Well that’s a novel concept, isn’t it?!? I was reading an article today in the Wall Street Journal about the rising costs of healthcare and how deals between hospitals and insurance companies are contributing to the problem. Try reading this piece… doesn’t it make your head spin? Hospitals do this and try to block that, and insurance companies do this and switch plans and so on and so on. In the end, none of these decisions and maneuvering are really about patient care. They are strictly about market share, controlling health care utilization and profits. Too much of our current healthcare system places multiple barriers in between doctors and patients. Additionally, many medical decisions now are based solely on insurance coverage and their “protocols,” and not what is best for the patient.
If you’re someone who travels a lot for work or pleasure, or you just happen to find yourself on the rare trip, you may imagine a scenario where you fall ill and need care. You’re away from home and from your primary care doctor. You’re in an unfamiliar location where you don’t recognize the local medical options. This is a scenario many of us have experienced or at least have known someone who has.
What do YOU do when this happens? The most common answer is that you go to the local emergency room or urgent care. This may be fine OR it may result in a big bill or in care that is disjointed from your typical doctors. Disjointed care sometimes leads to patients being prescribed medications that cause side effects or interfere with existing medications or issues, which renders them in worse shape in the long run. If you don’t need to see a doctor at a more emergent setting, you may be charged a larger copay for having gone there instead of to primary care (even though you couldn’t get back home to do it!).
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.