Vision exceeds reality on health care

  • Follow Letters

As someone who has been touched a couple of times by the insensitivity of our health-care system, I'll relate a story that took place recently.

While at my job, a back pain extending through my left leg got worse, to where I had to leave work and go straight to my primary doctor. The doctor completed his examination and prescribed me pain-killers and a corticosteroid. He told that I should feel better in two days. If there was no improvement, I should contact him.

Realizing I was not getting better, I called my employer and my subcontractor, and neither of them provided disability compensation. Please note that I am a highly trained and educated individual with a doctoral degree, and still these benefits are not granted. Is this fair?

My condition got even worse to where I was not able to walk, and I went back to the doctor's office. He prescribed a stronger pain killer and ordered an MRI, and tried to schedule an appointment with a specialist right after the MRI. Next day, upon arrival to the office for the MRI, a staff person notified me that the health-insurance company did not approve the MRI. A friend called the insurance company, but no approval was granted. Because of my severe pain, I asked my friends to take me to the emergency room, where they injected me with pain-killers and performed the MRI.

It is incredible that we brag about the greatness of this nation, but its health-care system performs far below those expectations. We also see employers not providing adequate benefits for these situations (e.g., disability compensation).

It's time to implement good values and a sense of fairness -- not only in our families but also in our corporate structures.

Jose A. Cortes-Concepcion, Ph.D.

Aiken, S.C.

Comments (30) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
TheFederalist
1
Points
TheFederalist 05/14/10 - 02:12 am
0
0
Mr. Cortes, with all due

Mr. Cortes, with all due respect sir, HCR passed. It is now the law of the land. All you have to do is wait until 2014, and all your worries will be over. That said, since you are obviously an educated man, I am wondering why you would take a job, and never inquire about the benefits? Finally, I have question for you sir, that I probably will never get an answer to, but if you are willing to publically scold our country, in print, for what you percieve is a major fault, then I feel it is my right to ask it. Are you a legal citizen of the USA? My hunch is that you are not. However, since I do not know for sure, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. I will chalk your story, for now, up to ignorance, and a percieved sense of entitlement, usually touted by liberals, who believe in the myth of a nanny state. You are a doctor sir. You are most likely well paid and can easily pay for your own health care. If that is still not to your liking, then perhaps you should start working for another company that provides it to you, but in future, I would ask a few questions up front.

carcraft
27270
Points
carcraft 05/14/10 - 05:40 am
0
0
Will Mr Cortes-Concepcion

Will Mr Cortes-Concepcion wait until health care is rationed and you wait six month for an MRI- I note you did get the MRI and didn't mention the results! The health care bill now costs 116 BILLION (yes folks that is with a B) more than we were told it would cost and it doesn't go into effect for 4 more years..you don't think health care will be rationed? Mr Cortes-Conceptcion, a none life threatening emergency well require a long wait- Don't believe me look at Canada and England!

carcraft
27270
Points
carcraft 05/14/10 - 05:51 am
0
0
Federalist and Nat, I really

Federalist and Nat, I really don't think his national origin plays into this- He had health insurance and was denied a proceedure, we don't know how many proceedures (MRI's) he has had in the past, the etiology of the condition, etc. The insurance company may have already paid for ten MRI's of the back and Mr Cortes-Concepcion doesn't want to accept the diagnosis, or this may be his first MRI- He may have a ruptruing Aortic anuyrism or a pinched disc, or fishing for a disablity pension etc..BUT wait until he has to fight city hall or a health care Bureaucrat to get a proceedure-THEN he will know what a denial of service really is..

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 05/14/10 - 06:21 am
0
0
Why the whine about health

Why the whine about health care? It is available. Mr Cortes-Concepcion just wasn't protected with his insurance. That's not the job of the employer or the government, that's the job of Mr Cortes-Concepcion. You're not being picked on Jose, you're just being a liberal.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/14/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
"This country owes me..."
Unpublished

"This country owes me..."

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/14/10 - 08:44 am
0
0
Let's see, A Pakistani

Let's see, A Pakistani American writes in support of our country and gets criticized in another of today's letters. Here, Dr. Cortes-Concepcion, gets mocked due to his name. No sir, no racists in the Augusta area. As to the good Dr., I'm guessing he's probably the same one on the absract, "Environmental Reactivity of Solid-State Hydrogen Storage Systems: Fundamental Testing and Evaluation" from the Savannah River National Laboratory. I doubt those that are so qiuck to judge him, share his intelligence or education level. Dr. Cortes-Concepcion, I'd like to apologize for all the ignorant yahoos in this area. Trust me, everyone is not like them.

TheFederalist
1
Points
TheFederalist 05/14/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
Some people, like cough...our

Some people, like cough...our current POTUS, feel this deep need to apologize for anything and everything that in any way may be considered to be offensive, to anybody that draws a breath. Trust me, not everyone is like him.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/14/10 - 09:08 am
0
0
To complain about the best

To complain about the best healthcare system in the world is ludacris. If the MRI was that important to you then you should have paid for it yourself. That's what I did when my daughter was having problems with a sports injury. Our insurance didn't cover it so I pony'd up the dough. We gave up quite a few meals out to pay for it but sometimes you have to make choices in your life. Given your situation and your stated pain, I'm surprised you didn't immediately make the same choice as us. It obviously wasn't that important to you.

You could always go to Canada or Germany for your healthcare. I heard that their waiting lists to see a doctor or get LIFE saving treatments aren't so bad. You could have gotten on a list to get your MRI and actually had it paid for. You would have waited 6-12 months to get it but at least it would be "free".

"It's time to implement good values and a sense of fairness" Newsflash. Life isn't fair. Stop expecting it to be and you'll get more out of it.

chel
0
Points
chel 05/14/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
Dr. Concepion have you heard

Dr. Concepion have you heard of "benefits handbook"? Or have you thought about looking on your insurance company website to get the information of benefits before you begin the process? In addition, why should your employer automatically grant disability for your injury? Are you claiming you hurt yourself on the job or are you claiming that your employer should just automatically take care of you. And what is this idea that a "friend" could make a difference is what your insurance will do for you? Is your "friend" in a position where you felt he/she could make an "exception" because you are somehow more "special" that your fellow employees? Look the pain you are referring to is a common pain many people experience. An MRI may show a pinched nerve by a disk usually in the L-4, L-5 region. Cortisone treatment and PT will usually take care of the matter, but to bash the health care you have is a joke and I laughed. As others have already mentioned you have this feeling of "entitlement" that your employer and health care actually "owes" you...amazing.

chel
0
Points
chel 05/14/10 - 10:09 am
0
0
@chillen---thank you for your

@chillen---thank you for your post! I too had an injury (L-4, L-5 disks bulging) and the MRI I had to discover my problem was also not covered under my plan but like you, I paid for it out of my pocket because it had to be done. Did I like having to write a large check...no but it was a necessary event .

Dcortes
0
Points
Dcortes 05/14/10 - 10:46 am
0
0
As the writer of the letter,

As the writer of the letter, first let me clarify some points. My intention is not manifest hate to my country, as I do love thi country, it is to state what is unfair. Secondly, an MRI is a costly procedure that not every can afford without prior planning. Believe me this was need in order to complete the diagnosis. What I am trying to expose is a real undesirable situation that has nothing to do with being liberal or republican. It is really shameful that somebody has brought that point. Now trying to address all the comments. I talked about disability compensation, and this is important since I lose my wages for any day I do not work since I do not have sick leave and short-term disability benfits. However, do you know that there are only five states and Puerto Rico that have formal legislation requiring short-term disability rights? I would bet you did not know this. Does that it is fair? I would say no. Then, I am a naturally born US citizen with the same rights you nat the cat and Federalist ( yes I know you might feed sorry about but it is a fact) you guys have, so I have no problems either going to San Jose or Phoenix Arizona. But anywhere I go I would stand firm on my values and say what I understand is wrong, as what you just did, which is racial profiling just because I have a Hispanic name. Then, for the statement "this country owes me", I have to say I owe a lot to this country, I am very appreciative because most of my educational achievements would not have been possible with some of the systems we have in place. That being said, we need to understand that there is room for improvement and we should work hard to make everyone of us (including future generations) better.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 05/14/10 - 11:07 am
0
0
Mr. Cortes, the scariest

Mr. Cortes, the scariest thing is that in a couple years you may look back on this time as the 'good old days'.

chimichurriandt
0
Points
chimichurriandt 05/14/10 - 12:09 pm
0
0
This guy makes a statement

This guy makes a statement about our healthcare system and it somehow gets turned into a discussion of ethnicity. What's wrong with you people?! First and foremost our country DOES have a screwed up health care system. Whether or not he read his benefit handbook should be irrevelent. The point is that he couldn't get an MRI unless he went through the emergency room. You shouldn't have to go to the ER to get proper treatment because that drives up costs for all of us. He tried to go through the proper channels and only in the ER did he get the MRI to determine that he had a really painful spinal problem which needed to be fixed. MORE IMPORTANTLY, he is a US citizen you racist ##$%'s. We have fallen backwards in time a hundred years. The man has a PhD in Chemical engineering and all some people (Nat the cat) see is that his last name is hispanic. Nat the Cat clearly doesn't have a PhD, or really anything but a smart mouth and a bad attitude. It is people like that who are bringing our country down- might I suggest you, Nat, take a trip down south, I'd rather have the good doc for a neighbor any day!

chimichurriandt
0
Points
chimichurriandt 05/14/10 - 12:16 pm
0
0
"Life isn't fair" is a pretty

"Life isn't fair" is a pretty lame response. If you want justice and freedom you have to fight for what you think is right. It's what our country was founded on. Just because you don't have the balls to challenge the status quo or demand better from our system of healthcare doesn't mean other people should be chastized when they do.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 05/14/10 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Yet another one who shuns

Yet another one who shuns personal responsibility....

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/14/10 - 02:17 pm
0
0
chimichurriadt "The point

chimichurriadt "The point is that he couldn't get an MRI unless he went through the emergency room" That is 100% FALSE. He can get an MRI anytime he wants one in the United States. He just might have to save money for a rainy day and pay for it himself. As Baron said. Personal responsibility.

" If you want justice and freedom you have to fight for what you think is right" No, in this country you just have to vote in the right people and they will suck the money away from one group to pay for another. It's a little concept called "redistribution of wealth". Ever heard of it?

I'm more than happy to challenge the status quo and I've done it quite a bit - ask anyone who knows me, I'm actually someone of an expert in that area. However, I would never challege the status quo and then ask you to pay for it. Only a scumbag would do that.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/14/10 - 02:25 pm
0
0
JOSE, according to Michael
Unpublished

JOSE, according to Michael Moore, our neighbor just 90 miles off the Florida coast, Cuba, has a wonderful healthcare system. Bon voyage, I'm sure Fidel will be glad to use you for propaganda against the "Yankee imperialists." You're right about one thing sir...you owe a lot to this country, as we all do! So stop your whining. You're not the only one fighting battles in your life!

chimichurriandt
0
Points
chimichurriandt 05/14/10 - 04:05 pm
0
0
This guy writes in with a

This guy writes in with a frustrating experience. He's paying all this money into his insurance and when he needs an MRI it isn't covered unless he goes through the ER (which is RIDICULOUS). MRI's are expensive but necessary for many diagnoses, so why would you need to go to an ER for it to be covered. Wouldn't the insurance company prefer to save money? NO, insurance rules are totally illogical. And yet when this guy writes an editorial about his experience, the FIRST response is one implying that he is an illegal alien???? How many PhD's in this country are illegal aliens? VERY VERY FEW you ignorant racist. Then he is assumed to be irresponsible and he must want everyone else to pay for him. This guy probably pays more money in taxes in one year than some of the clowns responding pay in three. He probably pays more into our system of taxes and insurance than he will ever get out and yet it is HE who is irresponsible. I only posted a comment because I know this guy. But come to find out, most of the people who post things are radical angry fearful idiots who don't really try to understand what people are really saying. They just jump to conclusions and make hateful comments. It's all part of their conservative agenda. I know now never to read the comments after and article unless you want to be offended.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 05/14/10 - 05:46 pm
0
0
I have to agree, why do we

I have to agree, why do we pay all this money for medical insurance and can not get the procedures we need done. If I had a severe pain in my leg and not getting results and need an MRI to determine the cause for the pain and my insurance doesn't cover it, then I'm heading to the ER too. Do you really expect the Dr. to wait 6 months until he can save up enough money to pay for the MRI on his own, all the while in severe leg pain and can't work.....how's he suppose to save up the money to pay for the procedure when he can't even work. Some of you are so cruel with your comments....just assume it's someone wanting something for nothing instead of looking at the real issue of how our health care is run.

carcraft
27270
Points
carcraft 05/14/10 - 05:58 pm
0
0
Chimi- EVERY health care

Chimi- EVERY health care system in the world is screwed up-nothing is perfect, but he did get the MRI-In other countries even the ER would not have worked-He would have had to deal with a Government official many miles way who didn't give a rats rear as long the the government official got his pay check. We have now changed our health care system so it will cost a trillion dollars over 10 years and not improve care or cost..I do know how frustrating health care can be and I work in it..My wife has had problems dealing with Doctors and hospitals, I have been turned over to collection agencies when my contract said the care was cover etc..BUT -as in health care it is true every where...listen to WGAC and Clark Howard..REading his benefits books is very much to the point because it tells him what is covered in terms of sick leave, vacation time, HEALTH CARE BENEFITS etc. He should have known what was in the contract..If you think we are screwed up go to England where breast cancer deaths are 25% highter because of delays in diagnosis treatment and treatment options are limited ..go to Canada where the prime minster of one of the providences comes to the US for hip surgery..I am sorry he had problems but that is one of the realities of life..I just don't know what works better..

dbros
0
Points
dbros 05/14/10 - 06:51 pm
0
0
Jose, Whar makes you think

Jose, Whar makes you think someone else should pay for your well being? I am sure you COULD have purchased a disability policy or supplementntal insurance policy. Most people have to pay for some of their medical needs. What is your problem? If you wanted to have it all you shold have married into money,

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/14/10 - 07:18 pm
0
0
ICL He is supposed to save

ICL He is supposed to save up BEFORE he needs something done. It's called planning. Save for a rainy day. Emergency fund. If you don't have $1000 in your emergency fund you need to do some serious personal lifestyle analysis. That is not cruel, that is reality.

I'll say again, if the MRI was that important to him, he would have paid for it himself. If insurance turned him down he either 1. Had a cheap policy with limits on it or 2. The insurance company thought it wasn't necessary. In my case, it was option #1, cheap policy. So, I paid out of pocket. My choice, my problem.

Dcortes
0
Points
Dcortes 05/14/10 - 08:09 pm
0
0
You guys got it wrong again.

You guys got it wrong again. The policy I pay for is not a cheap one. Second, due to good planning, I have been able a to achieve a lot things in my life, that probably none on you that are criticizing have been able to. The MRI was not optional as it was confirmed by ER. It's a shame that you do prefer to defend the current system instead of looking at its weaknesses and solutions. Sorry guys, but I have high expectations in everything I do for myself as I do for others. In contrast to you, I would never look to justify mediocrity. BTW, I have enough money to pay for an MRI, but even like that it does not justifies the unfairness of the system.

corgimom
34681
Points
corgimom 05/14/10 - 08:13 pm
0
0
If that man is smart enough

If that man is smart enough to have a Ph.D, then he should be smart enough to know that 1) no one is required to provide disability 2) he has every right to buy his own policy, if it is important to him and 3) that's why you save money, to cover things like that.

And, wait till he gets his hospital bill, since his insurance company refused to pay for it.

He'll really feel the pain then.

Of course, in this country, he also has the option to find himself a job that does have those benefits.

What an entitlement mentality.

If he wanted an MRI, all he had to do is say "I want an MRI" and it'll be done. The insurance company didn't refuse to do it, they refused to pay for it. Big difference.

Dcortes
0
Points
Dcortes 05/14/10 - 08:24 pm
0
0
carcraft, are you aware that

carcraft, are you aware that there are American insurance companies currently negotiating deals for performing treatments at different clinics overseas? If the system you describe is that wonderful, why do they need to take this direction. It seems you're superbly well informed, LOL! Education is always expensive, but never as much as ignorance. You better learn that.

Dcortes
0
Points
Dcortes 05/14/10 - 08:46 pm
0
0
Corgimom, please be more

Corgimom, please be more careful about posting pics since, we might have different opinions or views but you should not necessariliy expose myself to extremists. That's quite unethical if you don't ask for permission. Aside from that, WE ARE IN A CRISIS, and that's the reason I took this job. Definitely I aim for more. I do not need a speech about constitutional rights in the state of GA or SC. Still you have not provided a single solution to an unfair system.

carcraft
27270
Points
carcraft 05/14/10 - 08:56 pm
0
0
Dcortes- If you read my posts

Dcortes- If you read my posts you realize that I didn't say the system was wonderful. There are problems with it, as bad as it is it seems it is superior to many others including England and Canada! The reason they are negotiating with other countries is cheaper price, reduced labor costs, less malpractice and less hostile environment. Tort reform, and streamlining health care is not in the current health care bill. If you want to see screwed up look at SRS- The four $250,000 ware houses that got them in trouble, some of the screwy security arrangements. At one time I had a friend who worked in a trailer there where one half required a security clearance to work in the other half you didn't. The bath room was in the secured half so a guard was placed to escort people to the bath room from the non secured side. LOLProblems are every where not just in health care!

seastar
0
Points
seastar 05/14/10 - 10:02 pm
0
0
I am also a PhD and the CEO

I am also a PhD and the CEO of a company, and I can guarantee you that I would never hire a full-time employee if I cannot provide them adequate benefits, and short-term disability is one of them. Buying your own disability policy is something advisable as a previous poster already mentioned, but I do think the company should provide extra money to the employee for getting this benefit for himself and obtaining a tax advantage. I was in a similar position to Dr. Cortes because of the crisis, and I can tell you that PhD's work on their roles because of vocation to research and not necessarily for money as the compensation is not conmesurate with the effort and requirements compared to other professions (eg. medical doctors). I think that even when the compensation is not that high, we should be respected and be given some additional benefits if they really want PhD's to work full-time (~40hrs/week).
I know a lot business owners, and I can tell you that if you can hire a PhD candidate as a full-time employee, you can also provide benefits. I am sure that Dr. Cortes could pay his MRI and probably your MRI if that was the case, but that's not what he's criticizing. He would not have spent this much time writing in a newspaper just because of the cost of the MRI. I think the point he wants to make is:
1. That the way insurance companies treat patients is not in their best medical interest, serves to drive up costs for everyone, and is a system that we should demand to be improved.
2. Share his experience to add to the reasons that the system needs to be changed.

I am a big patriot, and a Christian, and I would even consider myself a conservative but when I look at problems, I focus in finding solutions instead of excuses.

Now I have a great job with benefits and I believe that you work harder and are more grateful when your employer treats you well.

stephr721
204
Points
stephr721 05/14/10 - 10:13 pm
0
0
Yet another example of why 1)

Yet another example of why 1) healthcare should not be an employer-provided benefit, 2) insurance companies need to be cut out completely. Healthcare decisions should be made between a doctor and a patient with the patient paying the doctor for their services directly.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/14/10 - 10:46 pm
0
0
Jose, I do hope you realize

Jose, I do hope you realize that no one is attacking you personally. You brought up a very volitile subject. It is more of an attack on the sytem & the establishment than you personally. I'm sure you are a hard working individual.

So many people think healthcare is a "right" and they are entitled to it. We all want it and eventually we will all need it but it is not a right and no one has the right to ask someone else to pay for it for them.

We all know that insurance companies suck. They are in the business to make a profit. But when we have a really big claim, they are certainly nice to have.

Despite our problems, as it stands right now, we have the best healthcare system in the whole world. However, once the incompetent and greedy government has its hands in it, I'm 100% positive that will no longer be the case.

PS I highly doubt you have to worry about any "extremists", that's kind of an extreme concern. I'm glad corgimom posted the link, it puts a face to the letter and makes it seem more human. You look like a happy dude.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Search of alleged dealer's home found drugs, firearms

An Augusta man who alleged sheriff's officers have used illegal steroids, some for years, came to the attention of a Richmond County Sheriff's narcotics officer twice, according to an ...
Search Augusta jobs