N is back in San Diego, and his frustrations with metropolitan health care made me realize that, for all the over-priced gas and lack of an accessible Trader Joe’s, in many respects life here is easier.
All he was trying to do was set up an appointment on Friday to get 4 stitches removed (that had been put in while in Mammoth last weekend). A simple task, one would think. However, in order to do so at the local UC hospital, he was told that he’d need to be re-assigned a primary care physician through his insurance, who would then need to refer him through about 8 hula hoops and a half dozen hurdles before he could get the stitches out. Which would take about 4 months. Waiting at an emergency room was not an option, as he would be the lowest priority – which could essentially mean a 4 month wait. After about an hour on the phone (being transferred around), he learned that he could find a smaller community where an urgent care facility is (as we have here in South Lake Tahoe) and could go there.
It’s amazing the bureaucratic hoops he had to jump through to get this information, and the sad thing is that he was told he would have had it a lot harder if he had an HMO plan.