Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Can't Afford It

Happy has a post up about patients telling him that they want to quit smoking because it is too expensive.  I've seen some of that, but more, I've seen stories like this one from a month or two ago:

Patient's Significant Other: "Oh, can we get a prescription for neosporin for this tiny little abrasion to her cheek?  We can't afford the medication."
Me: "um... I think your best bet is to go to the dollar store and buy some.  That's cheaper than any copay and works just as good."
Patient's SO: "I don't even have a dollar."
Me: "so then how are you going to pay the copay on the Vicodin and Flexeril?"
Patient's SO: "My insurance doesn't have copays."

So I walk over to the provider and ask her if I can get her to add bacitracin to the prescription for the poor packaday smoker who can't afford her meds.  With said prescription in hand, and my wallet hurting from the tax hike I'm about to get for buying meds for someone who refuses to take personal responsibility for their own health, I walk back in the room just as the patient is handing some kind of receipt to her SO.  The only problem is that the receipt is being pulled from on top of a pile of money that she pulled from her pocket.

Yeah, you don't have a dollar... you have 40.

And this is why even good hearted idealists like me get jaded.

1 comment:

Beth said...

She may or may not have been scamming you. However, I've been in the place where I really needed to fill a script or similar, but every dollar we had was committed. Sure, I had $40 in my pocket, but it had to pay the rest of the rent so we didn't get kicked out, or the phone bill (which is tied in with my husband's job and CAN'T get shut off), or we were totally out of groceries and my kid needed feeding. I know it seems like it shouldn't be an issue, but it can be.