Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Doctor my eyes

My eye is exploding. It's been bothering me for a while. The last 2 Docs I was assigned by Kaiser both told me to use an over-the-counter product, that it was no big deal.

This weekend, spent in San Diego, it really started to flare up. I used buckets full of the over-the-counter product (OK, it's Bausch & Lomb Opcon-A, which I just discovered is sourced generically by several companies). But today, my eye is still really bothering me, and if it isn't better tomorrow, I'll go see the doc.

Which brings me to this from Canada:
More than 14 million Canadians a year visit hospital emergency rooms. Tales of interminable waits for care are legion.

But, now, for the first time, the Canadian Institute for Health Information has published actual data on ER waiting times and, on the surface at least, the waits don't seem too bad.

The research, for 2003-2004, the latest available, shows that half of emergency room patients are treated by a doctor in less than one hour.

"The median wait time is 51 minutes," said Jennifer Zelmer, vice-president of research and analysis at CIHI, a non-profit organization.

One in 10 patients waited less than 10 minutes for medical care while another one in 10 languished for three hours or more before being seen by an emergency room physician.

There's other data there that persuades the reader that the system isn't perfect. And neither is Kaiser Permanente's. But there is one really essential difference: I PAY DIRECTLY FOR HEALTH CARE!!

Since I am self-employed, I pay for our own health insurance. We have a deal through the Musician's Union for a group Kaiser rate. It costs us $780 per month. For that I expect a limo, a foot massage, a glass of champagne, and some camembert. Instead I will wait longer than our northern brothers, and get fairly good treatment.

Makes sense to me.

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