In 1991 my little family made a trip to San Bernardino, CA to see the folks. On the Sunday of the visit, we got breakfast at the Bob’s Big Boy Restuarant, (I think they are closed now.) My husband ordered eggs and hash browns. When the hash browns came out, I didn’t like the way they looked and told him they looked faintly blue.
Being the macho kind of guy he is; he went ahead and ate them anyway. On the drive back to the San Fernando Valley; he had to pull the car into the center median on the freeway, open up the car door and throw up on the pavement.
By the time we got home, he could barely walk up the stairs and was running a fever. The fever climbed to, I think, 102.
I made a call to my GP and told him what was going on. I told him we were short on cash and couldn’t really afford an ambulance, etc. The doctor called in a script for antibotics which I ran to get. The next day, my husband was almost completely well. I really doubt any doctor in town today would do that.
This week I had a flare up of lower colon inflammation. It took me a week to realize what it was. However; while at my usual medical offices, the nurse took my temperature and it was one degree elevated.
I then went to the front desk and asked to speak to my regular doctor’s nurse. She was in a meeting. Could I write down everything and they would give her a message?
An hour later, I got a message from the nurse that I should go to ER if the symtoms were bad. It was only a message so there wasn’t anyone to speak with.
I felt the symtoms were not good but that I could wait until the next day, Friday, to see a nurse in their system since my doctor is gone on Friday. I got onto the patient portal and picked an appointment for the next day. The appointment was for a different office.
When I got to there, I was informed that they cancelled the appointment because I was not an established patient in that office. After much back and forth, I advised the receptionist I would have to speak to someone and eventually the office manager came out. More words exchanged; i.e., why did they let me book an appointment if I couldn’t be seen? Lastly, I told her, my situation is getting worse and I need to see someone today. Both young ladies at the front desk kept pointing across the street to an ER clinic that was open and telling me I could walk in there.
At long last, the office manager managed to get me an appointment at yet another one of their clinics further away. I took the appointment; saw the nurse. She prescribed the usual antibiotics and I paid my copay of $35 and went to get the pills. A day later, I’m on the mend.
The cost for the walk in ER clinic would have been at least $100 to $150 dollars. The last time I was in a hospital ER (stuck contact lense) the cost was $1729. Mericifully, the insurance paid most of it.
So, the question remains; why are nurses and doctors both pushing hospital ER’s and walk in ER clinics? Are doctors not treating illness any more? Maybe just doing a lot of tests to be sure the patient is ‘on tract’ and prescribing medication refills. Not once since I have been with this medical provider did I have a conversation with the doctor over the phone. It is always a medical assistant or maybe a nurse. What is going on here?
Here are some satistics about the difference in the prices of hospital ER’s and private walk-in clinics. The walk-in clinics are much cheaper. Still, both are still more than a visit to your regular doctor with whom you have a relationship and wherr the office has all your health records. I have gone to ER’s only on weekends when the medical offices were closed. These days, I would not consider calling the doctor on a weekend short of death or dismemberment.
So, the last word here is the unbelievable journey I had to go on to get medical care on a Friday, not a holiday, when the medical offices were open and patients were being seen. I was pushed, pushed, pushed to go to a hospital ER room. I understand many doctors now take Fridays off, but really? So; in conclusion -just don’t eat any blue hash browns.
Statistics from Debt.org.
Condition Emergency Room Cost Urgent Care Cost
Allergies $345 $97
Acute Bronchitis $595 $127
Earache $400 $110
Sore Throat $525 $94
Pink Eye $370 $102
Sinusitis $617 $112
Strep Throat $531 $111
Upper Respiratory Infection $486 $111
Urinary Tract Infection $665 $112
The Annals of Internal Medicine study found that the average cost of an urgent care visit for three common illnesses — middle ear infection, pharyngitis and urinary tract infection — was $155. Other estimates place the average urgent care visit at anywhere from $71 to $125. The bottom line is that an urgent care visit is substantially cheaper than an emergency room visi