On the Beat: 10/06

The state of health care: a state of shock

By Jim Bucher

People ask me all the all the time where I get my story ideas for columns in Dayton City Paper. Well, some come from my bizarre mind, others from readers, but most write themselves.

Case in point: last week I came down with a cold. Of course, being a guy, I let it go—which wasn’t too smart, as it got progressively worse. So, finally called my doctor to make an appointment.

“Doctor’s office, may I help you?” The voice on the end of the phone says.

“Yes hello, Jim Bucher here. I need to schedule a date with the doc and …”

“Date of birth please?”

They are no nonsense.

After providing the necessary information the conversation continues.

“What seems to be the problem?” the voice asks.

“Coughing, congestion, fever and just not feeling well,” I respond in my best pathetic tone.

“Sounds like you’re pretty bad off,” she says. “I have an 8:30 on November 12.”

After an uncomfortable 10-second pause I say, “I’ll be dead by then.”

“We can squeeze you in tomorrow,” the voice says.

I know what “squeeze you in” means … Like somewhere between an entire morning to most of the day.

So, I take my chances with Urgent Care. After all, I’ve heard good things about them, and can be seen most times within an hour. Although, it’s tempting to get caught up with all the gossip magazines from 2013. Off to Urgent Care I go, but of course with my luck I pick the day the place is packed with kids getting sports physicals.

Maybe I can try another location, I think to myself. And … jackpot! This one isn’t crowded, just a few cars in the parking lot.

Well, from check-in to seeing the doctor, I’m out in an hour with three prescriptions.

Finally I can get to feelin’ better. Now it’s off to the pharmacy.

The doctor called it in, so I thought, so it shouldn’t take too long, right? I need to stop thinking.

I pull into one of those drive-thru pharmacies and push the speaker button.

“Hello may I help you?” the voice asks (the voice, by the way, sounds like the same voice that answers the phone at my doctor’s office).

“Yes, I’m here to pick up some meds.”

You know the drill: name, rank, serial number, first born, blood sample and insurance card.

About five minutes later the voice comes back to inform me the pharmacist just got the order and my scripts would be ready in about an hour.

I thank her and head home to lie down, because lying down is good when you don’t feel well, right? It wasn’t 15 minutes later my phone rings and it’s the pharmacy.

“Oh joy!” I thought. “Finally I’m gonna get some help in feeling better.”

Again with the thinking…

“Sir, your insurance isn’t accepted here,” the voice says.

You have got to be kidding me. You couldn’t tell me that when I was there?

“What I can do is call another pharmacy and you can pick it up there,” she says.

Apparently my “Odd Lots” insurance company only contracts out with a few of the big chains and, of course, I pick the one it doesn’t like.

Thirty minutes later, I’m off to the correct pharmacy and their drive-thru.

SCORE! They have my meds and I’m ready to check out.

“Hello sir.” The voice says (I swear it’s the same woman). Maybe it’s the fever.

“Ok that will be $95,” she says.

“Pardon?” I say with a nervous laugh. “Funny, I thought you said $95.”

“Yes sir, the inhaler is $75 and is the generic brand,” she says.

It breaks down to around six bucks a puff.

Begrudgingly, I pay and am on my merry way.

It wasn’t a day later my daughter gets sick, so we’re back to Urgent Care and the correct pharmacy.

“Hell sir,” says the same voice. Are they cloning this person?

“Ok, I have three prescriptions for your daughter and the total is $65,” she says.

“What the flip? Why so much?” I ask.

“Well, the cough medicine prescribed is $54,” the voice responds.

So, I take two scripts and pass on the cough meds, but park the car and run in purchasing an off brand, over the counter liquid suppressant for $6.

Moral of the story: don’t get sick. It costs too much.

Cheers and time for another $6 puff.

Buch

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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