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Medicaid Clinics

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(A personal experience) They'll get you in quickly, but that doesn't mean they'll do things right

  • Nov 12, 2011
  • by
Rating:
-1
Some might consider this a little too personal, but I feel like I need to be heard on the matter of big government and health care.  Also, it should be noted that I feel the only reason I am able to write this up is because I'm running on adrenaline.

I don't like to make a big deal out of my personal life, but I get Medicaid assistance because my Dad's insurance does not pay for office visits, which I'm sure you know can be quite expensive even for just a simple check up.  Despite my physical disability, I do not suffer from any ongoing illness, so for a long time a clinic visit every now and then to get my one prescription renewed seemed practical.  However, over the past 8 or 9 years I have had an increase in a certain type of common infection which, if I do not get medicine for right away quickly become debilitating. 

Since it is difficult for me to get to the doctor as I have to have someone else take me (my Mom, who works) the local Medicaid clinic will typically send out a prescription if I call and say I'm not feeling well.  I do have a specialist I see, but it is nearly impossible to get a timely appointment with her, so if I get sick I have to make due with the clinic.  So, around the beginning of October I started feeling bad and called the clinic.

Problem number one: it's basically impossible to talk to a real person. They prompt you to leave a message and force you to wait at least 24 hours for someone to call you back.  Initially, I called on a Monday morning, heard nothing, and so my Mom called the local pharmacy and indeed they had an antibiotic for me.  I took it and felt decent for about a month, and then gradually started feeling bad again, so I called the clinic back, again on a Monday.  Heard nothing that day. So, Tuesday morning I get up, and as I'm eating breakfast I check my phone and see that I have a voice mail with a time stamp of 7:30 a.m. from the nurse practitioner saying she wants me to come in for a few tests, and tells me not to eat anything. 

Oops!  Ok, so I call back and she says then that I can't get in until Friday.  FRIDAY? Really? Well, I decided if I can just talk to her directly she'll know what to do, so I wait.  Now, it's early in the morning, I'm exhausted because I haven't been sleeping anyway (this is Friday morning, btw), and I'm pretty out of it. I get in almost right away and am met with the blood draw nurse who proceeds to manhandle me. I'm a very small, slightly framed person, and I'm kind of wincing when she's jabbing her fingers into my arm trying to find a vein.  She didn't so she went for my hand.  That's fine, I didn't mind. I just wanted something to make me feel better, and some food.  She takes the blood, and when she pulls the needle out, I start bleeding all over, and she starts to freak, putting my hand in a vice grip like nothing I've ever felt before. That would have been alright too if she weren't squeezing right on top of my knuckle joints while they're bent.  Oh wait, did I mention the ones in the back of my hand do not bend? I told her she was hurting me, and she actually snapped at me. Again, I'm pretty out of it, and I can't see exactly how much I'm bleeding, so I decide to just relax my arm a bit hoping to relieve some of the tension.  My hand was pretty sore afterwards, and I had an enormous bruise, but I figured in a week or so that would all go away.  I mean, it's not like I've never had a difficult blood draw before.  Then the NP comes in and actually asks me what kind of pills I want, like I'm the one with the medical license. I was feeling pretty desperate, so I did give her a name, and got the RX filled later that day. Honestly though, "So what do you want me to give you?" doesn't give me a lot of confidence in someone who is supposed to use their education to help people.  I actually believed she'd call me if that wasn't the right medication, and when I started feeling better I just assumed it was.  It is not my job to make sure they call me. Or is it? 

So anyway, even though the puncture wound began to heal, my fingers started to ache, and get progressively worse. After about two weeks I went back in to have it looked at thinking maybe it had gotten infected or something, and the nurse practitioner ended up prescribing me Ultram.  Seriously? Ultram even though I told her I can not under any circumstances take heavy pain killers.  Ok, whatever, total waste of time.

Oh, but I am not finished. 

That same Friday morning I got up feeling not quite right once again, but I chalked it up to worrying about the pain in my hand, and once again not sleeping well.  Saturday I get up (last week) and I feel like hell. But I figured I'd be ok until the following Monday.  Called the clinic again, and again waited.  No return call.  Checked with the pharmacy Tuesday. No Rx. My Mom called the clinic and left a message. No return call, no Rx on Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoons after 4 p.m. the clinic takes walk-ins, so I went in hopes of talking to a real person instead of an answering machine. First thing we asked when checking in was why no one had returned our calls, and couldn't get an answer from the lady at the desk.  Oh well, at least we were there and I was convinced this time I'd get the right meds for what's making me sick.  I told the NP my symptoms, and I guess she just figured as soon as I said I have pain on my left side that it's a kidney infection.  And once again I trusted her, though I've had a kidney infection in the past and it felt nothing like this.  She gives me a prescription, I get it filled and take it right away, but notice no change.  I'm not stupid though, and I figure maybe it'll take at least two doses before I notice a difference.  As I type this, I'm still feeling like trampled dirt, and the only thing keeping me from going crazy is a prescription pain patch Mom got from a co-worker.  Anyway, I was thrilled when the clinic called Friday morning. I was thinking maybe they had noticed something right away and were going to change my meds.  Not. They were calling to give the results of my THREE WEEK OLD blood test, and even better, had no record that I had been there on Wednesday.

I cannot express how frustrated and angry I am, and even though I know the ER is for life threatening events, I feel I'm going to be forced to go simply because I can't trust that I will get any results from my current test.  The last time I gave a sample of anything it got lost, and there was no record I even gave it. Changing doctors is a hassle, but I am so fed up with this I am going to see if I can start going to Mom's GP. You know, with a real staff that actually answers phones, or at least will call back if you have to leave a message.  And a person who can at least relay symptoms to him and he will do something more than just write out the first drug that comes to mind.

I have an appointment with my specialist, but can't get in until the 29th, and I'm not making any promises that I'll be going to Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt's with the way things are going.

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November 12, 2011
Wow, I don't even have the words to describe how angry this makes me for you. This is craziness! At this rate, you'd be better off going to Canada (where they have free health care and qualified doctors). It's ridiculous that I have friends that are RNs and want to be a nurse and care about people and they can't get a job but, this NP can make a mockery of the whole system and play with your health? It's disgusting! I hope that you can get it to see your Mom's doc and get the answers you deserve. I am so sorry that this is happening to you!
November 13, 2011
I appreciate that. I am going to the hostpital after Mom gets off work today. Since my symptoms aren't all that much of a mystery, and if someone will actually listen to me hopefully I can get this resolved. And if I'm lucky they will have some test results for me since the sample was sent to the hospital lab anyway. You know, I went through similar ordeals with my clinic in Texas, but the difference is I rarely had to play phone tag with them, and they NEVER lost anything. At least they would always call to verify my symptoms before sending out a prescription. But now I just feel like I'm dealing with the medical equivelant of a fast food joint - except even fast food places get the order right most of the time. I think it's pretty sad when I can go on the internet and do a search on my symptoms and get a reasonable idea of what's going on and how to treat it, but an actual professional can't. I mean seriously, it isn't like this is something extremely difficult to diagnose or treat, and would be taken care of relatively quickly if paper work and lab samples ended up where they need to be. Last year around this time I went to my specialist feeling like crap, and she let me talk and gave me an antibiotic. Right at seven days later I got a call from her office saying she wanted me on something else because I had a staph infection. Almost immediately I noticed a difference after starting the new meds, and I didn't have to play phone tag, or keep pestering them to do what they went to medical school for. Everything ran smoothly at that time, and I have no idea why my clinic can't be the same.
November 13, 2011
That is just so frustrating and unnecessarily so- these people went to school for a reason. Though, sadly enough, some of them heard about the good money you could make and went just for that reason. I hope you get the answers and medication you deserve. I'm glad you have your mom!
November 15, 2011
Hospital was a total waste of time too. They couldn't figure out why I'm having pain, but were able to tell me what wasn't wrong.  I don't know how many times I repeated to several different people that the pain is not coming from one specific spot, but I got a CT scan anyway, which, with having to drink 3 large cups of contrast dye just made me feel worse.  They freaked over low potassium levels, but didn't seem too terribly concerned about why I'm miserable.  After a six hour stay, I got a prescription for Prilosec (as if I don't know what heart burn feels like) and potassium.  And then as we were leaving they actually told me "Good luck."  Oh well.  The only thing I can do now is wait to see my specialist on the 29th.  For as much as I've tried getting some kind of help, anyone that doesn't know me probably thinks I'm making it all up.   
November 15, 2011
Well, I definitely don't think that! There's no way ANYONE would voluntarily go through all this craziness. I am just at a loss of what to say. Have you tried to diagnose it online via WebMD or something like that? Sometimes, they have great tips on how to cure what's ailing you or you can google homeopathic remedies to what it is. I'm so sorry that this failed health care system is screwing you over so badly! I wish there was something I could do to help :(
November 16, 2011
I have a couple of times. WebMD keeps telling me to seek medical attention immediately. But you know, obviously I can't tell the symptom checker exactly what I feel like. According to it, there are about 20 different conditions that I could have, some extemely serious and others not so much. I have tried homeopathic treatments before with varied success. Problem is they're so expensive and I just don't have the extra cash right now. I don't know why I'm surprised they seemed almost apathetic at the hospital. Back in '07 when I did have a kidney infection, they wanted me to believe I have ovarian cancer and had me scheduled for surgery early the next morning. Lucky for me the specialist I see now put me on antibiotics and said as long as I improved over night she'd send me home and have the other surgery cancelled. I mean, at the time I was so sick I actually believed maybe it really was more than what I thought, so I went along with the OBGYN's on the spot diagnosis. But yeah, if I knew for sure what's going on, I'd happily log into my amazon account and look through some natural remedies. Between Medicaid and my Dad's insurance, I'm pretty well covered, and I just get this strong feeling when they see that they start seeing dollar signs. Especially when they go looking for apendicitis even though that's not where I have pain. Pretty sure I know left from right. -_- And I swear, I don't know if this is a doctor thing, or a man thing, or both, but he makes me sit up, punches me in my lower back on my right side even though I told him the pain is more pronounced on my left, PLUS he could see that there is no puffiness on my right side, but still he asks me "Does that hurt?" It's a terrible thing to say, but I'm kinda glad that my Mom's co-worker has back problems because the pain patches he gave me are the only things that help. She says he doesn't use them anyway, but still... Thanks so much for your concern. =)
November 17, 2011
Wow. It's unbelievable. I wonder if we can send a link to this thread and review to Capitol Hill? At least you have the pain patches :)
 
November 12, 2011
sorry you had to go through all of that. Clinics and medical establishments need to have a better system. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Steph.
November 12, 2011
Well, it really gets to me that no one will listen. I don't obviously want to tell someone who's been through a lot of schooling how to do their job, but more and more I seem to be able to diagnose myself better than someone with a name tag or a plaque on the wall. Thanks Will. As soon as I get properly diagnosed I hope to be reviewing things that are much more fun.
 
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About the reviewer
Stephanie ()
Ranked #141
I'm one of those people that prefers status quo to randomness and chaos. I have two dogs, a Chihuahua and a German Short-haired Pointer, named Chiqua and Pepper. Chiqua is my constant companion.   … more
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