Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Let's Waste Medicare's Money"

Narrator: And now folks it's time to play "Let's Waste Medicare's Money", the game show that shines a light on abuse with a complement of perverse incentives.  Today we have three contestants.  Say hello to Ida Mae, The Colonel, and Wild Bill.  In a moment our lovely guests will each recount how, with the help of their doctors and bureaucratic red tape, they have single handedly bankrupted our health care system.  But first, an explanation of how the game is played.  You, the audience members, decide the winner.  At the end of the show you vote based on who you think wasted more of the governments dollar.  The grand prize will be a full months stay at the contestants nursing home of choice, all expenses covered (that is, of course, unless medicare picks up the tab)!

Narrator: Let's start with contestant one, Ida Mae, how are you doing today?

Ida: Oy!  I'm so tired.  My legs hurt.  And my back, my you happen to have any of those vicodin pills?

Narrator: No Ida.  I was just being polite.  I didn't really want to know how you're doing.  Tell us your story.

Ida: Well I was watching Dr. OZ on TV (he's so cute!) and he said that all diabetics should see the foot doctor.  So I asked my friend Sally, and she gave me the name of her specialist.  The podiatrist thought my feet looked fine, but noticed my legs were swollen. 

I hadn't noticed my legs were swollen.  Who knew?

Narrator: Quite a predicament!

Ida: So he says to me.  You better call your cardiologist.  And I call, but he's busy seeing patients.  His nurse answers the phone instead.  She asks if I'm feeling short of breath.  I say of course.  I been short of breath since nineteen sixty three when I gained that fifty pounds after carrying my last child.  The nurse became all excited. She told me I had to go to the emergency room immediately.  So I says there's no one available to drive me.  She says: call an ambulance right away

Once I got to the emergency room,  there were all these doctors I didn't know.  They admitted me over night and ordered a stress test and echocardiogram.

The hospital doctor came the next day and discharged me.  He said my heart was fine.  I told him I already knew that, but wanted to know why my legs were swollen.

Narrator: And what did he say?

Ida: He didn't know.  He thought that that was something my outpatient doctors should figure out!

Narrator: Very nice.  Now let's move to contestant two.  Colonel, can you top that.

The Colonel: Yes sir.  On Monday at 0800 hours I started having pain in my chest.  It was severe and pressure like.  I called my doctor and he sent me to the hospital.  In the emergency room it was decided I would stay over night.  On Tuesday, some case coordinator came to see me and said they were changing my admission to observation.  She said something about hospital readmissions and how this wouldn't count.  I was feeling tired and confused already, and so just went along with whatever she suggested.  Later that night, I spiked a fever.  The next day I was diagnosed with pneumonia.  By then, I was as weak as a wet noodle.  I couldn't get out of bed.  By Friday my doctor told me I needed to go to the nursing home, but they couldn't send me because of my observation status, medicare wouldn't cover it. Finally he agrees to change me to a full admission, but I had to stay in the hospital three extra nights so that medicare would pay for my nursing home.  He told me I could leave sooner,  but then I would foot the bill.  I said: heck no!  I would rather stay in the hospital hotel

Narrator: Quite nice accommodations they have there!  OK Wild Bill, your up.

Wild Bill: Well I was out riden my hoarsey when my back started to hurt.  I got off the hoarse and crawled into the ranch.  After searchin on the Internet, I decided I need to go see a neurosurgeon.  I called the doctor but his secretary said that Dr. Back Whisperer won't see anyone without having an MRI done first.  So I asked for a referral from my pcp.  Since my whole back was hurting, he ordered three MRI's to cover everything. 

Narrator: sounds logical.

Wild Bill: When I got in that MRI machine, I felt like a pig in too small a pen.  I had to stop after thirty minutes.  So my PCP called in a prescription for valium so I could retake the test.  The Valium worked alright.  I was so dizzy getting off the table I fell and broke my hip.  Six months later I'm finally recovered but I haven't road my hoarsey since.

Narrator: And how's your back?

Wild Bill: My back?  That felt better before I even took the MRI.

Narrator: Well, there you have it folks.  Which contestant gets your vote?  Who is the winner?  Or better yet, are there any winners?

It certainly isn't us,

the American public.

1 comment:

Alexandra Yperifanos said...

Oh Jordan...such truths in this piece, this is so bad it's good...or I guess just downright sad. Always good to read your work, whatever the 'theme' may be. Hope all is very well.