No. of Recommendations: 13
Health care is a highly political subject but there's no politics involved when a person is sick and the doctor demands cash on the barrel head. Either you have it or you don't. This trend appears to be increasing.

Bottom line: LBYM and build up an e-fund.

Or there's this: vote with your dollars. At least whenever possible.

If getting health care is going to be treated like shopping for other goods and services, then it's up to us, as consumers of that health care, to make our needs and wants known.

Granted, you can't always do this, but there are times when it is possible.

I help my mom deal with her health stuff a lot. She had been going to the same GP for years and each time we went in, the waits got longer and longer. One time, she'd just had knee replacement surgery, and she was left in the front waiting room for a half hour, and another 45 minutes in the "back" waiting room that was cramped and where people kept brushing against her knee that she was trying to keep elevated. Turns out the doctor was occupied, not with an emergency or a tough patient, but with a freakin' drug rep. I complained vehemently that day; another day after she waited an hour, she got up and told the nurse she was leaving. She finally changed doctors to one that she likes much better, and when the records were transferred, the new doctor called her and said "Why didn't you say something?" She pointed out all the times she HAD said something.

Another doctor of hers was gradually moving his practice, spending more and more days in his MS office. She had something come up, couldn't get a time in the TN office, and was told to come to the MS office. We found another doctor in town that would take her that didn't require a 40 minute drive.

Granted, she was not dealing with the up-front payment issue. But I think that we, as consumers of health care, have a responsibility (again, where possible. I know you can't always do it because of access, a specific health issue, etc.) to explain to the doctors why a certain policy won't work for us, or why we're unhappy with their service, etc. Sometimes something can be done, sometimes something can't. And I think in a lot of cases, if you have a very specific issue or reason why you can't pay up front, a lot of doctors WILL work with you. And if you're not getting what you need from the business manager, go to the doctor himself with your concerns.

We hold health care providers in RIDICULOUSLY high esteem, in my opinion. "But he's the DOCTOR!" "But she's the DOCTOR." Yeah, that doctor puts his or her pants on one leg at a time, with human issues just like the rest of us. And the good ones understand when we have our human issues, too.

We don't hesitate to complain when we get bad service at a restaurant. We have too many bad experiences, we don't go back. Our grocery store changes their coupon policy--we complain. If we can find a better coupon policy at another store, we might go to that one instead. We get left waiting at the Jiffy Lube for an hour, we complain and probably look for another place to do our oil changes. If the car repair service asked for payment up front, we'd tell them to pack sand, unless a part or something special had to be ordered.

Unless you live in a really small town where your choices are limited, or if you have a particular medical problem and the guy's the only one around you can go to, you do have other options to paying up front.
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