We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Health Care Differences

In America, the healthcare industry is very different from what we find here. For example, when you need to have a blood test done in the States, your doctor has to request it, your insurance company has to approve it, and ONLY your doctor can obtain the results and discuss them with you, in person. Here, you just go to the lab, give them a sample, and then come back after a few days to pick up the results. If that's not convenient, you can call on the phone and they'll tell you the numbers. Then you can take those results to the doctor of your choice and discuss treatment options. If you already know what you have, you can go to the pharmacy and buy the medications (prescriptions are nice, but not necessary).

Beth recently had an X-ray done on her feet. She's got a strange infection in a toe, and the doctor wanted to see inside. But they took the X-rays after her visit with the doctor, so they just gave her the film to take home with her. Maybe the doc can see them next time. We frequently see people walking the streets or riding the Metro trains carrying X-rays and other lab results. We thought you might all like to see what beautiful foot bones (or is it feet bones?) she has.

A year ago last week, we went to the hospital to have Sawyer. That was a bit different, too. One of the most noticable differences was in the billing department. In America, a short visit to the hospital will find you carrying home enough papers to have signed a mortgage on your house. Not here. On the way in--regardless of the fact that Beth was in labor and already dilated 8 centimeters--I had to pay a 2000 pound deposit. When we got ready to check out, they had two sheets of paper to tally up our bill. The one you see here was accompanied by one other 4" Post-it note that totaled the doctor's expenses for us. I paid, they gave us the receipt, and we went home. No bills in the mail or calls from the collections office or anything! I challenged Beth's dad to get the hospitals in Pensacola down to one page billing, but they're not there yet.

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