Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Obamacare: a Preliminary Assessment

There, that caught your eye, didn't it? But in conformance with my policy of not writing about politics and religion—at least in too much detail—I'm not really writing about Obamacare, although I really wonder if the President prefers "The Affordable Care Act". Maybe I'll write more about this legislation when I find out how it affects me, my insurance, doctors and hospital coverage. Here I follow my avowed aims and give you two peripheral observations, one trivial and one absurd. Unfortunately they both concern my neurologist's office. Poor guy, he's really rather nice, but I do have problems with his office.

This little gizmo is called Phreesia. It looks like a little Etch-a-Sketch, but instead of drawing funny pictures, a patient is supposed to enter data as required by the Affordable Care Act and I think that little recess on the right hand side is for a credit card. The first time I saw one I was told to follow directions and enter data and then the next time I came in I would just pick it up and sign in. It was not easy. It seemed to require a combination of using a stylus and poking the screen with my finger. I never could figure out which I was supposed to do at any given time, but I soldiered on. Mind you, I was about the youngest person in the room and I have a modicum of familiarity with a screen. Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth from some of the other patients. When (if) you get to the end of the screens about existing conditions, blood pressure and incontinence, there are about 10 pages requiring a signature. Had to use the stylus there, because I was signing permission for all sorts of things. It was at this point that I wondered why the credit card recess was there. Does the machine add up what treatment you have had, assuming the doctor was adept with the stylus and his finger and marked off what he had done, and figure out what I owed the practice? Never mind, right then the nurse came and got me, put me in a room and proceeded to ask the  questions all over again.

The next time I had an appointment the gizmo was no longer in sight.

As for absurd, I noticed this certificate hanging on the wall. "Patient-Centered!". What on earth else should we expect. "Nurse-Centered?" "Doctor-Centered?" Hold on, just as I was posting this photo I started to wonder who or what the Physician Alliance is. I went to their website and a few words jumped out at me immediately— Legal Services, Reducing costs.

Maybe this certificate celebrated a concept that was not so absurd after all.

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

Oh MY Goodness whatever next! Sounds really complicated.
Some people here grumble about our Nation Health System but at least we all get seen eventually and everyone is treated equally and we don't have to worry about cash cards. If people don't like that then they can go privately (and get the same treatment but faster & a few more frills!)
Maggie x

Nuts in May