Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Medical care!

There is an op-ed piece in the NY Times by Peter Salgo today. He says that HMO's give doctors seven minutes with a "customer." He says patients became consumers and then customers in the medical world. This has not been my experience at Marin Cancer Care. The doctor spent at least 45 minutes with me yesterday, answering every type of question and reassuring me. I realize that this is not the experience of many, if not most, in this country right now.

Salgo says this:

"This may seem a trivial matter, but it is not. You treat "patients" as if they were members of your family. You talk to them. You comfort them. You take time to explain to them what the future may hold in store. Sometimes, that future will be bleak. But you assure them you will be there to help them face it."

"You treat "customers" quite differently. Customers are in your place of business to purchase health care. You complete the transaction such a relationship suggests: health care for money. And then they aren't your customers any more. Taken a step further, you can make the case that the less time you spend with your customers, the better your bottom line will be. This gets everyone's attention."

The issue of medical care in this country is immense. Bill and Hillary failed in their attempt to reform. I don't know where it will end, but I am grateful for the health care I am receiving. The woman who will work with me today is coming back from her lunch fifteen minutes early, so I won't have to make two trips up and can fit in both medical appointments I need today. Now, that is health care! She has not yet met me, but, when the doctor spoke to her, she did not want me to have to drive up there two days in a row. I am touched, and I haven't even met her. What a spirit, and what a spiritual way to meet the profession she has chosen or been given. What a way to honor the Hippocratic oath!

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