by Catherine Mahrholz:
Regarding healthcare in the U.S. – “I’m afraid it’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.” Gertrude Mahrholz – 1985 (at age 71) “The debate about ‘affordable health care’ and ‘universal coverage’ has been raging in this great land of ours for so many years now. As I see it, Congress is so constipated they can’t get any meaningful legislation passed.”
Cat Hisses at Congress – 2009
Well, here we are in 2013 and all the brouhaha over the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act reminds me of the HMO debacle some years ago. Remember that?
At that time I complained to anyone who would listen that quality of care is just as important as affordability! An “affordable” treatment that ends up doing more harm than good does not sound “affordable” to me. It’s not just about the money!
Not all that long ago, a well known dental insurance company claimed their website could help people find quality dental care. How did they do this? You’d plug in your address and the data base would present the names of dentists who were close to your home! Really? This is how to find a good dentist? No matter what your political stripe, quality affordable healthcare for all is certainly an admirable goal. But the Affordable Healthcare Act doesn’t really address health care. It’s all about health insurance. It’s a complex issue, with no easy answers, but my focus here is quality…or lack there of!
One of my concerns over the last oh…20 years or so, has been the increasing level of incompetence that permeates so many aspects of life in these United States. I’ve been saying for longer than I care to remember, “Incompetence is rampant!” And what really bugs me is the “hurry up and get out of my face” or DILIGAF attitude that is far too prevalent. Surely this affects the quality of care a person receives when seeking some necessary medical attention.
And this absolutely does not apply to all health care professionals. There are some very good, very talented and dedicated people in healthcare. That being said, however, let me briefly relate my experiences with eye care professionals here in the Pikes Peak region.
For the last eight years or so I have begun to believe that my lack of visual acuity with my glasses was due to advancing age. Since the age of 12 I have been, as the saying goes, “blind as a bat.” I am extremely near sighted and without my glasses everything further than seven inches from my face gets progressively fuzzy and blurry.
Contacts? Been there. Surgery? After one co-worker was blinded in one eye, and another ended up with double vision…no thanks. In an effort to make my purchase of glasses more affordable, I started going to well regarded chain about 15 years ago. They did a great job; good quality well fitting frames with the progressive lenses I am fond of. Then one time, when I couldn’t find anything at this place, I decided to try another chain that refers to itself as the best, and it was pretty much all downhill from there.
Did the people fitting my glasses make a mistake? Did the lab who manufactured the lenses get it wrong? I don’t know. All I know is, I believe my vision has been needlessly compromised for a number of years due to a lack of commitment to quality.
Enough is enough I thought and went back to the original optometrist I had started seeing way back in 1990 when I first moved to Colorado . In spite of all their valiant efforts to find some frames for me, nothing fit right. It took me a year of occasional visits here and there, mostly in Colorado Springs , to find some frames that fit me well enough to be tolerable. I cannot wear glasses like wire frames that have the nose pads and so this eliminated at least half the inventory out there.
And shop on-line? No way. Not for me, anyway. I finally found some frames I could live with at yet another chain…Abracadabra Eye Care or some such place. I bought two pair; one with regular lenses and the other pair with Transition lenses to use as sunglasses. After a complaint from me about the prescription being positioned wrong, this chain replaced the lenses at no charge on the first pair. All’s good, right? No such luck. Months later I realized I was only wearing my so called sunglasses. The sunglasses were marginally better and by this time I thought so much time had elapsed that perhaps my prescription had changed, or that my eyes were just succumbing to the onset of old age.
But lo and behold, with my most recent exam this fall, my prescription has not changed that much since my last exam two years ago. In fact, I was told that my left eye has actually improved a bit. The dispensing optician was a very hip and personable young woman. She helped me find a pair of Italian frames that were no more expensive than many of the ones now made in China . The quality of products from China is a topic for another time!
I picked up my new glasses the other day and they are a bit dramatic for me. But, wow! My distance vision is back! A few people whose opinions I trust to be honest told me they look good on me. Most importantly, though, and the point of this little narrative, is that the progressive prescription is properly positioned in the lenses. I now can see with more clarity than I have been able to for the last 8 years or so. I still feel I look a little like Cat Woman, but perhaps that is appropriate for someone who recently began referring to herself as Cat. So the quality of health care is very much an issue. And frankly, this is just one example out of my own health history. Yes there are dedicated and well qualified doctors and health care professionals. But every time I turn around someone is telling me a nightmare story involving our healthcare system. And it seems to me that an ever increasing lack of commitment to quality is a contributing factor to the state of our healthcare system.
The Mountain Jackpot’s very own much loved Mike Parish suffered at the hands of various healthcare agencies as well; including the VA and other healthcare professionals. But I am thrilled to be able to see clearly again. And still firm in my resolution of ten years ago to forgo participation in the traditional American medical model of endless tests and multiple prescriptions. No “medical merry-go-round” for me. Were I a few years younger, I too, would be forced to participate in Obama Care; a noble idea perhaps, but I think the quality of care and the cost of care should have been addressed first.
In my view, Congress and the White House have put the cart before the horse, as the old saying goes.
Mike Parish called me “Cat” from the gitgo back in 2006 and the moniker helps to bring out my playful and mischievous side. I owe much to this remarkable human being who always encouraged me to pen a column now and then, and to be brave and speak my so-called mind in a public forum.
Now that I have these rather bold glasses…Watch out! Meow…