Monday, December 31, 2007
Hate to End the Year on a Rant, But...
I was going to post a list of new year's resolutions. One of the things that was almost on my list was to try not to be so peevish.
Then some of my pet peeves started crawling into my mind, and before long I was making a list of pet peeves. Somebody please smack me.
Fear not, I won't foist either my so-called resolutions or my list of pet peeves on anyone today, but I do need to vent about something on the pet peeve list. Let's call it Pet Peeve #5: being told what to do as a physician by an insurance company.
Because there is already a brilliant post about this topic on the well-written blog Counting Sheep, I will try to be as concise as possible on this particular subject.
You have two choices.
See that long, black thing I'm holding in the picture on the side bar at right?
Behind Door #1, someone is going to snake a device similar to that, but longer and larger in caliber, up into your rectum and all the way through your colon after giving you a dose or two of unpredictable, unreliable sedatives with unpleasant side effects such as grogginess, uneasiness, nausea, vomiting, and itching. The person operating the black scoping thing is trying to make sure you don't have an ugly polyp (see above) or anything life-threatening in your colon, but because you're half awake, you sometimes tense and buck, making it hard for him or her to pass the scope through, hard to find lesions in all the recesses, and hard to watch over any ill effects the sedatives might be wreaking on your system. When you come to, you feel groggy and perhaps queasy, and you might have vague recollections of a big tube being snaked up through you, causing some abdominal cramping...
Behind Door #2, someone is going to snake a device similar to the scope at right, but longer and larger in caliber, up into your rectum and all the way through your colon after someone gives you a small, calculated dose of a drug that removes any awareness of the discomfort associated with the procedure. This drug can actually make it easier for the person operating the scope to pass it (and detect those life-threatening problems) because you are totally relaxed. Someone highly trained to protect you from this drug's possible side effects is giving it to you and watching over your breathing and your vital signs. You wake up quickly, feeling refreshed and nausea-free, probably surprised that it's all over, and you will probably be ready to go home soon.
Let me guess - you'd rather take Door #2, right?
Oh, oops, I lied. You don't have two choices, actually. That is, if your health insurance is covered by Aetna, Humana, or WellPoint. Sorry. You get Door #1.
Call me uncharitable, but right now I think any insurance carrier who's making these medical judgments without anesthesia training, or any medical training at all, should first be required by law to undergo the prize behind Door #1 before imposing such regulations on doctors and patients. Happy New Year to you too.