Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expectations in Health Care

Several times throughout our day we are customers.  When we walk into a store I think we, as customers, have certain expectations from the employees.  If they were rude and unhelpful we would take our business elsewhere.  When we go to a restaurant the same thing applies.  If the wait it too long or the food tastes like crap we aren't going back, right??  When we pay for a service we expect that service to be good, whether it is from our barista or our mechanic.  And the more we spend, the more we expect.

One service I pay an arm and a leg for is Health Care.  My husband is self employed, so every month we have to shell out big bucks for coverage.  I am not going to lie, this stinks.  We picked the most affordable option for us and it is still obscenely spendy.   It is just one of those things that comes with self employment.  The company we use has a reputation for lack of customer care...and I am using the word customers because really that is what we are...customers.  I won't call them out but their name rhymes with Schmaiser Schmermanente.  Until recently Schmaiser and I have been on pretty good terms...but then this weekend I got a taste of their infamous lack of customer service.

It wasn't quite this bad...but it was close.

I will not get into the whole thing but the post op shoe I was "fit" with for my broken toe was not working out.  I couldn't walk without pain.  The PA was less than helpful when I came back in and he even said to me, "what do you want me to do about it?"

Was I asking too much?  Was it wrong of me to ask for something more than a "one size fits all" solution?  Should I have suffered in silence because this jack hole didn't want to do his job??

The whole thing led me to ponder what we expect from health care professionals and what we should expect from them.  After all, we are paying...and we are paying quite a bit.  I am realizing that all too often I am met with the attitude that I am being granted a favor instead of paying for a service.  I have had health care professionals be rude and unhelpful.  I would never put up with it from a store or a restaurant, so why am I more willing to put up with it from a doctor, nurse, or PA??  What gives?

I am not trying to bag on doctors here.  My best friend is a doctor and I know how ridiculously hard they work and there are some really amazing, caring doctors out there.  What I am trying to say is I think it is okay to expect and demand appropriate care from someone we are paying!  They are taking care of the only body we have, shouldn't we expect them to do a good job?

I guess my lesson here is I am going to expect more from the people taking care of the me.  I am done with this "do the bare minimum (or less) and get them out the door" mentality.  I don't really care if Joe the PA thought I was annoying and a nag.  He should have been concerned that his patient was in pain, not put out that I was making him do his job.

I'm raising the bar and expecting:
  • To be treated like an individual with unique needs
  • To be listened to
  • To be given alternative options if the first ones don't work
  • To be treated like a paying customer and not chattel
So I am leading an Occupy Schmaiser Rally if anyone is interested....just kidding.  But I am going to encourage all of you to expect and demand the best for your bodies!

What do you expect from your doctor?

I think becoming a runner and triathlete has made me more demanding in my health care.  Do you think athletes have higher expectations?