What raggedy ass Administrator came up with this one?
I recently read promo material for a new feature at a local hospital - an ER 'Quick Reg' process - that allows patients to make ER visit 'appointment times' online "and then wait comfortably in the privacy of their own homes until it's time to be seen."
While as a consumer, this may sound appealing, let's do a few reality checks...
* the idea of making an appointment to see a doctor is really nothing new - it's called a routine visit to your primary care physician, idiot!!
* by it's very definition, a medical emergency is an unscheduled acute change in the physical well being of an individual that has the potential to be life threatening.
Getting on your computer at that time shouldn't be a priority and, if it is and you can sit around 'comfortably' waiting for your time to then drive yourself 'comfortably' to the hospital, I can guarantee you it isn't an emergency and you should be driving your pathetic self to your doctors office - see first point, listed above!
* do you really want to be greeted in an ER by a maitre de instead of a triage nurse - and turned away because you don't have a reservation?
Or worse - as the fat clot from the last dozen Whoopers heads toward your only open cardiac valve or your brain, do you want to be placed behind people with a 'reservation time' before you - people who have had a generalized body rash since 1992, who stubbed their toe and the nail is discolored or the teenager who's been pulling on his penis so much that now it's chaffed?
* Are insurance companies even going to pay for an ER visit that's not a necessity? that didn't get approval from your primary doc in the first place?... leading the cost of the non-emergent, non approved ER visit to be billed to the patient, who won't be able to pay, leading the hospital to absorb the cost, leading to unreimbursed healthcare expenses, leading to jacked up costs for those of us with primary care and insurance.
Did said Administrator whose brilliant idea this was in the first place even get a reality check about these issues from anyone on the front lines?
I don't mind the expectation that 'consumers' of healthcare should be treated well and seen in a a timely fashion - geez, we start kissing their asses before they're ever put into a hospital gown as it is, but:
a) people who don't work in an ER shouldn't be making policy for those that do
and b) there has to be a time when 'consumerism' stops and 'common sense' prevails.
Deep cleansing breath...
thanks; I feel better now.
Then again, maybe I'd better make an appointment and drive myself to the ER to get my blood pressure checked!