencies? Isn’t every other business you can think of required to schedule like that? Do you ever go into a restaurant where they claim that their entire staff is working on a huge catering order that JUST came in, and therefore you have to wait 2 hours for them to free up? What do you do? Leave and find another restaurant. Why do we allow doctors to staff their practices like this, and continue to excuse it time and time again?

2. Very few doctors care about communication protocols with other doctors. Once the issue is out of their “area” of expertise, they feel no obligation to ensure the solution is found. No need to reach out to another doctor for a consult, to help with scheduling the appointment, etc. How about providing or coordinating services to solve a patient’s problem, regardless of what or where the problem is?

3. Doctors never feel accountable to explain themselves to their patients. Simple questions about cause and effect, symptoms and diagnosis are typically met with defensiveness and anger.

4. Support staff – receptionists, schedulers, billing office…are the only people in the world that work for doctors just plain mean? Is that a necessary personality trait for getting a job working for a doctor? I have in my 44 years of life never met support staff that actually treat you like another human being. Most of them take on the same “superior human being” traits their bosses do. Why do we, as patients who pay their salary, allow this type of treatment time and time again?

5. Why don’t doctors market their offices and themselves as a value added service? Why don’t we as patients demand to not be treated like common animals? Why do we allow doctors, receptionists, schedulers, billers to not call us back, be late for appointments, not reach out to ensure our total care, We as patients come back AND pay dearly for this type of awful service? Look at the amount of $$ that doctors are receiving for their services…even at a discounted rate, I would be thrilled to receive $60, $70, $80 for 20 minutes with a patient for a routine medical exam. Wouldn’t you? At the low rate, that equates to approximately $180 per hour.

6. Who are doctors ultimately accountable to? Their patients? That has not been my experience. Doctors are ultimately accountable to themselves. If I didn’t have any accountability to anyone else in my professional job, at some point, I would get very comfortable doing whatever it is that pleased me, all the time. Seems as if this is where the majority of doctors have gotten to.

7. Why do doctors have “back doors” installed in their offices for them to make their entrances/exits? Why can’t they walk in/out of the same door their patients do?

8. Ever been to an emergency room for a true emergency? This is a sad state of affairs. Really sick people should NOT be in an emergency room – EVER. Waiting for hours (13, 8, 4, respectively) to get an open bed in a hospital? How is that providing good service to a high paying customer? How, as a human being, can you retain your integrity when laying on a cot in a hallway, waiting for the maintenance staff to “clean a room” for 13 hours? Hospitals that are “not for profit” that have HUGE surpluses of cash should have ALL OF their patients DEMAND and REQUIRE these problems be fixed. It is not acceptable to treat US citizens, fellow taxpayers and YOUR CUSTOMER in the manner that hospitals do today.

The healthcare industry needs to be turned on its head, and begin to re-think their approach to providing healthcare. Health services are a commodity in many major urban areas…their are multiple hospitals, doctors, specialists that can be selected to treat many ailments…we as patients need to DEMAND service from these institutions such that they respect us and TREAT us as PAYING customers. As a CUSTOMER of several major institutions and doctors practices in the downtown Chicago area and North Shore, they can ALL hear and heed this message.