Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Yes, life's still rather lemony right now. Why do you ask?
My sister has been having some health problems for a while, but, without an income, she's been reluctant to seek help. When she does, she winds up at the walk-in clinic, which tends to dismiss patients of little means and no insurance.
Everyone offers advice - you qualify for this, you can get an appointment here - but nobody offers actual help. No, she's tried, and she doesn't qualify for this program. Yes, she's called repeatedly, and been told she can't get in to that place. If she were a criminal, she'd be getting health care for free. If she were a drug addict or an unwed mother, she'd qualify for something. But since she's simply broke, nothing. Ironically, it's her health issues that have kept her from getting a job to be able to afford health care. You'd think she'd be worth more to the state as an employable citizen capable of earning an income and generating tax revenue, but apparently not. It's an impossible cycle, a game that's nigh impossible to win. I guess people like her just shouldn't exist, according to the system.
Meanwhile, her problems keep growing, until she finally wound up with a pain that's kept her from sleeping for nearly a week. The walk-in clinic sent her for a scan (at three grand out of pocket), then - determining that she didn't have a kidney stone - they shrugged and sent her on her way.
To cut a long story short, she's spent the day at an area ER, in the hopes of finally getting access to health care that she desperately needs. This place is the only one in the area that still does a sliding pay scale and offers charity programs. Last I heard, from relatives in the waiting room, is that she finally got in to triage after a long, long wait. No word on whether anything's being done to help her.
I've been there, myself. Almost eight years ago, I was there, in an ER, broke and sick, waiting and wondering what was going to happen to me, and if I was going to bankrupt the family for having the audacity to inhabit an imperfect body without the financial means to repair it.
I got help, eventually. Here's hoping my sister does, too.
UPDATE - She managed to get on the hospital's charity program. So, while she still has to deal with bureaucracies and paper tag and other frustrations, at least she's in a position to receive help, which is something.The pain is still an issue, but at least someone seems to be listening.