Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fast-food style health care

Wal-Marts and other convenient locations are opening up walk-in acute care clinics where patients can get quick treatment for simple ailments such as athlete's foot, or get a vaccination.

Critics complain that this will isolate patients from their doctors, but as somebody who's spent a lot of time uninsured, I think it's great. If you don't have a regular physician and you need acute care, it can be tough to find a doctor who accepts new patients -- especially uninsured new patients. And new-patient visits are often terribly expensive. Not to mention this puts people more in control of their health care spending.

The care is provided by nurse-practitioners with physician backup, which is the kind of inexpensive but high-quality care my family got at a local practice in Pennsylvania. Our doctor used physician assistants who saw most patients, and who called in the doctor when the patient's needs demanded more expertise. We got great care for only $35 a visit -- something that a hand-to-mouth family can manage. The social worker there also helped patients to get free medications through pharmaceutical company programs.

Sometimes cutting corners reduces the quality of care, but for simple ailments like athlete's foot, pinkeye, or a simple sinus infection, these places make sense. They give patients who couldn't otherwise afford to go to a doctor a chance to get care instead of suffering longer trying home remedies.


At 12:53 AM, Blogger achromic said...

Hey you, I just wanted to drop in before I go in to say hi and to tell you that of all the prolife people that I have met it has been you and your reasearch that has done the most to change my views. Not that I will probably ever be prolife but you made me question my leaders in this in a very harsh unforgiving light indeed. It has been your research that has gotten so many of us around here in my life buzzing around and talking. Because cold hard facts and dead bodies disturb even the most prochoice people.

You're an amazing lady indeed. One that I have been ever so pleased to have met. I cannot wait to come back and hear what more you have to say.

Peace and good health to you.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

achromic, thank you so much for your kind words. I really needed the boost. My dad passed away just this past Thursday. He'd been sick but we thought he was rallying and going to recover when he suddenly took a nosedive on us. We're just glad he didn't have a lingering, painful illness. But other than that we're still in shock, I think. He was 78 but his uncle lived to 82 and his mother to 97 so we were really hoping he'd pull through and have another 10-20 years with us. Well, God does answer all prayers. Just sometimes the answer is "No."

I'm so glad to count you among my friends. Hugs and blessings to you and yours.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

I agree walmart does not provide any decent health coverage. I hope they can work on this problem to provide great health insurance for many.


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