Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Family medicine in Ontario: The human car wash

My recent close encounters with modern socialized medicine have not been horrible, so I've become somewhat emboldened to embrace the system.

But in my own way.

I have need of a number of medical interventions, specifically tests. I haven't had a physical for three years, and I haven't had a proper physical since the kids were small, nearly twenty years ago. My current sawbones, The Worst Family Doctor in Ontario, is adverse to looking at my vagina so I don't think his physical exams really count.

When I complained to the Ontario College of Family Physicians, I was informed that if I wanted to take my complaint further, they would provide my name to the doctor who would promptly fire me a a patient. So I didn't follow through.

That's right, I chickened out.

What's most maddening is that he's next to useless because he cancels his appointments all the time. I guess it's because his wife's a baby doctor. I'm hoping it's not because he's just a lazy SOB.

Anyway, I have all these tests and I don't want anything to do with him. So I'm thinking of a plan to have them done through a walk in clinic, which is my next alternative.

There's a big sign at the walk in that says that patients can only see a doctor for one procedure or complaint at a time. So I told Scott I'm going to go to the clinic, line up, see the doctor, then lineup again, until I get everything done. I figure this will take me approximately three days to get: PAP, blood pressure, urine test, breast exam, as well as the ordering of the cholesterol test, thyroid, general bloodwork, etc.

I better bring a drink and a sandwich, as it took nearly four hours to see a doctor the other day, just for him to tell me I had a virus.

Secretly, I'm hoping that the receptionist will get so tired of me llining up that she'll force the doctor to see me for the whole ball of wax. I think it's worth a try.

In the meantime, here's what I found out about what it will cost. This information was provided by the College Square Clinic in Toronto.

Family Physicians receive $17.75 for a routine office visit. For more complex problems, they receive $30.20, regardless of the time spent with the patient.

OHIP pays $58.20 for a complete physical exam (once a year) and approximately $51.70 per half hour of counseling.

OHIP does not pay the doctor's expenses which include rent, computers, medical equipment, staff etc. OHIP does not pay them anything if you do not show up for your appointment.

Needless to say, the money for rent and Hydro has to come from somewhere.

So the way I've got it figured out, a doctor can make a little more than $100 a half hour if he sees you, the patient, for five minutes. Versus, say the $50 bucks he spends with you doing a physical exam.

If the clinic operates for 10 hours, the doc make $2,130 for treating family medicine as a human car wash. If the doctor gave patients the time they needed, and GOT TO KNOW THEM, he'd make half that amount.

Hmmm, maybe that explains why The Worst Doctor in Ontario doesn't want to do physical exams! A physical exam would cut into his pizza money, that's for sure.

He can also make more money with his foot clinic, where my friend Bob goes to get his toenails clipped because he's a diabetic. TWFDO charges Bob $40 bucks for five minutes work, which is almost as much as he gets to do my damned physical.

Where's the incentive for these nobs to do proper health care?

I digress.

Any, so I figure that it will cost the system twice as much if I follow through with my plan of lining up over three days to get all my medical needs looked after at a clinic.

But at least it will be done.

I'd love to see someone come into family practice and just do physical exams on all us poor schmucks who need them. It would cost the system a lot less than the piece work they pay doctors these days. It would help prevent serious illnesses and diseases by nipping them at the early stage. And that doctor would be the most loved doctor in Ontario.

As opposed to mine.

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