On Saturday, while unloading the dishwasher its door bit me. By Wednesday, I had a rather nasty “weeping” hole in my leg. Obviously, this was not a good thing and something had to be done. Fortunately, I live in the State of Washington. Not only is the uninsured rate around eight percent (down from 14 percent thanks to Obamacare), but it has one of the most integrated systems anyone could want. Here starteth the adventure …
Normally I would simply go to my local clinic. Unfortunately, I had to pick the one day a year when all the staff from all of the clinics in the Tacoma area were to attend a meeting including the midtown urgent care. Decision time: Go to the urgent care clinic a half hour away when I was unfamiliar with the driving directions or brave the Emergency Room at Tacoma general sitting right where it was supposed to be downtown. So how was this different from most major city Emergency Rooms?
They have valet parking. You are already harassed, so you drive up and hand the nice person your keys and head for help. You walk up to a desk and give another nice person your name and birthdate and they talk to a computer that probably knows the score for my 5th grade English exam as well as address, phone, insurance, copays and all medical treatment and prescriptions received over the past ten years. Every part of the whole medical delivery complex is connected to that computerized information.
Please go to triage a nurse will see you. Yes you do need to be treated but it may be a long wait. Have a seat and we hope you have something to read. One of the disadvantages of not being about to expire is that the waiting times can be horrendous in hospital emergency rooms as everyone sicker goes ahead of you no matter when they arrive. This is why in Washington you go to your local clinic and provider first where you can be seen in 20 minutes instead of parking your carcass for three hours. Still the surroundings are un-crowded because of the clinic system and pleasant. They like the ocean and there are sea creatures all over the pleasant cream, beige, blue and green surroundings with serene music and a call signal that sometimes plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star … People actually laugh when this happens.
I was then told to follow the floor turtles … The starfish and seahorses go elsewhere … to spend the next three hours in the company of Melissa and Juanita (RN & PA) getting an antibiotic drip and X-Rays. The end result of all of the above is that I had the best healthcare money can buy from some of the most professional people available anywhere. The doctor came in for about 30 seconds to make sure the staff under his supervision were doing exactly what was expected. Oh and Juanita really, really knows her business. 🙂
Thanks to being fully insured, all of the above costs me about $100 a month out of my Social Security, a $50 emergency room copays, and 20 percent of the bill not to exceed $3,500. Thus the leg is mending and debtors prison is not in my future. I can only hope that everyone in the US will some day be as fortunate.