Patient care is a multidisciplinary approach. It’s not a one-man wonder, but a collective team effort. I hear of patient stories where they do not get the proper help they need because of their health insurance or lack thereof. I remember the first time I witnessed a patient being refused by a physician. It happened a couple of years ago, and it was a patient with a chronic heart condition. A cardiologist was consulted, and once he came to the floor to review the patient chart. The first thing he asked what this:
“What’s the patient’s health insurance?”
The charge nurse replied saying “the patient is self-pay doctor”. The physician immediately put down the chart on the nurses station, turned around, and stated “I don’t want to take this patient”, and walked off.
“I don’t want to take on this patient”
Why does this even exist? Why does someone’s health insurance or lack of it determines how someone will be treated? I understand that people need to get paid so they can live, but health insurance should never be a basis on whether someone gets treatment or not. This is by no means attacking physicians or any healthcare providers. I am pointing out the culture and environment in which our healthcare in the United States is practiced.
Someone mentioned to me once the harsh reality of self-pay patients. “They’re treated like used tires. They don’t even try to care for them because they don’t have health insurance. If they’re in the hospital already, they should treat them and do it right. Don’t they have any conscience?”
Health insurance should never be a reason that prevents patients from receiving quality patient care. What is health insurance and why does it play a big role in our healthcare? According to Healthcare.gov, Health Insurance is “A contract that requires your health insurer to pay some or all of your health care costs in exchange for a premium.”
Let’s talk about the role of health insurance in this country. Many healthcare facilities will be more than happy to treat you if you have health insurance. If you don’t have it, good luck to you (it’s true, though). Some hospitals may refuse to treat you and transfer you to a different facility simply because of health insurance reasons. There are hospitals/healthcare facilities that accept self-pay patients, but that doesn’t mean that they receive the healthcare services they need. Specific providers tend to be picky in accepting cases due to a patient’s health insurance.
- Why should patient care quality be determined by one’s health insurance or lack of?
- Why does health insurance have the power to dictate the way people receive healthcare services?
- Since when did health insurance influence healthcare providers in treating patients?
When Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing, I’m sure she didn’t have health insurance in mind. In fact, “Famous for being the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ who organised the nursing of sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale’s far-sighted ideas and reforms have influenced the very nature of modern healthcare” (Florence Nightingale Biography, 2018). Nowhere in this statement states that health insurance dictates what kind of healthcare a patient deserves. So, how did we go from treating the sick to being picky about what kind of health insurance a patient has? The sad truth is this. Money drives all things. We may be healthcare providers and will gladly give healthcare services to patients in need, but healthcare facilities still need to run a business.
- Florence Nightingale biography. (2018). Retrieved July 16, 2018, from http://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/resources/biography/?v=7516fd43adaa
- Health insurance. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2018, from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/health-insurance/