The Shocking Reality of Two-tiered Healthcare

by | Published on Nov 26, 2009 | Healthcare News

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The system of two-tiered healthcare in the US is something which many of us are familiar with. Just as it is with restaurants and with other services in America, those who give more money receive a better patient experience in return. Many of us would think nothing of this as it is commonplace. However, if you’ve read the report from on the “two-doored” clinic, you might think differently.

The report is a look into the experiences of two female reporters who went to the managed care (Lennox Hill Radiology) and boutique practice (New York Private Medical Imaging) sections of the very same medical establishment. The purpose – to get a routine mammogram done. The reporters were Helen Popkin and Linda Carroll respectively. The report exposes a shockingly glaring difference in the treatment meted out to patients in both sections.

The differences were in elapsed time to get an appointment, kind of dress, elapsed time to get mammogram results, and commitment to the job. It is quite easy to understand that patients on the insurance side like in this case, Helen Popkin, were the losers.

Doctors who’ve turned to boutique practice would complain that managed care doesn’t pay them enough. It also limits the time that can be given to each patient, since there are so many of them. Then, there is the problem of longer waiting times. With concierge healthcare, the patient rosters are restricted, getting the doctors the due for their dedicated treatments, and giving patients more personalized, time taking care.

If the patient demands special treatment and a luxurious ambience, someone must be there to provide it and the patient must be willing to pay for it. Employers in companies would probably say that making advance payments for medical care means more employee benefits.

If we were look at the other side of the coin, it is unreasonable that only the more financially advantageous should enjoy quality care. It is unfair that the majority of patients should be kept waiting for days whether it is to see a doctor or to get lab results. What’s particularly surprising is that employees in a “two-door clinic” should be warned not to reveal to the patients that there is “another door.”

Why should doctors and/or medical staff look at patients with greater pay packets with different eyes? It just doesn’t make sense, and strikes at the very root of medical ethics.

Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal, the President of OSI, has a wealth of experience as a healthcare business consultant in the United States. He has a keen understanding of current medical billing and coding standards.

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