Doctors are overloaded. Patients are waiting weeks and months to be seen by their primary care physicians for critical tests and procedures. Emergency departments are seeing patients that could easily (and FAR less expensively) be helped by their family doctor… if they could get in. Insurance costs are outrageous at best, and for some people insurance is unattainable at any price.
Although none of these facts are surprising, one of the contributing factors might be… School Policies.
Faitha has Varicella (chicken pox). All of you parents out there know what this is. Guess what? There’s NOTHING your doctor can do for it. You give your kids oatmeal baths and cover them in calamine lotion for the itching. You give them ibuprofen and tylenol for the fever and pain. You wait for the blisters to run their course and heal. In a week, your children are still spotted, but healing well and no longer contagious.
I’m almost certain that this cycle has not changed in oh… the FOUR HUNDRED years since the first documented case. Obviously the policy makers for the public school system feel differently. If your child is out of school for ANY common childhood ailment, you have to go to the doctor, have them tell you there’s nothing they can do (HELLO… been there, done that… I knew that!), pay your co-pay, bill the insurance company for an office visit, and give you a slip of paper to appease the bureaucratic bullshit system.
Child out of school with a cold for a couple of days? – Doctor’s note
Twist their ankle on the playground? – Doctor’s note
Fever? – Doctor’s note
Rash? – You guessed it!
Perhaps if waiting rooms weren’t packed full of children who don’t NEED to see a doctor, children whose parents are fully capable of providing care for normal childhood illnesses without spending $15 to $40 co-pays, healthcare costs would not be rising so quickly. Perhaps if those children weren’t needlessly sitting in waiting rooms, they wouldn’t be catching other ailments from contagious people who DO need to be seen or giving their ailments to others and increasing the workload on our healthcare providers (and insurance costs!).
I know there are a lot of reasons for this country’s healthcare woes. But just think about how many millions of dollars we waste every single school year on unnecessary and unwanted doctor visits… all for the sake of a stupid piece of paper.