These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hospital Payment for Ratings

One of the latest gobment schemes to “improve” medical care is to start paying hospitals based on patient ratings.  You know those rating surveys you get after you have been in the hospital, the emergency room or had outpatient services?  Someone actually tallies those up and scores each hospital based on “patient satisfaction”. 

This has absolutely nothing to do with how good your medical care is when you are seen.  It has to do with how you think your care was. You get to rate the food, the attitude of your providers, the cleanliness of the facility, etc. 

If you don’t like the things you were told, you can give the hospital a low rating.  Unfortunately, many of those things are things you need to be told.  Things like:

1.     You don’t need to go to the emergency room for a problem you have had for months and months.

2.     A cold will get better on its own.  Antibiotics do not help.  Really.  They just increase your risk of other problems.  Like bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics or diarrhea from the medications.

3.     The pain scale only goes to ten out of ten.  You can’t have a pain of twenty or thirty out of ten.  If your pain is ten, you shouldn’t be able to sit quietly and text on your cell phone.  Tears and difficulty breathing should be involved. 

4.     Coming to the emergency room for the same problem over and over for the same problem is a waste of money and time.  That’s what doctor’s offices are for.  Unless they tell you to come back, follow up with YOUR doctor.

5.     Coming by ambulance does not get you seen sooner.  It also costs a lot of money.  If you need emergency services, call them.  If not, don’t.

6.     Yelling, screaming or being abusive to the staff doesn’t get you anywhere.  In fact, they think of ways to make you miserable.   They may not do any of them, but they think …

7.     Not all female personnel are nurses.  Not all male personnel are doctors.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  I am a female who got my M.D. in 1980.  Yup, over 30 years ago.  I still get mistaken for a nurse.  It doesn’t make me happy. 

8.     Waiting is part of the system.  Plan on it.  It doesn’t matter what you are there for.  Emergencies happen.  The person with the heart attack or gunshot is going to be seen before a fever or rash.  It’s called triage.  BRING SOMETHING TO DO.  I always have a book and my crochet bag.  I have made many scarves and worked on blankets at doctor’s and dentist’s offices, while waiting for procedures to be done, etc. 

We need to get over our “drive through”, instant gratification mentality.  Medicine doesn’t work that way.  Most times it’s a process.  There are a lot of people involved.  The doctors and nurses have to wait for your lab work, your x-rays, your records etc.  Sometimes they are waiting to see how a particular treatment worked.  Your consultant doctor may be in surgery or in a delivery or busy with someone who is “bleeding out”. 

So long as you get the best care you can when it is your turn, anticipate the wait.  Use the time wisely.   Don’t get upset.  Meditate.  Read a book or write one.  Your attitude makes a difference about the whole experience.  Then you can give them a better grade, too.

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