The first thing I notice are the dark circles under Mr. Jones’s eyes.
It’s 4:30 pm on a Wednesday during my third year of medical school. I’m in the fifth week of my family-medicine rotation, and we’re deep into our daily routine: triage, history, physical examination, differential diagnosis, present the case to the attending physician, repeat.
David Edelbaum ~
When I finished my medical training, almost sixty years ago, I was like many new graduates: I thought I knew it all.
I opened a private office in Los Angeles and paid courtesy calls on the local physicians to let them know my qualifications and my availability for consultation, as both an internist and a nephrologist. (The treatment of kidney disease was then in its infancy, and I was the
My Nicaraguan pediatrician friend astutely summarized her work: First you make the clinical assessment, then you make the financial assessment. In other words, a clinician may know the right treatment, but what good does that do the patient if the treatment is entirely out of reach financially?
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When I retired from teaching in a suburban school district north of Detroit in June 2003, I left Michigan for my hometown of Pittsburgh with boxes of belongings, twenty-nine years of memories, and health insurance tied to my state pension. That insurance has served me well–except when it has not.
About the artist:
“Krithika Kavanoor (left) and I are both family-medicine residents at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. As primary-care providers in one of the poorest urban counties in the US, we see firsthand the impact that access to health care–and the lack thereof–can have on our patients. The narratives we share are
Jo Marie Reilly
There’s a full moon tonight.
“That’s when crazy things happen,” my superstitious mom always says.
I’m a family physician doing weekend call at my urban community hospital. My pager rings incessantly. As I answer yet another call from the emergency room downstairs, I think, Maybe Mom has a point.
“Got a suicidal patient with nowhere to go,” the ER physician yells into the phone, against the background commotion.
I’m no stranger to dealing with the medical world and its billing systems. I’m a triple cancer survivor, had knee surgery in 2012 and now have ulcerative colitis. All told, I’ve had eleven surgeries and fourteen colonoscopies. Paperwork is practically my middle name.
But the last twenty-four hours have been ridiculous.
In that time, I’ve had three different encounters with healthcare billing–each absurd in its own way, and each more challenging
Day 1: For over thirty-five years my strong, spirited spouse, Carlo, served around the world in the Air Force. Now retired from the military, he still serves at the air base as a civilian security police officer.
His neck hurts. A lot. He blames the pain on the unbalanced weight of the bulletproof vest that Uncle Sam added last year to the uniform he proudly wears every day.