TAKING BACK AMERICA!

    Monday, January 29, 2007

    Solutions: Affordable Simple Health Care


    A big problem with healthcare is the revenue model - one that is grossly slanted toward the doctor. It use to be whether you had a cold or some condition that was complicated you always had to schedule a visit to a doctor's office - and hope they could fit you in. You couldn't see a specialist unless you were referred (guaranteeing revenue for both doctors).

    We've heard how people without health insurance get "free" medical care just by walking into an emergency room - and waiting their turn. Even if you have insurance it could be a wait until you're able to get into a doctor's office. Some larger cities do have outpatient clinics where walk-ins are common - but they might not be covered by a person's insurance and for the uninsured, it can still be rather expensive.

    I propose a solution for the minor medical problems that crowd doctor's offices and even emergency rooms. Conditions like sore throats, fevers, sudden tooth pain when a dentist isn't available, cuts, abrasions, etc. The good points of this solution are affordability and better health care. The bad point (only one) is the lobby of doctors that won't want any competition.

    There are many thousands of drug stores across the country. Pharmacists, as part of their training, have to go through pre-med. They know more about the chemistry of the body, drug effects, and drug interactions than and doctor. A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has completed advanced education (generally a minimum of a master's degree) and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses. Nurse practitioners provide a broad range of health care services.

    My proposal is to couple these two resources together. If you have a fever and sore throat and can't stand it anymore you don't have to schedule an appointment with a doctor - just go to your local drug store and for $20 have an NP check the same as the more expensive doctor's office (with much higher overhead) and (most likely) prescribe some drugs for you - which you buy right there ($4 if you're at Wal-Mart).

    A perfect match for stores: generates more customers, affordable to the consumer, the health care provided relieves some of the burden on emergency rooms, and even illegal aliens can come up with $20! On a slow day with a store opened 12 hours, 2 customer each hour this = $480/day. For a 30 day month that = $14,400, and for the year, $172,800. That's a slow day.

    The only "catch" would be patients would have to be logged when they received treatment and what drugs they were prescribed to keep the abusers from multiple visits to different stores just to get the drugs.

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