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11 September 2009

Nationalized Health Care

Did you know that within our Country we already have it? It isn't "nationalized" but it is there. Ask any active duty military family what their health care is like. Anyone who says it's a wonderful program, that they have no complaints is either 1) one of the extreme few who have a great clinic and haven't been in the service for very long -or- 2) have what is called TriCare Standard. What is TriCare Standard? Basically it is the military's health insurance just privatized. Meaning that they have co-pays for everything and do no have to use the military facilities to have their medical needs met. They can use ANY Physician as long as they are in the TriCare Network (which is most in military communities). They also DO NOT need to have referrals unless it is for specialized care (i.e. therapies, ENT specialists, Cardiology, ect.).

True, we do not have to pay much for our care. Any thing on base/post is free. We never have to worry about NOT having health insurance. True, there are some absolutely wonderful doctors at military facilities, but they are few and far between. So, let me tell you how life really is!

When Zada was about a 6 months old, we were stationed at Hunter Army Air Field. This was out first permanent assignment. We were ASSIGNED to Dr. Rodriguez, the only pediatrician on post there. Zada was not gaining weight and no matter was, she always seemed to have loose poo. He never said anything, so I figured, it was ok. Nothing to worry about. She's only 6 months old, so nothing gained in 2 months isn't terrible. I was still nursing her, so maybe that was the her poo issue. She did get longer. After Zada's 12 month visit, and still no weight gained, I said something about it. He said that her weight was just fine. When I brought up that she hadn't gained any weight in quite some time, he finally went through her records, and sure enough...mom's not as dumb as the doctor thinks!

He sent us to a nutritionist. She told me that we have to try everything possible to get her to gain weight. We were instructed to give her anything she wanted to eat, ice cream after dinner, fry anything and everything we can think of...do you see where I am going with this? And they wonder why we as a nation are having weight issues!...so we followed the instructions to a very small extent. We did giver her whole milk whenever she wanted it, gave her tons of carbs, if it wasn't healthy and could help her gain weight, we did it.

It didn't work! The nutritionist saw her 3 times and there never was a single bit of weight change. I resorted to talking to my mom to see if she had any ideas. She said to try switching her cow milk to goat milk. We gave that a try. Low and behold, she started gaining weight. Never once did anyone ever think to test her for any allergies.

Fort Gordon, GA KateLynn is having ear pain and has thrown up. She's sent home from school. Knowing how KateLynn reacts to ear infections, I know what is going on, take the flashlight out to take a peak, and sure enough - DARK RED!!! I call the clinic to see if we can get her in to be seen and on some antibiotics. They have an opening in the Acute Care Clinic.

We go in, visit with the nurse, she leaves, the doctor comes in. I told her what I knew and that she her which ear was infected (been too long to remember which side it was). She looked at me and says, "I highly doubt that she has an ear infection. She doesn't have a fever and she threw up. She probably just has a viral infection". She humors me and looks anyways.

She looks in the sore side and then the other and proceeds to say, "Well she might be a little red". (Score one for mom again.) "I think all that she needs is a decongestant." After being asked to look again she tells me that it is a bit redder but that is probably just from the otoscope. I had to demand that she prescribe antibiotics and listen to her tell me that they won't do any good and that I would just be causing her body to become resistant to future antibiotics.

The only medication that I gave to KateLynn was a bit of Tylenol when we had gotten home and a full course of Penicillin. Guess what??? Her ear was feeling better by the end of her antibiotic!

Hunter Army Air Field. Zada doesn't meet milestones like she should. At 15 months her speech has plateaued. She has a lot of strange behavior such as screaming when the sun shines on her (out of the blue and not every time), spins constantly, can not make eye contact (the list goes on). Make an appointment, Doc (yes, same one as before) says there is nothing wrong, it's all in our heads, and stop worrying about nothing. Mom and dad's intuition says different! No one else will see her, so we CAN NOT have a second opinion.


We move to Fort Gordon, Augusta, GA. New docs!!!!!!! We are so excited! We can have a second opinion Finally!!!! Zada is now 3. Family doctor (who's name escapes me) we were assigned to listens to us, expresses his concern, and books an appointment for us with the Developmental Pediatrician. We finally feel validated at the fact that it isn't all in our heads! Just want to say that this Family Doctor (yes on post!) is one that we wanted to clone, pack him in a suitcase and take him with us when we moved! But he moved first :(

April 2004 we had such a weight lifted from our shoulders when we were seen by the Developmental Pediatrician. We had answers finally and a diagnosis. PDD-NOS. We were then able to get the help that Zada desperately needed. We were asked to book an appointment to see how things were progressing in 6 months.

*Take mental note that records at this time are electronic and paper in hand*

October 2006, same Developmental Pediatrician. He has no clue who we are. Claims to not have ever seen Zada or given her a diagnosis OR set up her therapies that she had been doing for the previous almost 6 months!

You have got to be kidding me, you are thinking, right? Nope!

All of this, when HIS report from her last visit with HIM is sitting in his hands as well as staring at him in the face on his computer screen! He then walked out of the room and went to see his next patient.

I had not idea where to go from there. Our family doctor was 2 desks away, so seeing him out signing some paperwork between patients I quick grabbed a word and asked for his opinion. He sent me to the Patient Representative.

Lola.....ahhhhhh, we knew each other by face in passing by the time we moved!

She was AWESOME!!!! She took massive amounts of notes, and assured me that she would call me back within 72 hours and let me know what was going on. She did even better! By the time I got home, I had a message on my machine confirming that the jerk of a doctor did see her, her diagnosis was written in her file, as well as everything else that he has set up.

Yup! I'm not as dumb as I was beginning to think I was!

She ended up getting approval from our family doctor and worked with him to get TriCare to allow Zada to be seen off post! She even set up our appointment for us! I just LOVE Lola!!! Zada was able to receive civilian care

Goodfellow Air Force Base, where we now have been for slightly over 2 years, *shaking head* where do I begin!

All kids need to establish patient status, referrals need to be obtained for Zada and Emma (Zada for Pediatric Psychiatry and Emma for the local Cleft team). Nothing...absolutely no appointments are available until at least the next month. Problem is, they can't even pull up the next months schedule for another week or so. I at least can get the referrals taken care of over the phone. So I thought! The referral wasn't what we needed. They (the Pediatrician), figured that a Pediatric Psychologist would be better. That's fine and dandy, but Zada needs meds and a Psychologist can not prescribe medicine, and Zada is running out. So that gets corrected, only by going through...guess who?? The Patient Rep!

We are finally hooked up where we need to be. But, now we run into another problem! LOL! We are now waiting on school records from the other school before Zada can be seen by the doc. No meds. We call for an appointment, still nothing on base. Patient Rep comes to the rescue again! He is able to get another doc, not the pediatrician to write a prescription for us to tie us over! Thank you SGT! It does take a few days, but it got done!

Same location!

Right after school starts, Zada is sent home from school with red eyes. Allergies. Nothing more than that. Know how I know??? Haha! It's normal for her, not to mention pink eye causes sever oozing and crusting, none of which she had.

I call the clinic, and wouldn't you know, no appointments! They give us a referral to ImidiaCare (sp?). Where we sit for 4 hours...........had to call Rich to pick Katie up from school. He drops her off at the "doctor" with me where we sit and wait until after 5 when we were FINALLY called back.

Seriously, when there are 4 doctors and next to no patients, why on earth would it take so long?

Doctor confirmed what I knew, sent us home with antibiotic drops "just in case", benadryl, and a note stating she could resume school the next day. Never needed the drops!

Goodfellow, yet again!!!

Trice is running a fever. No biggie, I'll just bring it up the next day at her wellness check (I know amaingly I got one!). During that night she has a hard time sleeping and starts complaining that her ear is hurting her. I give her a dose of Tylenol, tell her I'll check it in the morning, and tuck her back into bed. Next morning when I take a peek (I now have my own otoscope by this time) - Beet red! Good thing I have an appointment!

Appointment starts late...really late. Doc takes forever to come in. It's cold and flu season at this time, so it doesn't surprise me at all. When the Ped finally comes in, she asks what's wrong, I tell her. She looks at me and asks if I am a doctor. No, I'm just a mom with 4 kids and have seen my fair share of ear infections, so I know what I am looking for. She proceeds to tell me that she is sure it isn't an ear infection.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it!

She proceeds to shove, with force, the otoscope in the sore ear, causing Trice to cry and says, "it might be red". Might???? It either is or it isn't. Right?! Looks in the other ear (the non-red one), "Oh! She does have one doesn't she"! Hahaha! She's covering her butt! LOL!

Late July 2009, again goodfellow.

Knowing I can book wellness checks 45 days in advance, I try to book Regin's 2 month appointment. I'm told that I can't. He's not in the system. No biggie. We already did DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System), and hadn't done TriCare enrollment yet. I planned to do that the following day, so I'll just make the appointment then. Well, I find out I can enroll online, so I tried to do that only to find that he wouldn't be covered for 60 days! I walked into our local office to see if we could get the date sooner. Find out, he is covered from the day of birth, no matter what!

Things got busy with getting ready for school, so mid-August rolls around and I call to make his appointment. Nothing at all is available. Immunizations have to be done with an appointment I am told for the 2 month set. So now I have to worry about that.

He turned 2 months this last Monday, so you know what I did??? I walked in on Tuesday morning! They were going to do his shots regardless! You can not deny that right. The techs are all able to give Imunizations. And I wasn't about to have him late on this schedule! Much to my delight, they had a major rule change and Immunizations were now walk in again! *whew*

So we did shots....sat in the waiting room for the 20 minutes required for observation, and a phone call come in! Not to me, but for the Peds clinic. Someone was canceling! Well, when I was waiting for the nurse to do shots I checked again to see if they had any wellness openings, and nothing. Knowing that I needed one, the cancellations spot was offered to me and I took it! It was for today, Friday!!!!!!!
You guessed it!!!! Goodfellow AFB!

Today, Regins 2 month apt. I arrived 20 minutes early. Checked in, did the needed paperwork and milestone list. I was the only patient there. 2 others were there. One waiting for a test result from the previous day and one needing a prescription, that should have been put in the day before. All things the nurse could take care of.

I was taken back right at my appointment time! All rooms were empty. The nurse was awesome! Same one that did his shots on Tuesday (she let me nurse during the shots!!). She left and we waited for the doctor. Waited, and waited, and waited...did I mention waited? We waited 45 minutes!!!! The pediatrician (same one as mentioned before for each of the Goodfellow visits), asks her normal questions. Leaves. 10 minutes later she comes back and checks him over. Normal stuff. But was so mean!

As she is checking him over Emma is watching everything. She is Regin's protector! He was smiling at and watching Emma. Well the doc didn't like that and told him that he needs to stop looking at his sister and pay attention to her. Seriously! He's 2 months old! Like he understands! Besides...he loves his sister!

She says she wants to check his reflexes, so grabs his hands lifts him so that his head is 2 inches off of the table and drops him back. She wasn't holding his hands when she did this, she completely let go of him and allowed him to drop back! He cries. Poor thing! She wouldn't even let me comfort him! She did this twice!!!

Then she checks his bits and pieces. She is so rough and pinching things that he is crying and in tears. The whole time telling him he needs to stop moving that he is wiggling too much and the more he wiggles the longer it is going to take.

Yes! I am still trying to scrape my jaw off the floor!

She tells me that she is going to put in a RX for vitamins for him, that even though I am breastfeeding, that he isn't getting all of the vitamins that he needs. Who let this lady graduate med school??????? She also put in for some more saline drops as I am almost out and his allergies are acting up.

(Oh yeah, I forgot about that!) She claims babies don't get allergies before the age of 1! If so, why does Zyrtec have liquid for infants as young as 6 months???? Answer that was Dr. Nance! And if it is true, why when mine are acting up, and his sisters are acting up, AND his dad's are acting up - does he have a bad runny nose????

Sorry, I hate doctors that think they know better than mom where mom is right!

Anyways, we check in at the pharmacy and wait. And wait and wait...40 minutes! I go to the check in to find out what is going on. The doc didn't put anything into the computer yet and I have to wait until she does! 20  minutes later the head nurse for the clinic sees that I am pretty upset, and has walked by me several times while I was waiting and trying to get Regin to calm down after his "exam", asks what is wrong. I told her about the prescription, who was supposed to do it, what it was for. She says she will take care of it.

5 minutes later comes back and tells me that said doctor has a pile on her desk that she was supposed to put into the computer, including ours. She put it in herself, and it should be ready very soon. I wish I had gotten her name, I really do. It was ready not 5 minutes later!

Yes we have had some good experiences. Most have been quite horrible though. This isn't even all of them. These are just the ones that are the most vivid in my memory. But this is how it will be for the rest of the nation should the Presidents plan pass.

Don't get me wrong, I think he has good intentions, in the fact that people need health care and it needs to be affordable and accessible . But this is NOT the way to do it.

Want the current plan broken down for you?  See this.


Our House said...

I loved this post. It was such a good view of universal healthcare. Before we joined the military, I already had a pretty good idea of it from living in another country (New Zealand). It takes a lot of arrogance to assume that America could get universal healthcare "right", when no other country has.....and stupidity to think we can get it "right" when we already can't in the military.

garciagirl82 said...

You are very lucky to have insurance with all of the health problems your children have had to face. God bless!

DiPaola Momma said...

OH I hear ya.. I was active duty Navy when #1 was born. It was HELL to deal with military doctors... I should have known this when I had seizures during labor and had a "nurse" (I DOUBT if she was really that) called a code for my unborn child. If the doctor had not walked in the room as I seized the second time they would have shocked me! #1 and #2 do Have Tri-Care standard now and I like it.. well accept for the fact that they can NEVER get billing right. My other two have FEHB (federal employee health benefits) and that system is beyond comprehensions. In the end though I haven't had to choose between a home and meds. That said I agree that maybe a Gov run program is a really bad idea. Perhaps some really serious regulation of what can be charged.. AND what can be awarded in compensation.. I don't claim to have the answers but I look at friends like Melissa and I KNOW we have to do SOMETHING! Thanks for posting and linking up!!