Thursday, October 29, 2009

No Wonder it Costs So Much

I'll get to the title in a bit.

Today's mission (see the last post) was successfully accomplished. The surgery went well, now my friend the cop has to endure weeks of rehab torture. I had to sign a form that promised that that I would do a lot of things that I may not actually do to spring him (they won't let you leave unless a responsible adult promises to hang for 24 hours - I've reached the age of majority). The walk from my car to the front door was a bit slow; but, it was successfully accomplished. The cop is sleeping peacefully, aided by a couple of pills.

I haven't been in a hospital in a while. Piedmont Hospital here in Atlanta may not be typical; but, it is huge - a warren of halls in a hodge-podge of wings. When I went this afternoon to pick up my charge, I went to where I dropped him off this morning. The receptionist sent me from there to the "main waiting room" where I checked in again. The path took me though halls with labs, patient rooms, conference rooms, etc. Tons of workers in all of them (but no security that I could see). I realized by looking out a window on to Peachtree Street when I got there that I'd walked about a city block (the whole hospital takes up three or four blocks). From there I was directed to the recovery room which is better described as the recovery "wing," another half a block away. Piedmont is doing a booming surgery business. Again workers everwhere you looked (and again no security that I saw). In the recovery wing there was probably a two or more to one ratio of nurses/aides to patients.

Back to the title, all those halls, labs, rooms and people reminded me of why health care is so expensive. One nice thing, you get friendly people when you spend that kind of money. I didn't see a worker during my journey that didn't make eye contact and smile.


Lifehiker said...

I really like the last line of your post. They've got the right kind of religion there at Piedmont.

Conversely, I visited a fine Rochester hospital twice in the early morning hours today, taking in two patients to the emergency room. In the adult ward, nobody smiled. They were more friendly in pediatric.

As far as cost goes, neither patient probably needed a trip to the hospital. Both could easily have seen their personal physicians in the morning, with no ill effects from the wait. But our culture of defensive medicine treats every event as a possible tragedy, so off goes the ambulance and into the ER it goes. The combined bill for EACH patient, neither of which likely needed treatment, probably totalled $2,000. What price, peace of mind!

Sonja's Mom said...

I had eye surgery last week. Everyone was very professional but not overly friendly. Until they found out who I was (a long time nurse recognized the name)- the wife of a doctor. I was then given royal treatment. I don't think that should have mattered. If you can give one patient royal treatment, why can't you give everyone royal treatment?

I haven't seen a bill yet but I'm sure it will be a real eye opener.

Cops are my favorite people - glad he is doing well.

Jeni said...

With respect to the size and amount of walking you did in this hospital -reminded me of the trips daughter Mandy and I have made over the past three years to Pittsburgh (surgery and check-up visits with my surgeon) to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I think UPMC at the local where we've been is like three, maybe four hospitals in one. It's huge anyway and very confusing. I'm lucky if we can find our way to my doctor's office and we are both really lucky if we can find our way back to the garage -remembering which one -where the car is parked. One visit, we did get lost in the garage and trust me, walking around on those parking ramps, it is like Bill Cosby says about old times and walking to school "Uphill, both ways!" Took us almost an hour going up and down ramps, finding another sub-section of the garage, (lather, rinse, repeat). All I know is I really got my exercise in on those trips!

Dr Jenn said...

glad the operation was a success and I wish your friend Cop a speedy recovery!

dr sardonicus said...

Take it from me, the more money you spend on health care doesn't necessarily translate to a more friendly staff.

Best wishes to your friend; may he get well soon.

Dave said...

Thanks for your well wishing. Last report, the heavy stuff wore off and he's got a bit of pain, the text I got this morning was "Word for the day: Ouch!" He was alive this afternoon when I called, a bit stir crazy.

fermicat said...

Good luck to your friend and a speedy recovery!

I work in healthcare. Piedmont is typical of a GOOD hospital (no, I do not work at that particular facility, but I have been there). I can say with certainty that there is a heavy emphasis on patient satisfaction these days. We live and die by our Press-Ganey ratings. My employer asks us to be as friendly and helpful to patients as we can possibly be.