This comes from a regular physician reader of the Authentic Medicine Blog:
Around Christmas time, a family member on Medicare went to her “Local Mega HMO Clinic” because she was still anemic from bleeding hemorrhoids which had been operated on successfully several months ago. They NEVER checked her B12 levels, just iron and hemoglobin levels. This does not surprise me because a B12 injection costs less than $2, but a blood transfusion is like red gold. But that isn’t the real outrage hereSo she goes to get yet another blood transfusion at the clinic and has an allergic reaction this time. Her provider deems it appropriate to transfer her to the hospital next door (of course, we can correctly assume this brand new hospital is attached directly to the clinic so the clinic can bill higher rates). Because this is a small town, the clinic/hospital is correspondingly small, too. To walk between the front doors of the clinic and hospital is maybe 500 feet on the outside, even less inside. They called the ambulance crew to put her in a gurney and take her over to the hospital. She just asked if she could walk over there herself or if her husband could wheel her over in a wheel chair via the indoor corridor. She was then informed that “due to HIPAA regulations she had to be transported via gurney in an ambulance.” She was loaded into the ambulance which ceremoniously drove all the way behind and around the complex and then ended up back at the front, but other door. She and her husband were so disgusted by this theatrical antic imposed on them that her husband sarcastically asked if it wouldn’t have been better to helicopter her next door. The head nurse in all seriousness replied, “Oh no we can’t. It is too foggy to fly today.”
Does anyone need to ask why our healthcare costs are skyrocketing out of control?
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