January 4, 2012

Adjusting the weather knee

This fine January morning, I am off to day surgery to repair whatever has gone amiss within my knee.  This will be scope numero tres for the right knee.  They usually ask me to initial the leg that is supposed to have surgery.  I can't think of anything pithy to write, other than asking about a buy one get one offer, so both knees get fixed.   Think they would go for that?

I am a bit sad that my favorite anesthesiologist (and neighbor) isn't on the case.  He always used to walk into the room and quip, "Time for better living through chemistry."   But the guy who called tonight has a good reputation and was pleasant on the phone.  I have done this surgery gig enough to know how to finesse my answers to their questions, to make sure that I get the treatment I want. 

Leading up to this surgery, I visited the doc's office four times; for the initial consult, MRI, follow up and then the return trip when non-surgical methods failed.  I visited the adjoining PT office 8 times.  I have a nice working relationship with the doctor, his lead tech, the PTs and office crew.  I have good insurance.  I have met my deductible and paid at each visit, or as soon as I was billed.  I even paid in advance at the last visit, knowing I had some PT claims outstanding, but wanted to knock it out while I was in the office.  I believe I had a small credit on my account.

How in the world do deadbeats even get the opportunity to run up medical bills?  Yesterday I had to drive to the doc's office and pay, upfront, the presumed co-pay for his surgical services.  This morning, I have to pay the surgical center the presumed co-pay for their services before the procedure can take place.  When did it come to this?  I feel bad that the medical establishment has gotten screwed so many times that they now have to demand payment in advance.  I harbor no ill will for the docs that choose not to accept new Medicare patients.  Who could blame them for making sound business decisions?  If you had a group of clients whose insurer kept moving the goal posts, wouldn't you drop them?

I do resent that there is no mechanism to discern from good (paying) patients and the rest.  I had about a dozen other things that I could have done but I had to drive 15 miles and pay my surgery ransom.  If the medical community wasn't waist deep in red tape and insurance filings, they could get to know their patients better.

First, get paid, then, do no harm.

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

I've had three surgeries on my left knee. Maybe we could get a group discount on the next go-round.

Follow the post-op directions, do your PT, take your meds ... you know the drill.

Good luck.