As I age, I seem to becoming a quite valuable commodity to the medical profession. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t really have a Doctor (certainly didn’t go to see him or her very often). As I reached my 30’s I started seeing one doctor regularly for check ups (and on occasion to repair a catastrophic joint issue caused by me thinking I was a much more talented athlete than I ever was), but now in my 50’s I seem to be a veritable growth industry for the medical profession.
I see various specialists now for many of the issues that an ageing out of shape man might need, and I keep wondering how does the money flow here? In Canada with socialized medicine I don’t really pay for the visits, however I do pay for the prescriptions that are given out, and I am wondering how much business (i.e. cash flow) is one beat down old Cajun Man creating in the medical world?
My guess is that my Family Doctor (who seems to now be more of a Medical Concierge than an actual medical practitioner) , who is at the center of a medical machine that is making some kind of “good will” or even “kick backs” for sending me to various specialists. What specialists you might ask?
- I have a Urologist on my speed dial thanks to my prostate (including a cancer scare a few years ago) and then an actual problem.
- Two other urologists who I saw for vasectomy
- An Orthopedist who specializes in knees, for my beat down knees
- An Orthopedist who specializes in shoulders for my torn rotator cuff
- A surgeon who ended up taking out my gall bladder (that was 15 years ago)
- Various different physiotherapy clinics for my ankles, knees, and shoulders. Note (so far) my back has been fine.
- An ophthalmologist who seems to enjoy occasional zaps with a laser for my stretching retinas.
I must be a valuable commodity, not to mention my Dentist who I think has a new addition on his house thanks to my bad oral hygiene (when I was younger). The biggest issue I think I have is that no matter how healthy anybody thinks they are if you look hard enough, and see enough specialists, they are going to find something wrong, and even worse, I don’t get a cut of any money made off my bad health. I should be able to send out a Request For Proposal and find the Doctor who will do the job for the right price. Yes, I am being facetious, or am I?
I guess the good thing about this all, is that it isn’t costing ME anything directly (just the taxes I pay for the medical system), other than my medical insurance. What do ageing folks do in the U.S. I wonder?
1. I am 48 and last year I had a major medical incident. Due to cancellations I was able to get in very quickly so the process from start to finish was approx 8’months. During that time my procedures were:
– GP Visit
– emergency room visit
– opthomologist appointment
– neurologist appointment plus 2 follow up appointments
– appointment with neurologist at specialty clinic
– 6 MRIs (one at hospital rest at private centres)
– lumbar puncture
– evoked potentials testing
– series of about 50 screenings of bloodwork of which I paid for one $25 test
– a specialty blood test that is “not covered” but since it was done in conjunction with the specialty clinic the $400 test cost me nothing.
All the above was a total cost of $50 (plus about $150 in parking which is another story). I can’t imagine how much this would have cost me as an American and the timelines were quite acceptable. The only appointment with a long wait time was the neuro-opthomologist who ended dying and there are only about 10 in all of Canada and now one less.
2. My family doctor’s office is changing their billing model. They currently bill per appointment and they are changing to an annual payment system based on their patient list. Pros and cons for the doctors and the clinic owners but for patients seems no big difference except one doctor quit the clinic and her patients are trying to find a replacement family doctor.
So my take on it is I have all the resources and god forbid I want IMMEDIATE attention I always have the option to go to US.
Your dentist’s and your specialists’ accountants probably do love you.
From what I’ve read, though, your GP doesn’t. The theory is a GP would rather see a person needing a flu shot or with a virus, quick, in and out, get the $30 than a person with multiple chronic or age-related issues, because they take an extra 5-10 minutes per visit but the fee they earn is the same. So fewer patients/hour and fewer $$ per hour. You’ll hear that some places it’s actually very difficult for older patients to get a doctor as some practices cherry pick the younger and healthier patients. (Obviously not all doctors are like that!)
We live in the USA and welcome Obamacare and are thankful for Medicare for this very reason. As much as people seem to believe women are the bigger users of health care, now that my husband has hit age 55 & beyond he has totally caught up with me in terms of doctors and procedures done, in just 2 years.
Yes, I thought I was in good shape, until I turned 48 then it seemed like my warranty wore out..