RANT – Patient First

private jet in flight clipart2017, 24 January I flew to Mexico.  Just a few days prior to this I had a scratchy throat.  I thought perhaps it was from a few get togethers with friends where I laughed, and talked, a lot.

By 27 January I was miserable, cold/flu symptoms, difficulty breathing, tightness in chest, congestion, coughing.  I felt awful so I went to a doctor.  He told me I had an infection in my lungs; bronchitis or pneumonia I guess.  He prescribed an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and an expectorant.

I got a little better, but I was sick and miserable the whole time I was away.

On 2 February I flew back to Richmond.  BIG mistake.  3 February I stayed in bed all day. Everything had resurfaced, and it also  moved into my ears.

4 February, a Saturday, I knew I needed to see a doctor.  I knew I couldn’t get in for several days if I called my regular doctor, so thought ER was my only option.

imagesBut No, here in Richmond there is a franchise called Patient First.  You use them for non-emergency stuff.  This is from their webpage – Providing non-appointment, physician-directed urgent care to: Midlothian, Chesterfield County, Robious, Hylton Park, Ramsgate, Old Gun, Tinsleys, Forest Hill, Bon Air, Salisbury, Staffordshire, and Powhatan County.

I contacted my Health Insurance to see if I was covered…If the physician (Scxxx Grxxxxxxxx) was in my Plan.  He was, which meant a $40USD co-pay.

So Tom drove me, we waited, maybe 45 minutes after I filled out the reams of paperwork, and let them run my credit card, which you must do else leave.  I was told they would only bill what my insurance didn’t pay.  I did not understand then what that would mean..  Then I was taken in to a large space with lots of workstations in the center, and a ring of small exam rooms around the perimeter.

I was shown to a room and an intake person came in and asked about my symptoms, and took my height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc.  Then another person came in and started doing things, no conversation or explanations; just throat swab, nose swab,  breath test, then I was told they had to do an xray to be sure my lungs were clear.  Now mind you I am sick, not feeling well at all, and not in a good place to be thinking clearly about what is going on.  Oh, and all this is without having yet seen a doctor, or being advised of separate charges for each of these pokes and prods.

So all these things are done, and I am back in the exam room.  I don’t know for how long because I fell asleep.   So the doctor comes in, a brief greeting and starts reading off a computer monitor and advises me I do not have strep, Influenza A, or B, and that my lungs are clear.  He then asks me about my symptoms and how I feel. He listens to my heart and lungs. He proclaims I have bronchitis and prescribes something to fight bacterial infection,

So on my way out I asked for a printout of the bill, a receipt.

I was devastated to see this –

  • 46usd, strep test
  • 41usd Influenza A test
  • 41usd Influenza B test
  • 113usd xray Chest, PA, Lat
  • 45usd peak flow measure
  • 213usd office visit
  • 66usd extended hours charge
  • _______
  • 565usd     and here I thought I was seeing a doctor for a 40usd copay.

I received notification several weeks later from my insurance company that they would not cover 257.97usd.  then right quickly I received from Patient First that they had billed the balance to my credit card.  And they did do exactly that.

So my warning, do not use Patient First, because you definitely do not come first. Not a single aide, nurse, or doctor actually introduced themselves.  And not a single person explained what they were doing, that it would incur an additional cost, or that I had any choice or say so in the matter.

By the way, this treatment plan, 10days, did not resolve the issue.  I ended up seeing the PA at my doctor’s office and went on a prednisone treatment that did eventually resolve the infection in my chest.

So there you have my rant about PatientFirst.  Perhaps had I not been sick and so debilitated I’d have had my senses about me and dealt with the treatment differently.  I was sick, and therefore feel the ‘medical professionals’ bear some responsibility for not understanding the nature of these things and being more forthcoming and outright in their treatment.

About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends. Then in 2016 I moved to Richmond, Virginia, USA. Culture shock continues.
This entry was posted in Everyday Stuff, medical care, medical costs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to RANT – Patient First

  1. Welcome to the anti-health care system of good ol’ USA! The name of the game is unbundling and making separate (and outrageous) charges for each item. And to over-use diagnostic tests, and add extra charges such as after hours whenever possible. Hah! Nearly every other country except Third World ones have better care systems than we do. And our POTUS now says he’s fixing ours to make it the best in the world! Dream on US citizens . . . the only fix is single payer.

  2. Pardon me, but this is a hoot. What happened to the all-inclusive glories of Obamacare? It hasn’t been overturned yet.

    I recommend heading straight to Mexico with a health issue. We treat you right. We surely would not treat you like Patient First.

    • ah sr miguel, don’t be so amused. I don’t have ACA, I have private insurance.
      I sincerely agree with you as to the quality and affordability of health care in mexico, as long as you do your due diligence and vet the practioners you choose to use. there are some serious shysters out there.

  3. blakestyger says:

    On another note, I am doing a tumblr blog called the Archeotourist. Here is the link http://blakestyger.tumblr.com/
    I would be in your debt if you would check it it out and tell me what you think. My latest site write up is for Coba.

    • I did go look at your post on Coba. It is incredibly thorough and well done. easy to read, no overly technical. you are going to appeal to a small market of like minded archeotourists. Way to long and too much detail for the average reader. would make a great pamphlet for use while at the site. wish I’d had access to it when I was there.
      well done, keep it up.
      have you read this guys stuff, http://cookjmex.blogspot.com/

  4. blakestyger says:

    I don’t know if you used the healthcare system in Mexico, but Colleen and I did for a variety of issues. Our experience was so positive; easy to get appointments, doctors often US trained who spoke English, excellent interaction with the doctor (they would often talk to us for 45 minutes to understand our concerns), never paid more than $75 for an office visit, medications that were a fraction of the cost in the US. OMG do we miss Mexican Health Care. We have Kaiser here in VA, and while it is OK, our costs are probable triple what we were paying before, appointments can take weeks to get, and when we do see “our” doctor we have yet to have an interaction lasting longer than 10 minutes. The US health industry may get the job done but it is coldly impersonal, expensive, and often frustrating.

  5. Shirley Whitelaw says:

    And if you had Canadian style health care, you would not have paid anything other than your monthly premium. Care is always available at Emergency after hours and there are walk-in clinics available.
    I do not understand why the USA doesn’t get with the program and copy Canadian, British, Scandinavian, even Mexican health care plans. It may not be perfect but no one is denied health care by big business health ins companies.
    The most a family of 4 with income over $30,000 CAD would pay in British Columbia is $1,800 yr.

    My partner was just diagnosed with bronchitis and pneumonia. Saw a Dr on a Thursday, got a chest X-ray and onto antibiotics the next day. Cost $0. Cured in 10 days.

    • yes indeed, I hear fabulous reports about canadian health care. I have heard some horror stories too, so there are allways upsides and downsides.

      • Shirley Whitelaw says:

        It’s not perfect, but for everyday and emergency health needs it works pretty well. No one would ever be forced to lose their home because of a health problem!
        Wait times for some tests and surgeries are longer sometimes but not for emergency care.

    • Shirley, you pay more than your monthly premiums for Canadian healthcare. You pay in higher taxes. People tend to overlook that detail.

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