February 21, 2008, 7:00 am

How Much Would Pay For A Visit At The Clinic?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance
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After two weeks of coughing, I finally decided to go see a doctor. I didn’t really want to go but everybody was getting on my back to do so. When my new boss told me that it would be a good idea to take care of that cough over the week-end, I understood that it would not be smart of not coming in because I am sick over the next week if I didn’t go to the clinic this weekend.


It’s 11AM, I’m in there since 8AM and my coffee and donut are pretty far away now. My laptop battery is running low and so is my patience. I guess this is the beauty behind a free healthcare service; you don’t pay in money, but you do pay with your time. So here is my question: How much 4 hours (hopefully!) of my time really worth?

Maybe I am just a big whiner, but I don’t think we should wait that long. This is where I started thinking about how much I would pay to spend less than 30 minutes waiting to see a doctor and get back with my family to play outside. $10 ?, $20 ? $50?

Yes, this morning I would have paid those 50 bucks just to get the hell out of here. After all, I’m only coughing, I’m not dying. I could easily enjoy myself with my family doing something else. Instead, I am stuck waiting and I know that my son would not be able to go at the winter festival organized by our city since I will not come back early enough.

Do you think it would be a good idea of giving the population the choice between a free and a private healthcare service? The fact that I am willing to pay for a visit in order to not wait not only serves my own situation; it will also leave my place in the public system for somebody else that can’t afford private service.

Some people say that it would create two different level of service and that the less fortunate would be left with no resources. I disagree with that. In fact, people that use private service will still be paying their share of taxes and finance the public service. Therefore, the government would not loose a penny to operate the healthcare service.

Then they say it would encourage doctors and nurses to leave the public and go private. Well guess what, it’s been about twenty years that Quebec is loosing their best medical effective to the States or other provinces. Why is that? Simply because a specialist that would make 250K in Quebec, would make 400K in Alberta and over 500K in the states. With private health service, we might have the opportunity to keep them. Since education is almost free in Quebec, it would be a darn good idea to keep our doctors within our province!

So the final result for today is: I left my place at 7:45, got to the clinic at 8:05 and got off the clinic with a prescription (for pumps) at 12:05. Anybody thinks it is normal?

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Comments

that sounds like an exceptionally crazy wait time. I use clinics quite frequently, and have rarely had to wait more than 45 minutes.
I’ve got a bit of experience with physicians – dated one for quite a while, another is a friend, plus a recent client of mine. They are very frustrated with the health care system, not because it doesn’t pay as well (ie., they’re not tempted to go to the states) but because at least in BC, there is a 10-minute cap on how long they can spend on any one patient. They feel they can never give appropriate care and attention, and it frustrates the hell out of them. It could be you were at a clinic where the doctor ‘gave it to the man’ by spending longer with the patients. Anyway, I suspect the answer isn’t private care, but lobbying for a better system (and if everyone who was willing to pay extra for service gave that same extra money to the system, would it help the system get better?)

by: The Financial Blogger | February 22nd, 2008 (7:34 am)

I suspect that injecting more money in the system is not the key. When you are driving with a hole in your gas tank, no matter how much gas you will put in, you will still run out of it pretty fast 😉

Just a simple example. I had to meet with a nurse first to see if she can help me right away. Then, we I met the doctor, I spend the first 10 minutes answering the same question I just did an hour ago. The answer obviously didn’t change but the process took at least 10 minutes more. If you have 15 patients, that’s 2 hours and a half wasted doing the same work twice. The nurse should have take 2 minutes more to write down my answer and give it to the doctor.

I don’t really like the public/private parallel systems simply because I don’t want the public system to become substandard. There probably are ways around this, but that’s another issue. I think we do need user fees in there to make it more expensive than just free, so anyone with just a cough could try, like you did, to just let it go away on its own rather than go tot eh clinic or ER. Even only a $25 fee, certainly less than the full cost of the visit, would probably free up a lot of room in some of the clinics.

Doesn’t help cut wait times for more major procedures.

by: The Financial Blogger | February 25th, 2008 (6:15 am)

CR,
as the public system is financed directly from our taxes, I don’t see how it would become worst. People that would like to go private would still have to pay the full price (taxes) for the public system. I guess it would look like our school system where we have private and public. In general, public schools are still very good. In fact, some of them are even better than private ones.

That is not even a crazy wait time in the present market. It is, to belabor the point, an effing outrage!

After I presented myself with appendicitis at a major hospital’s emergency room, waited over four hours with not so much as a brief triage in the company of a young woman who was miscarrying a baby and had been there even longer, I called some friends to take me home. Following morning they took me to a much more expensive hospital, which (mercifully) was covered by my insurance, where I was immediately whisked in to emergency surgery.

America’s medical system is broken. I don’t know what will fix it. But it sure does NEED to be fixed.

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