I'd Rather Get a Mani-Pedi

Diabetes Blog Week
The Healthcare Experience - Thursday 5/19 Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with healthcare. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!

My daughter attended her 8th grade 'semiformal' dance last weekend.  As a treat, she and a few friends went after school the day before the dance to get  manicures and pedicures. She was there for an hour and half, had her feet and hands pampered, sat in a massage chair, ate a coffee flavored hard candy and came out feeling relaxed and good about herself.  The price was half that of the coinsurance we'll pay in a couple of weeks when we go to the endocrinologist, and that doesn't even factor in the cost of health insurance in general.

I realize that the endocrinologist has significantly more education, expertise and support staff than the women who work in the nail salon, but bear with me here. 

What if she'd arrived at the nail salon and there had been a dozen people in line ahead of her, forcing her to wait in an uncomfortable chair for an hour?  What if she sat down at the little table to have fingers done and after the seventh digit, the manicurist sent her home because she was out of time?  What if once her fingers were done she went over to the pedicure area and was told pedicures required a separate appointment time at this salon so that even though she thought she'd booked a combination package there was no way she could have one today?  What if once she'd chosen the perfect polish color to match her dress, she was told that color was not included in the price and that she'd have to purchase the entire bottle at an exorbitant fee in order to proceed? 

Are you catching my drift yet? The crux of my argument is this: if any of these scenarios happened at our local nail salon we'd go elsewhere and write a scathing Yelp review for good measure.  Yet in the healthcare marketplace we put up with so much.  Our choices are limited, and while we sometimes put up with issues at a mediocre medical practice in order to get good care from a provider we trust, we shouldn't have to.

Most of us are paying through the nose for diabetes care.  Shouldn't we get a friendly welcome? Shouldn't there be a comfortable chair (massage chair preferred but not required) during a short wait, and maybe a complimentary cup of tea or glass of water? Shouldn't we expect the visit to have a seamless flow from vitals to data download to face-to-face time with the doctor?  Shouldn't the provider look us in the eye and ask what diabetes issues we need to talk about?  Shouldn't our insurance cover the diabetes care and equipment we and our doctors believe to be most appropriate for our individual needs?  Shouldn't our face to face and phone conversations with diabetes care and supply providers leave us feeling like the customer is always right and always comes first?

It's a huge problem to which I wish I had a solution.  We've been proactive over the years in shopping around to find the best endocrinology practice we have access to based on our insurance and geography in any given era.  When it's possible, I advocate for access to what we need both on an individual level and on a larger scale.  Nevertheless, in annual copays alone, we're spending an extravagant vacation's worth of money each year for service we'd almost always rate poorly in the 'reviews' section on a given website, and which we'd often choose never to pay for again.  If we had a choice.

What do other people think about their healthcare experience?  Click here to find out!


  1. ha! i like that comparison of the nail salon and the endo! great point. altho we pay high prices, i'm not sure where all that money goes. it's not necessarily to the endo... those drug companies, and insurance companies seem greedy!!!


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