Thursday, November 07, 2013

For Profit Medicine: Blood Work

The other day I had to drive 20 miles to my doctor's office, just to get blood work done.  It took about 3 minutes to draw the blood, but it took me 45 minutes in morning traffic to drive to the facility, then 20 minutes wait, then 45 minutes back. 

Why not just have generic facilities (drawing blood is no more complicated than an oil change) at grocery stores?  Wait....Schnucks!


Anonymous said...

Do they not have "LabCorp" or some other franchise out there that does exactly that?

Anonymous said...

My uncle needed to have his blood tested several times a week after he had a stroke. Getting out at the time proved challenging, so he looked into the possibility of doing it himself. He contacted an equipment manufacturer (the same professionals use) and they told him he could indeed buy what he needed to perform the procedure at home. He told his doctor about his idea and he wouldn't go for it. The doc said he couldn't trust the machine's calibration. My uncle offered to come in regularly to have it calibrated. The doc still refused.

Anonymous said...

My complaint has been the opposite, why don't doctors draw blood in their offices? Someone said it is now against state law here, though I haven't confirmed that. Since they don't draw blood it now takes 3 visits: at the first you get the script for the blood work, then you go to the lab the insurance company contracts with to have it drawn. Finally you have a follow up appointment, which usually takes 30 seconds though the doctor is late, to be told by the doctor everything is fine.

A colleague wrote a paper arguing that capitation, the practice of insurance companies paying doctors a flat annual payment per patient is unethical because it gave doctors incentives not to see patients. (As you might suspect the practice is outlawed here.) I argued that not allowing capitation is unethical because it gives doctors incentives to charge patients for useless follow up visits.

Jim Oliver said...

They have to do something that Walmart doesn't.