Reality TV comes to health care

It seems like most of the television programs we watch at our house are reality TV shows. Deadliest Catch, Swamp People, Call of the Wildman, Duck Dynasty and Top Hooker (don’t be mislead by the name, it’s a fishing show and it’s family friendly) are just a few of the reality TV shows we watch.

It appears that a new reality TV show is in production and it will focus on the health care system. The name of the show is “Given up on Obamacare” and it will focus on patients who use concierge services and believe paying cash for medical care gets them “better treatment”.

Is it possible for a person to get “better treatment” by paying cash? It kind of depends on how you define “treatment”. Paying cash may provide someone access to a more comfortable hospital bed with higher threadcount sheets and it may reduce waits for appointments by a day or two. It may even result in quicker follow-up but is that really the “treatment” someone is interested in when ill…I doubt it.

If I’m ill I want “treatment” not “treatment”. I want my illness to be treated, I don’t want to be treated like a king. I want to be treated fairly, I want to be treated with courtesy and respect and I want compassionate care providers but I don’t expect special treatment.

I just don’t buy that paying cash for health care provides better outcomes and isn’t the outcome what really matters. Just look at our health care system as an example. We treat everyone who walks through the door regardless of ability to pay and we treat each individual the same by providing “exceptional health and wellness services” to each person just as our Mission says we do.

Our physicians are paid based on productivity and our payment model is payer blind. Our physicians are paid the same for someone with commercial insurance as they are for someone with absolutely no ability to pay. We don’t even expect our care providers to know what type insurance a patient has and that’s not by accident. The payer doesn’t matter – the patient matters.

I’ve had the good fortune of staying the night at some very swanky hotels. Places that treat me like a king, have turn-down service and attend to my every need. I’ve spent more time in hotels along the side of the road, places that have nothing more to offer than a quiet room and a comfortable bed. In the end I want the same from both places – a good night’s sleep and the truth is when I close my eyes and fall asleep there’s absolutely no difference between the two.

Paying cash for health care may get someone better “treatment” but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be “treated”. The best “treatment” comes from health care organizations committed to providing patients with “exceptional health and wellness services with friendliness and compassion” just our Mission says we’ll do.

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Operating Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. These are challenging and exciting times in healthcare and my blog will focus on healthcare, raising boys or being raised by boys, and living in mid America.
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