Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to deal with difficult people

I spent 11 hours volunteering yesterday. Each hour was grueling. Not because of the work or the length of time, but because of someone I have to work with. It's driving me crazy because I can't recall ever being in such conflict with someone that I couldn't work with them before, but it's truly gone that far at this point. I keep running the situation through my head. Is it my fault?

Yes, I can see various ways where the conflict we had yesterday, in particular, was my fault. I was brewing about several small personality um ...differences that we have all day before the blow-up. And yes, it's happened before that I was short with her. So, this is where the guilt lies.

But honestly, I think these are symptoms of lost respect and not the true cause of the conflict. There are several situations I've been in with her that have rendered me unable to gather up any respect for the woman in order to even want to work on the matter from my end. Does that sound harsh? Well, it is and I can't help it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Health care problems and solutions

Problem #1: Employer-provided insurance puts all the choices in the hands of my company's executives and HR people and leaves me, the consumer, with limited options.

I don't understand my insurance policy at all. If I were out in the market I'd give my money to whatever insurance company would provide me with the best customer service at a reasonable price. I'd love the ability to choose a plan that had online tools to help me understand my coverage. But that choice isn't mine to make and there's no incentive for insurance providers to make my plan work better for ME because I'm not the one choosing it, my company is. So, whoever gives my employer the lowest cost? a kickback? free "executive coverage" if X number of employees sign up? Who knows how employers choose insurance, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with my experience as an insurance user. I mean, let's face it, I can pay $100 a month for insurance through my employer or 3-6 times that amount if I want to go get insurance on my own. Yes, technically that's a choice, but practically it is not.

Problem #2: Complex insurance coverage makes the consumer afraid to use it.
About a year ago I woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my lower right stomach. I tossed and turned and eventually got back to sleep. In the morning it was gone. The next night I woke up again, but this time the pain was worse. I had to get up, walk around, and eventually sat down at my computer trying to find out what it might be -appendix? stones? Again, by morning it was okay again. The next night it was so bad I was in tears. Tired and in pain, I did more research, but had no idea what was going on. The pain was intense. I considered going to the emergency room, but I didn't because I was afraid of how much it'd cost. In the morning I decided it wasn't going away on it's own so I made an appointment with a doctor. Turned out it was my stomach and antacids solved the problem, but it could have been much worse. If it HAD been my appendix it could have burst by the time I was willing to get it looked at. We put off routine care and checking small issues out early out of fear for the hassle of dealing with the insurance, for fear of the cost of emergency care. Perhaps our overall health care costs would go down if we were able to easily seek care, even if it was from a Nurse Practitioner or Physician's Assistant rather than an actual doctor. But, if we caught more issues and diseases earlier on we'd be WAY more healthy as a country.

Problem #3: Red tape makes the consumer resistant to making changes even if they are warranted.
I see a specialist and he stinks as a doctor. Whenever we discuss changing my medications, he'll list 2 or 3 that I could be put on and asks me to make the choice! If I ask a question about a fourth medication, he'll ask if I want to be put on that instead. It's like being my own doctor, not exactly what I'm looking for since I didn't go to medical school like he did! Besides that his front desk staff are nearly comatose -I waited for over a half hour in a non-busy office in the middle of a Tuesday for a prescription refill because the front desk lady forgot about me. She was too busy complaining to the nurses and plant watering lady about her job to shuffle my paperwork from point A to point B and back again (and this isn't an isolated incident!). Why don't I change doctors? Because I saw this guy on my previous insurance. To be able to see him under my new insurance I had to go back to see my Primary Car Physician (randomly selected out of a book) and pay a copay and sit on an uncomfortable table for 15 minutes in order to get a referral (to the doctor I had already been seeing for YEARS!). To switch to a new specialist, I assume I'd have to repeat that process, which is such a waste of time I keep putting it off even though I think it'd benefit my health in the long run to get a more competent doctor.

That's enough for now. More to come. I'm far from out of ideas on issues with our current health system! ;-)