For many of those against Healthcare Reform, waste and fraud seem to be the two keywords they use the most. No one can deny the extent to which these are real issues. To illustrate, let me tell you about my Doctor’s visit the other day.
I’d had reconstructive surgery on my upper and lower sinuses that involved the doctors making an incision and peeling my face back. Since then I’d been experiencing a lot of pain due to post-operative inflammation.
As I was leaving, the nurse took me aside. They’d forgotten to have me sign a release form because I’d been prescribed painkillers. After asking me about my injury, she told me that they had 120 patients on pain medication, but that out of all 120 patients only I and one other patient actually needed them. This begs the question — why then were they writing prescriptions for addictive narcotics for the other 118 people.
I could only come to one conclusion — because of the insurance payouts, both public and private. How many dollars has our government spent on filling these scripts for drug addicts?
Let me give you a little more background. I was in to get prescription for pain medication refilled and get my sinus problem checked on, both of which had to do with my surgery, which left me with pain in my face. I have screws in my cheekbones, one of which has been replaced with titanium. There is a good deal of scar tissue and I often experience pain and inflammation. My doctors had overlooked having me sign the standard pain management form for two years. Basically, by signing the form, you agree to take your medication, agree to be drug tested to see if you are taking it, and agree that you wont see another doctor for the same problem.
I can only assume that they prescribe these medications to keep patients coming back so that they can bill them. The nurse’s honesty was truly shocking. Sadly, too, family practitioners are having a harder time turning a profit than ever. This can lead to other problems. Doctors allowing themselves to become ‘good doctors’ to turn a little extra profit are overprescribing medications. While healthcare reform has touched upon the issue of the over-prescription of pain medication in rural areas like the one where I live, Congress needs to take further action. While waste and fraud do exist, and are often used to describe healthcare reform, there is a good deal of waste and fraud that still exist within the reformed system that we still need to work on. Reform should be an ongoing process. IT didn’t end with Obama signing the bill.