Friday, August 07, 2009

Something's Broken Here

So today my boys were working on fixing old pallets and both of them managed to step on a nail within half an hour of each other.

It's been 5 years since their last tetanus shots so I called the doctor and he ordered shots to be given.

I hauled the boys to the clinic. We are 100% self-pay, so I am always into saving money. Could we just get the shots without the office visit, I asked. Yes, said the receptionist.

So the boys went back to the lab and got shot and I went to the other room to pay.

"Oh dear," said the lady at her computer. "I hope she gave you the cheap shots and not the expensive shots."

I asked her to clarify.

"Well, she has here that she gave them the Dtp, which is the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, which is $74, instead of the Td [I think] that's the tetanus-only, for $9."

"All they needed was the tetanus shot," I said.

"Yes, well, I'll check to see for sure what she gave them. I'd hate to see you pay for the expensive one."

She called. I was thinking rapidly boiling thoughts.

"Oh! Good news! All of these come under the category of Immunizations for Kids, so the shot is free, and all you have to pay is the administration fee of $15 each."

I paid it.

And then I left, thinking that this is one of many many things that's wrong with our medical system. First, let me say that it is a good thing that I can walk into a local clinic and get shots for the boys. That's good.

But this is what's wrong: I didn't need or ask for anything besides the tetanus shot, yet I would have been expected to pay for the Dtp and be thankful for the opportunity. If it hadn't been for the free shots program, the bookkeeper would have charged me $74 per shot, without batting more than one eyelash or thinking this was all wrong. And if I didn't like this, I would have had to go through the torture of appealing to hard-to-reach, smooth-talking, intimidating supervisors and administrators who would make me look stupid and tightwaddy.

Can you imagine if you went to have your oil changed, and asked for the cheapest oil and nothing else, and a mechanic accidentally added Techron MotorBooster and a few other expensive fluids, would they get by with charging you for the extra stuff? Of course not.

Something is wrong here.

Quote of the Day:
Me, after almost rear-ending a pickup: Oops, I was writing a blog post in my head.
Ben: That's ok. I talk out loud to myself about football when I'm in the bathroom.


  1. Sure is. As scary as it is to think about what changes to the system might cost, this is a good example of what the costs of NOT reforming it might be.

    Glad your sons are okay and that the shots were free!

  2. :) -thats for the quote of the day.

    no desire to start a debate...but I must say. the health system is horribly broken...but two wrongs never make a right. In reference to the cost of NOT reforming... Until there is a proposal that actually fixes something, to change just for the sake of change will get us nowhere good...
    ...if only it were simple! :)